Thursday, March 13, 2008

"It has to go somewhere"

Yeah, the radio again. Without actually coming out and saying it, and very possibly not knowing that it's doing it, it's trying to get a strip club in the former Troy. An acquaintance of a restaurant owner is on the air every day insisting that -- although he's not "a stripclub kinda guy" (whatever that means) -- he thinks that this particular location is a good one. And everybody else is saying, "Well it has to go somewhere." The simpletons can't get the difference between "offering reasonable opportunities for a business" and "being obligated to locate a business."

There is no law saying that every city has to have a tittie bar. But the only thing I hear is this unreasonable insistence, based on misunderstanding what Paul Viveros ostensibly "proved" in his lawsuit, that "it has to go somewhere." From talk hosts to news stories to station editorials, which I assume must represent the station's owners and management.

Last century, I was on BigBlueBoat™ and traveled to many ports, and enjoyed the hospitality of whatever nearby pubs, taverns, and other establishments who generally made shipmates' presence at their bar secure and welcome by offering neighborly discounts and other acts of munificence. And I am a gracious guest -- ask any maitre d' -- and not just because I represent my vessel with pride and good will.
Sometimes just having a cheery disposition, a multitool, and shorts can get you some pretty special treatment.
Favorite memories -- not all from my BigBlueBoat™ days -- tumble forth from victualers in Charleston SC, Key West and Saint Petersburg FL, Norwalk CT, Boston MA, Wilmington NC, Portland ME. Savannah GA, Baltimore MD, and I apologize if I've forgotten anyone. I've probably forgotten the fine treatment I received because of the effects of the fine treatment I received.
However, when The Big Blue Boat™ was stuck on the bottom in our FallRiffic homeport (which the crew referred to as "homepork," or, more commonly, "Hell") See? Fall River. Says so. Right there the Commonwealth provided a swell berth within walking distance of Battleship Cove and within stumbling distance of a place called The Regatta, which I remembered from high school as being called The Gangplank, whose unfortunate and sort of rhymy nickname was well-known.
I recall the place strictly enforcing a polyester-and-hairspray dress code well into the Nineties, but during the Summer, things were different. Out on the splintery deck, drunkenly gazing upon the Battleship Massachusetts, the green and orange-rust-primered Braga Bridge, through the smoky clouds from the coal-fired power plant across the river, if one squinted a little and listened closely to the sizzling of "clam" cakes in the fryolater, over the Muzak version of Margaritaville, while chugging BudLights and shooting SoCo, one might feel that the Taunton River would be a fine enough place to drop the hook -- briefly -- and catch one's breath, consult one's charts, and prove, once and for all, to the second mate that no, you'd actually motored up the east side of Aquidneck Island and this is FALL RIVER, not NEWPORT! you stupid ex-Jarhead...
Everybody knew it was a meat market. And not a particularly hygienic one. It terrified the crew. When your next-door neighbors -- drinkers and good-timers, well-known as frequenters of fisherman's bars, dockside watering holes and waterfront dives -- avoid your establishment, you know you've done something wrong.
Now, the Fall River City Council is saying they must decide where to put a strip club. Tittie bar. Gentleman's club. Whatever. Essentially stating that it cannot discuss letting that cursed piece of waterfront real estate succumb to its expected ultimate fate. Just like this guy keeps threatening to do at the farcical "industrial" park, usually under some awkward "freedom of speech" make-believe.
Limiting a prime waterfront location like that to one peculiar activity -- whether a club or a restaurant or a Dunkin' Donuts -- is just plain bad business. (But the owners are willing to ask and answer their own questions, so they must be sincere. What is it about jerks doing that? Is it pervasive? Of course it is. Is it annoying? Of course it is! Is it a really funny bit if you read the article? Of course it is.) But hear me out:
A strip club -- located anywhere -- gives creepy old guys somewhere to go to complain. Usually about how the new lapdancers ignore them and aren't like the old burlesque girls. Plus the creepy old guys who don't go there can blame the place for all the drugs, prostitution, "bad element," outsiders, perverts, crime, and immigrants. It might even keep them off the talk shows. Although not every guy takes advantage of the opportunity, every guy has been presented some reason for doing so: a dare, curiosity, a bachelor party, a guy's night out got out of hand... But it still doesn't mean he has to go.
And that does not mean that every city must have one.
(Oh, and this "Arts Overlay District" crap is insulting to Arts. It is inane, insincere, and insufficient and disingenuous. It forbids "adult entertainment," but what happens when the Narrows Center for the Arts, inspired by the success of Gallery X in New Bedford, decides to have an erotic art show, for adults only? Any provisions for that? And the minute a real estate office sets up shop in an "Arts District," oooh, I'll give them such a slap... Really, I don't want a city that doesn't have an art museum defining what is "Art." )
The ThirdMate Navigates you through:
Get the gentleman's club there by offering the owners a TIF. Since Fall River Celebrates America is on hold, they won't be disturbed by kids wanting to use the restrooms. Tell the Regatta owners that they don't have to pay any property taxes for two years. Let them build up the property, prettify the exterior, enhance the interior, bring the kitchen up to code, provide jobs to locals, and encourage the new owners to improve the marina...
And then remove the TIF.
No more tax breaks. Then, the "ReGarter" shuts down (like all the restaurants in Dartmouth have), the city takes it back by eminent domain (or, in Fall River, "immanent domain"). A fresh coat of paint, et voila! The Fall River Municipal Marina, collecting taxes, providing cushy jobs to political hacks, and doing what Fall River does best -- gets someone else to pay.


Anonymous said...

stupid argument anyplace else it would just happen after getting the lisense. whats the big deal of this? is this all there is in fall rive? no other business at all?

jen said...

It was Leone's. "Leave Me Alone-ee's"

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