A potential ‘culture’ problem
I have a suggestion for Starbucks as to how to solve the ongoing issue of law enforcement officers being disrespected by some of their baristas. First, have every establishment place a sign at each entrance, at the drive through window, and at the counter that says: “We respect and welcome all first responders.” Second, close every store as they did previously and train their staff in how to respond to customers who feel “uncomfortable” or “unsafe”, or “anxious” when in the presence of law enforcement members. One response could be, “I’m sorry you feel that way. We do have a drive through window.” Another could be, “I’m sorry you feel that way. Let me get you a paper cup and lid so you can take your coffee with if you feel you must leave.” “You know, cops are our customers just like you except their job involves putting their lives in danger on a daily basis to protect you”, might be effective.
And finally, advise every employee that if they have a disagree with this new company approach they should quit now because if they show any disrespect toward any member of law enforcement they will be fired on the spot. Starbucks has a potential “culture” problem. This might help solve the problem and prevent future needs to apologize to law enforcement officers, and demonstrate unequivocally where Starbucks stands.
Fourth used to mean something
Another Independence Day has come and gone without much patriotic fervor. Nike has caved in to Colin Kaepernick and seemingly fewer American flags were on display in various neighborhoods.
In years past, our national holiday used to mean something. Nowadays, it seems to elicit no more than a collective yawn from the general public. What is happening to our country?
Finding common ground necessary
This weekend the Honorable Joe Biden apologized for the negative perception he gave in praising bipartisan work he did with senatorial segregationists in the 1970s. I think it is a reasonable, albeit not self-evident, view that racial segregation and racism are repugnant beliefs that are prejudicial to the spirit of liberty and equal which all good Americans should hold dear, as our recent Independence Day should remind us.
However, while racism and its expressions are abhorrent, it cannot be prudent to condemn a racist in totality and to reject all that they do or have done as tainted by racism. In our current period of political and social extremism, de-escalation and finding common ground are necessary if our democratic society is to work. Even racists are not racists in all things. I believe it is wrong to denigrate civility or to reject compromise out of some ideological purity; perfect is the enemy of the good and what not.
I think the story of Howard Smith is an important one on the complexities of a racist. Having fought for decades against civil rights for blacks as chairman of the House Committee on Rules, when the Civil Rights Act of 1964 came to the floor, Smith added an amendment to Title VII that made sex a protected class against workplace discrimination. On one hand an unabashed racist, and on the other an unabashed proponent of equal rights for women (and through legalization, transgender rights).
It is important to condemn racism, or any moral vice, where one finds it. However, it is also important, perhaps equally important, to acknowledge virtue where one finds, and work towards enriching it. Finding common ground is necessary and should not be something to apologize for simply because it is not pretty.
Unpleasant impacts on stakeholders
A recent Gazette article (July 8) concluded “fears” of Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) in single-family zoned housing areas “are overblown.” Its conclusion is based solely on limited interviews of three “Colorado cities where it has been approved.” Unfortunately, the only sources speaking for three “Colorado cities” are city bureaucrats. Not a single “resident” in the vicinity of any constructed ADUs was interviewed. That’s critical information. How has an ADU affected local residents? Have they, the real stakeholders, noticed any unpleasant impacts?
Also, the public should note that the purported saving grace of requiring an “owner occupant” to live in one unit — will always remain a mere single City Council vote away from being deleted. The City Council of Palo Alto, Cailf., narrowly retained their requirement in a 5-4 vote last October. Proponents for deletion “characterized it (owner occupancy) as an unnecessary barrier that discourages construction of ADUs.”
Are we willing to bet an “owner occupancy” requirement with a myriad of probable “hardship exceptions” would remain in place ad infinitum? Probably not.
What about the rest of us?
In “America always works for success,” the Colorado Springs Gazette, July 6, Star Parker quotes from Forbes that “the number of Forbes 400 members who have forged their own path... has increased dramatically. This tells us many things, but one should stand taller than the rest: The American Dream, it seems, is alive and well.”
It sure is, at least for the 400 richest Americans. Parker writes not one word of the other 310 million Americans; so what about the rest of us?
Does she seriously think that the reading public doesn’t wonder why they’re left out of her paean of the super wealthy?