Friday, December 10, 2010

This is Your Brain on Drugs

"Youth Arts Center a Step
to Tame Trouble"

-- Democrat and Chronicle headline

It was P.J. O'Rourke, I think, who once did a riff on an old public service TV ad discouraging drug use.   "This is drugs," said the announcer over a visual of a hot frying pan.   "This is your brain on drugs," he concludes, cracking an egg in the pan and watching it fry.

P.J. noted the brain was about the last bodily organ an audience of potential drug users would worry about and suggested another analogy to connect with the target group more directly.

I thought of this while reading yesterday's hilarious news report of a planned "Youth Arts Center" for downtown Rochester.   It's proposed as a means of taming stabbings, weapons possession, fights and unspecified "disruptions" associated with "hundreds of . . . teens every morning and afternoon during the school year" at their "loitering spot," the Liberty Pole.

Of course!   (Said I, slapping myself upside the head.)  How better to relieve the "massive daily police effort to quell disturbances" than with an arts center.

Why didn't we think of this before?   The flick-knife armed lion shall lie down with the disruptive lamb:

"Let's not argue with each other.   Let's go do some arts and crafts."

"Why bust a cap up this guy when I can do ceramics?"

"Decisions, decisions:   manslaughter or macramé?"
Let's hope the planned arts center helps enrich the lives of some kids.   More power to its backers for trying.   But it's the kids who aren't causing the problems who will be visiting an arts center.   The good kids, not the bad ones.   Not the stabbers, weapons possessors, fighters or disrupters.

And since the good kids have to be the overwhelming majority of the kids we're talking about, a facility that accomodates only 20 - 25 is off to a modest start.

The important thing is that it is a start, and for a good purpose.   Why its promoters had to taint a worthy project, inviting ridicule by claiming it will reduce crime, is a mystery.

However, for sheer comic extravagance, Rochester Downtown Development Corporation President Heidi Zimmer-Meyer upstaged everybody.
Urban youth are part of downtown’s vitality,” said Zimmer-Meyer, “and their energy helps create the dynamism that has attracted more than $739 million in downtown investment this year."
Of course! (Again slapping myself on the forehead.)   I was blind, but now I see.

That's why the little old ladies from Penfield and all those other places wouldn't go shopping downtown for the past four decades:   there just weren't enough urban youth hanging out on the street!

Just not enough of that vitality to draw them in from the suburbs, or to have kept them from leaving the City in the first place!

It must have been all that "vitality," driving the "massive daily police effort to quell disturbances," that got PaeTec to commit to downtown!   (At least for now.)

Can Ms. Zimmer-Meyer find one downtown business owner who will say that large crowds of kids loitering on the street, fighting and worse, helps his or her business?

Can she identify a single investor who's put money into downtown because of, not in spite of, this problem?   (We'll call it a problem because the people promoting the arts center call it a problem, for which they're furnishing part of a solution.)

Perhaps she can bring out developers of the high-end lofts in the vicinity, to say that crowds of kids on the street are moving those loft sales.

All this from the head of a leading downtown development agency?   How a competent person responsible for her own actions could make such a statement tests one's understanding.   Perhaps a quiet word of counseling is in order.

Watch, Heidi:   "This is drugs . . . "

1 comment:

Harry Davis said...

Heidi Dimmer-Zimmer was the only person who spoke in favor of the Mortimer Bus Barn on June 15, 2010. 200 people spoke out against the Bus Barn over 4 "public hearing."

Dimmer-Zimmer sits on the Planning Committee but in their own hearing on the Bus Barn on June 14, 2010, Dimmer-Zimmer failed to show up or vote. The Planning Committee voted unanimously against the Mortimer St. Bus Barn.

Harry's Questions To Lovely Warren on Bob Smith Which Were Terminated 1/2 Way Through | Harry Davis: "Give 'em Hell, Harry!"