I’ve found another outbreak of Petty Tyrant Syndrome. This time it’s happening right here in the Twin Cities. The overlords of Columbia Heights are tired of all the blue collar workers on Central Avenue. Why? Apparently blue collar workers give off the wrong image. Instead of having the street populated with productive people the overlords wants people unproductively sipping lattes in coffee shops. In order to bring up this unproductive utopian vision the overlords have banned any new automobile related business from opening on the street:
Columbia Heights residents can buy an oil filter on nearly every corner of Central Avenue. But there’s no coffee shop where they can linger over a newspaper and sip a latte.
That’s a problem, city leaders say.
Fearful that a glut of mechanics, auto-parts stores and gas stations along Columbia Heights’ main drag is pulling down the city’s image and muscling out other businesses, the City Council is banning new auto-related businesses for up to six months.
City leaders figure that will be enough time to tighten up zoning regulations and set more design controls with an eye toward attracting a more eclectic mix of restaurants, shops and small service businesses along Central Avenue.
You thought I was joking about that sipping lattes remark, didn’t you? Here again we have a handful of people using their power to force everybody to comply with their vision of what is best. Because they’re unproductive bureaucrats who have time to sip lattes in a coffee shop for hours they are forcing everybody else to go along with their plan. I can’t help but think that there’s also a desire to see auto shops booted from the street because they’re run by people who get dirty doing their job. As we all know, people who get dirty are better heard, not seen, at least when you’re a petty bureaucrat trying to foster an image of sterile sameness.
Even more important to the overlords than their vision is the issue of income. Not for the businesses but for the city. Trendy hipsters with more money (technically it’s their parent’s money) than brains are cruising around on their brakeless fixies so they have no need for automobile related businesses. They’re also a major part of the group dumb enough to pay the stupidly high rental rates of high-density luxury apartments. So without them it’s hard to attract developers of said apartments, which means the city doesn’t get to collect absurd amounts of property taxes. Gentrification exists because cities want to increase their income and the easiest way of doing that is to replaces the lower and lower-middle class with the upper and upper-middle class. And in the end that’s what the result of this ban and rezoning scheme will be, gentrification.