Tag Archives: Douglass Park

Chadwick’s Douglass Park Prohibition

Yesterday I posted and then deleted a story regarding First Ward Councilwoman Ginny Chadwick’s proposed Douglass Park alcohol ban. It included 20-some photos of Councilwoman Chadwick consuming alcohol around town and across the country along with a couple of screen shots of posts from her page extolling the virtues of alcohol. The intent was to expose the hypocrisy of Columbia’s white councilwoman who often drinks quite publicly and who is working to ban public alcohol consumption in Columbia’s central city park, a park long frequented by Black citizens who live in the area. Sadly some readers missed the point.

After posting the article, it just felt wrong. It was too dirty. It was a low blow to pull several photos from the councilwoman’s Facebook page and post them for all to see, regardless of how disgusting her move to ban alcohol in Douglass might have been. There were many innocent bystanders in the photos. I thought better of it and pulled the post down.

Politics is a dirty business, to be sure, and dirty often wins, but I just don’t want to go to that place any more. Believe me, I’ve been there before. It ain’t pretty.

With that said, I’m still not above having a little fun to make a point, so I’ll include a quick meme…

293105_10150358406763033_406964_n copySo we’ve established that Councilwoman Chadwick has mastered the art of consuming alcohol in public. This is not meant to shame her for choosing to do with her body as she wishes — i.e. consume alcohol — lots of it — publicly. It is meant to shame her for the hypocrisy of drinking in public while working to limit the ability of others, namely the Black citizens who frequent Douglass Park, to do the same.

Councilman Fred Schmidt, Chadwick’s friend and predecessor once spoke of his desire to ban alcohol in Douglass Park, but quickly forgot the proposal after a significant public outcry led by Keep Columbia Free.

Since Chadwick has renewed the effort, many have pointed out the drunken public mayhem that ensues on any given Saturday during college football season. Drunken college kids and sloshed middle-aged tailgaters stumble through the streets between Downtown and Faurot Field, most of them white and most of them affluent. The post-game apocalypse leaves the ground covered with beer can fallout and barf. This, of course, is how we roll in the SEC. It’s a sacred tradition. Who cares if the University Hospital trauma center is overrun with alcohol poisoned young adults and other alcohol-fueled injuries? It’s SEC football, damnit.

Compare that to the usually mild-tempered bar-b-ques in Douglass Park and the park looks mild. Yes, the skin tones are usually a bit darker and the participants a bit less affluent, but what’s the difference? Why allow one but not the other? Could Chadwick’s proposal simply be more white, so-called liberal paternalism (or maternalism as the case may be) from our First Ward leadership? And at what cost?

Local First Ward homeowner Ellie Moore recently commented regarding some possible real but unintended consequences that might arise if Chadwick’s proposed ban were to be successful. Ms. Moore pointed out the likelihood that police might arrest or otherwise cite someone from the neighborhood for drinking in the park. Given what we know about the overtly racist application and prosecution of our nation’s Drug War, bad enough that it has been dubbed “the new Jim Crow,” there is a high likelihood that a black male might have a felony record. “This ordinance might leave a few more children fatherless,” she said. That is a real possibility. More needless laws, more needless prohibitions increase the likelihood of a run-in with police. As most black males in the First Ward and around the country will tell you, those run-ins usually don’t turn out well.

Please let Ms. Chadwick know that you do not like the idea of prohibiting alcohol in Douglass Park. Her email is Ward1@GoColumbiaMo.com. Her phone number is (573) 999-2641. If you feel like faxing, use (573) 442-8828. Sound off, folks!

 

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Fred Schmidt Targets Blacks With Prohibition

During the final comments of the Columbia City Council Meeting on Monday, February 18th, [see video above] Councilman Fred Schmidt made some alarming remarks regarding alcohol in Douglass Park. Councilman Schmidt announced his plan to pursue an ordinance prohibiting alcohol consumption in Columibia’s premier inner-city park — a park frequented by Columbia’s vibrant African-American community and a popular meeting place for area residents.

Did Fred Schmidt intentionally make this proposal during Black History Month?

Schmidt made it clear — well, sort of clear considering he stammered through his rambling and rather confusing monologue — that he was singling out Douglass and was not interested in prohibiting alcohol consumption in other city parks.

FredSmall_000

Councilman Schmidt

It is important to note that the consumption of alcohol is prohibited in some of the smaller downtown parks due to the presence of vagrants and panhandlers. Douglass Park, however, is not known for drunken panhandlers. Alcohol is allowed in all other city parks.

Schmidt claims that he decided to take on this task after, “some back and forth with some people in the neighborhood.”

Sources tell me that this plan is actually being spearheaded by none other than Jonathan Sessions, darling of the Democrats and Columbia School Board member. There is some question about whether or not Mr. Sessions is a member of the Douglass Park Neighborhood Association, although he has given the impression that he is a member while pitching the idea to Parks and Rec staff. He and Carrie Gartner, bought a house on Aldeah, far from Douglass Park, about a year ago. Mr. Sessions may have once lived in the trendy North Village Arts District that buffers “The District” from the low-income neighborhoods to the North and may still own property there.

Jon Session hugs Barb Hoppe

Jon Session hugs Barb Hoppe

I’d venture a guess that neither Mr. Sessions nor Mr. Schmidt has spent much time in Douglass Park if they’ve visited the park — ever.

Many in Columbia’s central Black community have rightfully labeled this move as racist. For sure it smacks of the white, liberal paternalism that Columbia has endured for the last several decades, especially in the First Ward that surrounds Douglass Park.

Perhaps these two progressives hatched their plan to ban the consumption of alcohol in Douglass Park over a mojito on the patio of Bleu, just a few blocks southeast of the park. I guess Fred and Jonathan just don’t trust Black folks with dangerous fire water. I wonder if they trust Black folks to sit in the front of a FastCat bus.

Here is another related video from a last year’s discussion about upgrades to the government surveillance system in the Douglass Park. It struck me as sadly funny how the city politicians seem to view the people of the Douglass area as “others” when we all live in the same community. Heck, the City Council Chambers are literally only 4 blocks away from Douglass Park. Listen as Mayor McDavid and Councilwoman Hoppe praise their brave bureaucrats for venturing into the Douglass neighborhood to peddle surveillance.

Written by Mark Flakne

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