Sunday, July 23, 2006

Malls and Development

An article on , talks briefly about the rise and fall of Rolling Acres Mall and how it isn't unique to Akron.  One only has to look up Route 8 to see that Rolling Acres's bigger sibling Randall Park Mall has had problems since its' salad days in the late 1970's and 1980's when both were the new kids on the block ( Rolling Acres opened in 1975 and Randall opened in 1976. )

Why are malls like Rolling Acres and Randall Park beleaguered when smaller malls that predated them like Richmond, Chapel Hill and Summit Malls have survived? What can we learn from their fates?

Giffels asks:
One of the great themes of our age is the upward spiral of consumer
culture. The question underlying that theme is how far it can be built
up before it can no longer sustain itself.
The local answer: Rolling Acres.
Every so often we have to stop and wonder: how much is enough? How
is it possible that all of these businesses can survive while feeding
on the same host? And what does it say about us that we seem to need
this many places to spend money?

This is one of those times to wonder.

If there is a time to really think about development of retail in our region, it's now.  I think that our failures (and, yes people, Rolling Acres is a failure) have more to teach us than the successes because who is to say that Montrose won't be the next generation's failure? 

Someone long ago probably stood at a then-makeout point for Kenmore teens on the Akron/Barberton border and thought that it would make a great spot for a mall...thirty-one years later, we see how that turned out.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Why I am glad that I don't believe in the death penalty

As some of you might know, I got selected for jury duty the week after Memorial Day. Instead of some shoplifter in a dollar store or something equally benign, I am considered for a capital murder trial. Not just a regular murder trial, a capital "this person could die" trial.

Not just any trial. This trial.

There are a couple of reasons why I am glad I wasn't on the jury:

1. I don't believe in the death penalty.

Why not? I believe that, quite frankly, too many states fuck it up. What else can you call it when innocent people die? It's bad enough that the victim dies innocently. Adding to that by killing the wrong person in retaliation is not the smartest thing in the world. Also, there are considerable racial and class rammifications in sentencing in capital cases which no one wants to look at. Also, execution of the mentally retarded (which is one of our president's hobbies as governor of Texas) is totally inexcusable.

2. I don't feel that I have the right to determine if another human should die.

With the notable self-defense exception, I don't feel that I should hold someone else's life in my hands. Sure, Clarence Fry is more fucked up than a Pinto in a NASCAR wreck but I am still not God.