Granby’s Mayor Wang wants to banish pawn shops and tattoo parlors
February 14, 2008
To the Editor:
I was more than a little dismayed to hear Granby Mayor Ted Wang announce Tuesday night that he wanted to prohibit two types of businesses from Granby’s central business district. I was dismayed because there was no one else in attendance at the meeting who seemed to care and because the Granby Board of Trustees ” at least those in attendance ” acquiesced to Ted’s grand moralistic pronouncement with nothing more than docile servility.
Mayor Wang has instructed Granby Town Attorney Scott Krob to draft a law that would prohibit pawn shops and tattoo parlors from the town’s central business district. I could hear the hiss in Mayor Ted’s voice when he uttered the words “pawn shops” and “tattoo parlors.”
Wang apparently doesn’t like tattoo parlors and pawn shops and he thinks the rest of Granby’s residents and visitors shouldn’t like them either. He thinks they don’t present the “right” image.
These are businesses in town right now that actually generate foot traffic and interest in downtown Granby. He wants them prohibited.
My nephew, visiting from out of town last summer, visited the pawn shop last summer. He was a tourist. He was young. He got a tattoo, in Granby. Imagine that. He spent money on something in town other than cigarettes and sub sandwiches.
It was a good tattoo. There were other young people there. I’ve been in the tattoo shop twice. It was clean. The people there were professional. I don’t want a tattoo, but I liked the place.
I can’t help but wonder if Mayor Ted has ever once set foot in the pawn shop in town that’s now going out of business. I have. Several times. I liked it. I bought stuff there. I’m sorry it’s going out of business. (The owner’s making more money cutting beetle-kill trees.)
There were good values on many items. Many other people came in and out of the store while I was there. People actually walked on Granby’s sidewalks to go in the doors of this little business that seemed to be doing quite well.
It was generating retail business traffic and some retail business excitement right on Granby’s main street right in downtown Granby, which from what I can tell is just what all the economic development consultants and gurus want to see in downtown Granby.
And Ted wants pawn shops prohibited. Wrong image. Great. Let’s do it. Ban them. I have to wonder what Ted would like to see take the places of these banned businesses.
High end antique stores of the like seen in Breckenridge and Aspen? How about high-end craft stores that sell designer silver thimbles made to look like the family Lexus? How about “interior design boutiques” that sell gold-dipped pine cones to “accessorize” your McMansion’s 15-foot-wide mantel? I’m sure Granby locals and its tourists will storm the doors.
Maybe we could encourage someone to open a store that sells organic seaweed grown in biosphere preserves in French Polynesia, geared toward the vegan food-consuming market that consists mostly of movie stars and Internet trust funders. I think that would fit Ted’s definition of the “proper” image for Granby. Yep, that’s our market all right.
Maybe Ted, frowning in revulsion from his moral high ground while looking down on pawn shops and tattoo parlors used by regular men and women, would prefer a store that sells titanium-embossed Bibles (nothing cheaper than $100) for a high-minded Christian moralist. High morals and the “right” image are what Ted seems to have in mind here.
What will he and the mayor and the trustees want to ban next? Used car lots? After all, I think Mayor Wang could come up with some negative connotations for used car lots. What about real estate agents who sell timeshares? The Granby town board has voiced its disgust with timeshares in Granby in the past. Why not ban them? Oh, and what about second hand stores? Oh my God … stores that sell “used” goods could certainly be seen by some as not presenting the “right” image.
Liquor stores and bars? Well, you know, they sell booze. And you know what booze does. Let’s ban them too. Wrong image. And banks, they charge interest. That’s usury. Ban ’em. Doesn’t look good.
Granby’s left hand of businessmen, the chamber of commerce and economic development enhancers are working hard to try and revitalize Granby’s business climate while the town’s right hand (the mayor and its board) is doing everything it can to smother it in fits of righteous indignation.
The effort to ban pawn shops and tattoo parlors is just one sign of this contradictory effort.
When, I ask, will this madness stop?