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East Village is not welcoming?

2/25/2015

Capital City Pride (CCP) is the volunteer committee that produces the annual LGBT Pridefest, an annual two-day street event with all-ages entertainment and a parade. For years, the event has enjoyed its home in the trendy East Village area of downtown Des Moines. The East Village is generally considered to be LGBT-friendly and an all-around inclusive area to work, eat, shop and live in downtown Des Moines, with a pedestrian-friendly atmosphere. The location of the festival has been at the crossroads of East Fifth and Locust Streets, other than in 2014 when it was moved to the Grand Avenue Bridge due to construction. In the past, CCP has brought in entertainment such as Beverly McClellan, Crystal Waters, Mya and even the Village People. To meet the associated costs, CCP has had to charge a small admission price to the festival, which brings upwards of 15,000 people to the area. With few misgivings from a few East Village retailers, the East Village, as a whole, has been fairly welcoming to hosting Pridefest — until this year. This year, some East Village shop owners have decided to give a resounding “no” to having Pridefest in its traditional location. “We’re not against Pride, we just don’t want it here,” was the consensus. Spearheading the “No Pridefest” with emails and flyers (going only to select recipients) is one shop owner who claims the Pridefest street closure will ruin business. He would not sign off on any street closure that would charge an admission price. With that, the CCP revamped the design to have a free festival in the area with a concert elsewhere that would be a paid admission. Believing that this would suffice, Kerry Weyers (president of CCP) presented this new design to these retailers, many of who had signed off with support in previous years. Even with the free admission to the area, it was still not acceptable to the group. In a meeting attended by city council members Skip Moore and Joe Gatto, these retailers still denied the idea of a free event on their streets after previously agreeing to a free festival with the continued claim of “We’re not against Pride, we just don’t want it here.” It was then agreed that the festival could be moved one block north to relieve some tension with the business owners on Locust. However, a few supporting businesses would still remain within the festival area. Pridefest, which has had a home in the East Village for the past several years and well before many of these businesses came into the area, will continue as planned. Where it will be is another issue, unless Pridefest gets more support from East Village neighbors and the LGBT community as a whole. Or will a group of retailers in the East Village be able to push out Pridefest while still claiming not to be against it? Maybe the East Village isn’t quite as welcoming — in particular, to the LGBT community — as professed.

Bryan Smith
-Des Moines

 

The Patriots are cheaters

The Little League baseball team from Chicago — Jackie Robinson West — was stripped of its title because of adult behavior and placed on probation. Keep in mind we are talking about children ages 11 to 13. If they cheated, they should be punished. So should the NFL football team the New England Patriots. They cheated to get to the Super Bowl, which they won. That means big money for them, a trophy, big rings. Will all of that be taken away from them? Of course not. This is the second time New England has been caught cheating and never punished. Money talks. As a child, I was taught that cheaters never win, but I guess that doesn’t apply to the New England Patriots. This is outrageous.

HIV

Shirley MacDonald
-Des Moines

 

And here are some more tips

As someone who worked in restaurants in my younger days, I enjoyed reading the cover story “Server Status” (Cover story, Feb. 12).  I agreed with the recommendations in the section on “Tips for customers,” although I would have added one more: while it may be reasonable to reduce your tip or even withhold it altogether when a server gives you lousy service, don’t penalize the server for problems he or she has no control over (a slow kitchen, poorly-cooked food, an overworked server because someone else didn’t show up for work, a mob of people from a tour bus that pulled in right behind you, etc.).  In addition to tips for customers, I think it would only be fair to include some suggestions for servers. My list of pet peeves would include: Don’t call customers names like Hon, Honey, Sweetie, Sweetheart, Darlin’ etc. Don’t keep barging into your customers’ conversations to ask questions like “how is everything tasting? And, if I pay you in cash, don’t ask if I want change back. In effect, asking if the customer wants change (or asking how much change the customer wants) is just another way of asking “You’re going to give me a tip, right?”

Darrell Hanson
-Altoona

 

Steve King is at it again

It was fun reading Douglas Burns’ Freedom Summit piece about Steve King praying for God to pick a president He “will use to restore the soul of this great country” (Political Mercury, Jan. 28). It’s not clear if King wants to restore the slave trade, Indian killers, “Leave it to Beaver,” bombing innocent women and children and fetuses in Iraq, or something else from the past. But we do know President Obama, federal and state Constitutions backed by both Supreme Courts, and the 13th chapter of St. Paul’s letter to the Romans, are increasingly problematic for King’s weakly constructed world view.

Tim Facto
-Des Moines

 

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