Kalamazoo, MI: When Equity Comes to Town

Residents of Kalamazoo, Mich., are strongly reacting as recent changes to the city code include decriminalizing public urination, defecation and littering. And this measure, approved unanimously by the city commission, was done in the name of equity.

Per MLive.com, the change “reduces the offenses from a misdemeanor to a civil infraction, as part of a larger review of city codes.”

Local business concerns disregarded

Not surprisingly, local merchants – especially those with downtown businesses – opposed this change.

MLive.com reports:

Becky Bil, co-owner of Pop City Popcorn in downtown Kalamazoo, said there are aggressive and unstable panhandlers in the area and she is concerned about people avoiding downtown because of these issues.

“People have to clean up where they have defecated right in front of your door of your business,” Bil said. “We can’t have that downtown.”

She is frustrated with the lack of acknowledgement that businesses are struggling with the issue, she said.

In Kalamazoo Goes Down the Toilet, National Review describes other resident reaction:

Many businesspeople in the city of about 73,000 residents are staunchly opposed to the decision. Monte Janssen, owner of local restaurant Youz Guys Dogz, told WWMT Channel 3: “I think it would probably allow people to think they can do what they want and not get in trouble for it. I think it’ll take away the consequence and that’s the concern.” Cherri Emery, the owner of a coffee and chocolate shop in Kalamazoo, told “Fox & Friends First” what she has experienced as a result of lax enforcement of the law in the city: “One day, we kept smelling something in the back of the store . . . and it was human feces.”

Kalamazoo’s “Commission of Correctness” calls for empathy

But city leaders stand by their decision.

From Gateway Pundit:

Kalamazoo Mayor David Anderson said that decriminalizing these offenses will help the city be more “equitable.” City Commissioner Chris Praedel said pretty much the same thing, according to a report from Fox 17, that it is “fair and equitable to who these laws were most affecting, the unhoused population, as well as provide a better solution for those trying to get on their feet.”

“I definitely empathize with the downtown business owners too. They have invested a lot to be in downtown, and a lot of those spots are mom and pop shops where that is their life income. We want to be respectful of that. We hear them. We are listening to them, and we care a lot, but we care about everybody in the community,” Praedel said.

Commissioner Stephanie Hoffman said that the community needs to have more empathy for people crapping in front of their stores.

A warning for all

National Review additionally observes:

This goes back to the problem with the social-justice warriors’ crusade to achieve equity in every corner of American life. Equity, which has replaced “equality” in the woke vocabulary, focuses on equality of outcome rather than equality of opportunity. Moreover, it declares that all inequality can be chalked up to racism, sexism, or discrimination of another sort. It is impossible to achieve “equity” without taking radical government action that tramples on individual freedoms. The logical endpoint of equity is to burn down all of the institutions. The policies necessary to fulfill the far Left’s equity agenda are unpopular with Americans, as former San Francisco district attorney Chesa Boudin’s recall last month shows. If Democrats continue down this path, they will come to regret it.

Citizens beware! Might equity be headed to your town?

Lou Ann Anderson worked in central Texas talk radio as both a host and producer and currently hosts Political Pursuits: The Podcast. Her tenure as Watchdog Wire–Texas editor involved covering state news and coordinating the site’s citizen journalist network. As a past Policy Analyst with Americans for Prosperity–Texas, Lou Ann wrote and spoke on a variety of issues including the growing issue of probate abuse in which wills, trusts, guardianships and powers of attorney are used to loot assets from intended heirs or beneficiaries.

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