It’s not about hot dogs.
Yes, we know it sounds kind of funny to an outsider or a casual reader, fighting over a hot dog stand in a quaint little downtown like Parkville. Oh, if only the world’s problems could just be Parkville’s problems.
But some of us know – pardon the pun – how sausage is made downtown. To others, it’s just a hot dog...something you purchase from your grocery store and toss on a Foreman grill. But it is a big deal to the people who spent the money on the hot dog cart, who are in their 70s, still working, and trying to earn a little money on the side. Who among us begrudges anyone that right?
There was an episode of the Twilight Zone where a young child gains super powers of control and he exerts them on his family. All of the TV sets in the house show Looney Toons and there’s candy for dinner every night. The elder family members are essentially held hostage by the child, who has very perverse ways of exacting out punishments. I’m reminded of that episode whenever Tom Hutsler has one of his patented temper tantrums – you know, the ones where he threatens to “deck” city officials, the ones where he curses out the lady volunteers of any given event, the ones where he marches up and down Main Street on his cellphone, calling in bogus, time wasting complaints to (insert governmental agency here) just to indulge his delusional sense of entitlement.
Luckily, Hutsler and his favorite enabler John Kuhns do a far better job of illustrating what I write about themselves. If I write “don’t steal the newspapers” you can bet your bottom dollar that “someone” will steal the newspapers from the rack nearest their nose the very next week. If I write “don’t go and bully people” you can bet that they’ll be busting in on your lunch hour, waving their arms and yelling, just to let you know who is in charge. Oh, and if you confront them, well, clearly their life is in danger and how can you be so mean to a witty-bitty community volunteer?
So the question is, who is in charge? How can anyone with any modicum of public relations experience think that banning the Denney’s from operating a hot dog cart for one night is a good idea, is something that is going to garner great press for the downtown? The answer is, they don’t. But they are unwilling to put a stop to it. That sort of tacit approval only serves to enable a bully. And some people have been under this sort of daily oppression for so long that they literally have Stockholm Syndrome. “Oh, he doesn’t mean it when he hurts me...it’s just that he cares so much!”
How is it that a man who has lost previous attempts for public office – the alderman’s and mayor’s seat – gets to tell people who can use a city parking lot or a city street? How is that the rule of law? How did downtown become the place where, if you don’t like somebody’s signage, you park a trailer in front of their hot dog stand? That’s not being a landlord, that’s being a warlord.
Well, this is Main Street, not Mogadishu. Hutsler and Kuhns like to call downtown “our Parkville,” as in, it’s theirs, as if they have some divine right to hassle and gossip and make people miserable while they’re trying to make a living. Well, it’s not their town, and you don’t have to grin and bear it any longer. The reason why everyone is interested in downtown is because it belongs to everybody – not just the guy who thinks he owns it.
No painted on smile can disguise the problem for those who know. It’s time to take back downtown Parkville and the time is now. Everyone is watching. The issues are in plain site. We need to clear out some space before we can let the good times roll.