28 February 2008

If it's Not a Voting Bloc, it's Not Diversity

Another piece of what made Saint Paul great is pulling the plug:

The 80-year-old Polish-American Club on Arcade Street in St. Paul is being forced to vacate its venerable temple, that two-story 87-year-old building with the wide, awning-shaded steps and the big Polish eagle flying on high. This has been a haven for wedding receptions, polka festivals, Friday night fish fries, ritual booyas and the occasional hidden-room poker game, but the club can no longer make the nut.

"Our property taxes have doubled in the last couple of years, from $4,000 to $8,000," said club president Joe Zimlich, who's been a member since before he was married in the historic building in the 1960s. "The taxes and our license fees will kill us this year, so we have reluctantly voted to sell the building.

(A) little third-floor "inner sanctum" that historically housed some legendary poker games. Those occurred during the Prohibition era, when Minnesota's choicest bootlegged booze, "Minnesota 13," was trucked in from St. Cloud along with "Dago Red" wine, produced in bulk just down the street by the Italians on Railroad Island. With that and the polka music, Pulaski Hall was a busy if slightly nefarious place.

Last time I was at Pulaski Hall, after a wedding party and dance that could not be beat, we had to wait to exit the alley in our car. A Lincoln full of the, uh, 'new locals' cut us off, perpendicular to traffic, so several the car's occupants could get out and relieve themselves. Nice.

Lesson - when some stoodge politician with a messianinc complex runs with their jive about the importance of diversity in a community, ask youself if they are embracing the legitimate culture a group can bring tot he community, or are they just trying to cement the dependency of a constituency?

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