Tuesday, April 8, 2008
Agnes Jackson, Pitzer College English Professor
Would she have wanted segregation at Pitzer?
Agnes Jackson was Pitzer's first black faculty member and so, the BSU's President reasons, it's fitting that her room be used. But just what does the BSU President want to use it for?
From the proposal:
BSU will use the money to buy comfortable furniture (couches, bean bag chairs, tables, a entertainment center) and equipment (VCR, DVD player, TV, stereo, small refrigerator) and black art work & posters.
BSU would also use the money to buy the following:Right because when I think of the civil rights struggle, I think of Ebony, Jet, and Dave Chappelle...
- Subscriptions to Black magazines and newspapers (Black Voice, Jet, Ebony, XXL, Source...),
- Black books (to start a small Black book library, which would include books and articles published by Black faculty members)
- Films & feel good movies (Harlem Nights, Sankofa, Color Purple, Dave Chappelle Show, Madea...)
- Art supplies to have students create their own art
Janet Alexander of The Claremont Independent will be covering this issue in more detail in the next issue, but until then, I'm just hoping to whet your appetite for this story. Here are the two pages I'm referencing (and there is more where that came from!)
The Hair After is a barbershop in Claremont Village that's come under threat from a proposed (and now passed) ordinance. I've written a mocking post on this travesty passed by the Claremont City Council, but this time I've reached the conclusion that this affair is no joke.
I spoke with Ms. Nancy Lodolo and attended tonight's City Council meeting. Tonight I'll be writing about her plight and her store's history.
Lest you think I'm forgetting my obligations to write about Claremont College news, I remind you that Claremont College students will be directly affected by the City Council's decision. By fixing the number of beauty shops in the downtown area, the Council have effectively given licenses to a select few. These license schemes, as any student of Econ. 50 knows, lead to higher prices for the customers they serve.
Nancy Lodolo knows full well that low prices are what keep her in business.
Pomona's The Student Life have called Hair After's prices "unbeatable" and CGU's School of Religion describes it as "close to campus, a good price, and a good quality."
Nancy loves catering to students and senior citizens. She keeps her prices low -- $15 for a woman's cut compared to upwards of 35 and higher at some of the other places -- and treats her employees well. Some of them have worked with Nancy for about as long as she's had the shop!
"Claremont," she says in her cozy shop, "is a college town and college students don't always have a lot of money. You might think that this is an affluent town, but not everyone who lives here is. We want all this youth running and around and we don't cater to it. How many shops here could you afford to shop in?"
Nancy's right. Some of the high end clothing and restaurants offer services well beyond my means. Whenever I want to buy something on the cheap, I have to take a bus or borrow a ride from a friend.
Nancy knows this all too well. College students are often without cars and Nancy depends upon them walking by her stop. That foot traffic can help Nancy pay the rent and expand her business.
Nancy hopes one day to buy the store next door, knock out the wall, and offer more services to her other major clientèle -- the senior citizens who right now have a hard time making it up the stoop into the back of her store.
Many of these senior citizens -- who have long since sold their cars -- wait all week to have their hair taken care of and to have a meal downtown. The seniors, often standing with the help of walkers, wait for Dial-a-Ride, a shuttle to the downtown area to visit Nancy and her shop.
Shirley, one of Nancy's "girls," get an estimated 60% of her business from catering to these aging customers. The city's ban on expansion may force her into early retirement, despite her wishes or her plans
But the City Council of Claremont has plans of its own -- plans that directly conflict with Nancy's. Their plan is twofold:
1) they want to ban any future beauty shops in Claremont Village and they lump nail, hair, skin care, tanning salons, and day spas all into the same category, despite the fact that they cater to completely different markets and demographics.Nancy is adamantly opposed to the city's ordinance. For starters, the whole idea unsettles her. "It sounds kind of like communism," she says. "On principle, it ethically doesn't feel right. [Under this proposal] the City can tell my land lord to whom I rent what he can do and they can tell me how to run my business."
2) they want to limit any current beauty shop from "expanding into a first floor retail space that has a display window facing a public sidewalk."
Nancy's business would be dealt the kiss of death if she expanded upstairs. Not only would the students who see the business while walking by be unable to, but her aging customers on walkers wouldn't be able to make it up the flight of stairs.
Even if Nancy were to expand upstairs or to another location, all of the investments she's made in plumbing and infrastructure would be harder to implement upstairs than it would be next door.
Tonight they passed this ordinance against the pleas of Nancy, who gave a moving speech about how the community that once welcomed her is now curtailing her dreams. And curtailing they are. After all, the first law of business is "location, location, location" and the City Council wants to take that from her (or at least stop her from expanding.)
Now why would the City of Claremont want to do that?
The town's proposed ordinance says that its intent is to help the "character of the [Claremont Village District]" which they say is "enhanced" by "the variety of different uses, specifically retail uses." (bolding is mine.)
The key word here is retail, which is the sale of good or merchandise from a fixed location.
Although services are often included in the definition of retail, it's clear that in the City Council's definition that they are not.
The Council wants to amend title 16 of the Claremont Municipal Code to include the following phrase, "while hair, nail, skin care, and taning salons and day spas provide a benefit to the community," an "overabundance" can hurt the town's economy.
As they explained to Nancy in a letter "inviting" her to attend and speak at the public hearing of the proposed ordinance, "the purpose of the ordinance is to protect the retail nature and vitality of the Village core." (Centralized planning much?)
Nancy disputes that this statement is the true reason underlying the ordinance and rightly points out that there are many empty buildings in Claremont Village. Why not address that need first by putting in new businesses?
In a word, taxes!
You see, Nancy's shop is a service industry. This means that Nancy doesn't pay sales taxes and the only money the town receives is from her business license. If the town is successful in eliminating all the beauty shops, they will get more shops in and that means the City Council will have more tax money to play around with.
Tonight at the City Council meeting they alluded to this fact. Jeff Parker, the City Manager, in explaining the new Trader Joe's in Claremont, said he looks forward to residents of other towns spending their money here in Claremont.
Grocery stores, after all, pay more taxes than small, locally-owned beauty shops.
Although City Council Member Corey Calaycay, who voted in favor of the ordinance, says that he hopes they will reexamine the ordinance in two years time.
But that seems unlikely. After all, if the Town is getting more tax revenue, why would they want to repeal the ordinance?
Nancy says she isn't an "Erin Brockovich," but I sincerely hope she reconsiders fighting this ridiculous ordinance.
Here's to hoping that she gets a lawyer or two to cut through the City's red tape as easily as she cuts through hair.
Until then, I know this wonderful barbershop downtown. It's called The Hair After and here's their information. Give 'em a call, get a haircut, and tell 'em that the City's decision will not stand.
Dashiell Driscoll's Masculinist Club shows no signs of losing steam and the articles are just getting funnier by the day.
The Associated Press ran with the story today. Here it is in its entirety. I bet the opening line really upsets some of the campus feminists. Somehow sticking it to the Man has a new sense at Pitzer College... (I could keep the bad puns coming, but I won't.)
CLAREMONT, Calif.—It's not a man's world at Pitzer College in eastern Los
Angeles County, where student leaders denied funding to a group that calls
itself the Masculinist Coalition.
The Pitzer Student Senate denied
the group's request this weekend for $150 to hold a forum. It's the
third time the coalition, formed as a male-centric response to campus
groups representing female or minority students, has asked for the cash.
Student Senate member Fred Beebe says the Masculinists and their campus
opponents need to work out their differences.
But group leader
Dashiell Driscoll says he'll keep asking the senate for funding until he