Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Happy Meals?

So McDonald's bathrooms downtown are hotbeds for drug dealing? Little Junior gets his happy meal while Mommy gets some Xanax? Seriously, I expect this story to come out of Cranberry or Wexford. I expected that the downtown McDonald's would be peddling heroine or cocaine. In Mt Lebanon, I'd expect to find high school students peddling marijuana in the bathroom.

Seriously, though, I'd rather that a restaurant known for its kid-friendly antics is not associated with drugs in any way even if they're just muscle-relaxants. When drug dealers feel they can peddle in the bathroom, it's a sad reflection on our own police enforcement. People have been complaining about drugs in the downtown area for years.

"I know that we do get complaints from pedestrians and other businesses about drug activity that's an ongoing thing down there," said city police Sgt. William Gorman of the Hill District station, which patrols Downtown.

But now that there's some "positive development" downtown?

"The continuing cooperative effort that has been under way to keep Downtown a destination for families depends in large part on there being confidence in public safety," Mr. Zappala said in a statement. "I and other officials will not tolerate any type of criminal behavior that erodes that confidence and interferes with the positive developments taking place Downtown on a daily basis."

Well, I guess it's better late than never.

But it definitely makes me take Carmen Robinson's words to heart regarding downtown development.

"It shouldn't be just lofts in the Strip District and where the Penguins are building," said Carmen Robinson, a Hill District attorney who also is running for mayor. She said any renaissance hasn't hit Lincoln-Lemington, Homewood, Brookline or Carrick, and vowed to back community benefits agreements guaranteeing jobs and investments to neighborhoods in which subsidized developments sit.

It's great to see police cracking down on downtown drug dealing, but it's sad to see the correlation between expensive luxury condos and police enforcement. Maybe when the "renaissance" spreads to Homewood and Carrick, the cops will clean up those drugs too?

1 comment:

Bram Reichbaum said...

Xanax is common. It's also pretty heavenly, in today's manic, stimulation-rich environment.

I think the perception of Downtown unsafety is far worse than actual Downtown unsafety. It'd probably be a lot safer if they legalized drugs (a few less guns and grudges on the street), but still.

Carmen is on to all the right themes. I like a lot of what she says. What I feel I need now from her is less emphasis on ethics and propriety (which is really good) but more her solutions and how she thinks about solutions. She's next on my list.