I find myself a little perplexed why someone would want to protest a smoke shop opening? But that's exactly what happens to be planned by Alderman Joe Davis and State Senator Lena Taylor in Milwaukee today. According to Davis, he says that residents are concerned over the growing number of tobacco outlets in the neighborhood. In a statement he also said, "This application will not only change the use of the building, but will also change the environment of the surrounding community." The proposed establishment is home to what was formerly a fast food restaurant.
I have to admit I'm not sure exactly what Davis means. A smoke shop may not be the most desired use of the building. But does he mean to say that a smoke shop, as opposed to a fast food restaurant, would bring in an undesirable element? How exactly does a smoke shop change the environment and the surrounding community? And does opening a smoke shop encourage people to light up?
I think this happens to be just another clear example of our government officials having too much time on their hands. The city of Milwaukee has myriad issues that need to be dealt with such as high levels of unemployment, high crime, and high poverty, yet we spend time protesting a smoke shop? Granted, a smoke shop won't create as many jobs as perhaps may have been created by reusing the building for serving food or some other purpose. But that's not the point. The point is that to my mind the building is probably vacant. Being located at N. 76th St. it's not in the best of neighborhoods. A smoke shop going in is still better than having a vacant building. And again, with so many problems of greater impact facing the city of Milwaukee, this is simply a non-issue if there ever was one.
Might I only point out that there are also a high number of payday loan stores in this neighborhood, and no one seems to want to tackle that issue. Payday loans are probably more damaging to people who use them than anything that smoke shop is going to be selling
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