Vid courtesy of Sean Mullally
My wee boy and I went downtown to join the protest of Bill Huizenga who is known for referring to Muskegon, Michigan as a "Low Class" city. Perhaps we're Low Class because we're the major Democratic stronghold in West Michigan. Or perhaps we're Low Class because Muskegonites WORK with HANDS. The horror.
The boy and I got there early, so to kill some time the wee little boy and I parked at the new splash fountain by the old post office down town. The Alcoa splash fountain between the newly streetscaped Western Avenue downtown and the vast sandlot.
Little history: Back in the 1970's amidst a troubled economy and declining manufacturing base -- Sound familiar? -- Muskegon, Michigan, attempted to reinvent itself -- Sound familiar? -- by turning what was once an open air, standard streetscape with old buildings and shops into a modern, enclosed year-round heated shopping center. A mall! The city literally built a glass roof over the old downtown Muskegon and enclosed it with walls. That worked out fine for a decade or two...but it never made Muskegon the major shopping mecca the planners had expected and by the late 1990s the mall....better known as "downtown Muskegon" was dead. Completely dead.
As it turns out, if you put doors and a lock on your downtown and give it a closing time of 9:00 PM, it has no nightlife. Who could have predicted?
This is running a bit longer than I had hoped...the point is that the mall/downtown completely died and in 2002 and 2003 the city actually bulldozed blocks and blocks of the downtown area...most of it, but for a few of the still functional buildings like the post office, or historic buildings like the old Century Club building.
For years, most of the downtown area has been a sand pit, with developers here and there building new buildings, like the new cullinary arts college.
Where was I?
Oh yeah. To kill time, I brought my youngest boy down to splash around in the new Alcoa childrens' splash fountain, where he ran around with a half dozen other kids. As 4:30 approached we made our way down to US Congressman Bill Huizenga's Muskegon office. He's a Republican. One of the ultraconservative Heritage Foundation's "Magnificent 11" or something like that for his Cut Cut Cut Cut Cut, Slash Slash Slash Slash economic policies.
This is the heir to the MI-2 Pete Hoekstra congressional district. He sort of inherited it because he's part of one of the Dynastic West Michigan families. A set of families whose parents and grandparents made money and build businesses in West Michigan...and whose children feel a sense of entitlement having inherited their position and wealth. Huizenga has proceeded to slash funding for womens' health, for Great Lakes restoration, he voted for the Medicare Killing Ryan plan.
My boy dragged his hopping frog toy down the sidewalk by a green string until we eventually joined a crowd of people outside of Bill Huizenga's Muskegon office. People continued to pour in. By the time my son and I had to leave I had counted over 150 people outside the office yelling "LET US IN! LET US IN! LET US IN!" and "WE NEED JOBS! WE NEED JOBS! WE NEED JOBS!"
Just an average Wednesday in a city with nearly 11% U3 unemployment, ruled by hyperconservative elites.