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Jim Carlson – Guilty

From the Minneapolis Star Tribune: Headshop owner guilty of selling illegal synthetic drugs

A Duluth headshop owner was found guilty of selling banned synthetic drugs Monday afternoon in a case likely to have major impact on the handling of artificial hallucinogens.

Jim Carlson, 56, owner of the Last Place on Earth, was found guilty on 51 of 55 felony counts. His girlfriend, Lava Marie Haugen, 33, was convicted on all four counts against her, including conspiracy. Carlson’s son, Joseph James Gellerman, 35, was convicted of two of four counts against him, but not guilty of conspiracy.

The trial lasted two weeks, and the seven-woman, five-man jury deliberated for about two days over the 55 felony counts.

Duluth News Tribune: “Jury finds Last Place on Earth owner Jim Carlson guilty on most counts
WDIO: Carlson guilty on 51 counts
Northland’s NewsCenter: “Jury upholds 51 counts against Jim Carlson in federal court

61 Comments

Hot Shot

about 6 years ago

So who guessed 51 on the recent poll??

akjuneau

about 6 years ago

Would be nice to give credit and a link to the Star Tribune article you copied/stole that text from.

TimK

about 6 years ago

That would be a great spot for another brew pub.

leefr

about 6 years ago

My fault. I was not trying to take credit for the article. I was anxious to post the news and neglected to include a link to the news article in the Star Tribune.

spy1

about 6 years ago

Yeah, because you certainly wouldn't want to source the local paper that has covered this trial from day one.

Paul Lundgren

about 6 years ago

The post has been updated to include the proper citation. 

The winner of the poll is Brittney Blair.

Sam

about 6 years ago

This is a significant change to downtown.  A good change for the businesses downtown and most of the citizens, no doubt.

Karasu

about 6 years ago

Whoa, citation trolls? Chill out!

adam

about 6 years ago

I hear there is a bath salt vigil tonight.

Rij

about 6 years ago

Are the places on the Range and in Ashland still selling this poison?  If so, what do you suppose the chances are that they'll be selling it tomorrow?

baci

about 6 years ago

Sally Struthers: Thank god, for the children.

He wanted a waiver from appearing in court for the verdict, denied. At the very end, Carlson shirks his "convictions."

Seriously, hopefully some of his customers don't just fade into the woods but get the help they need to not be using that alien sh!t. Hopefully the people standing in line in Feb. with their children in strollers will get clear headed enough to do the right thing for their kids.

By the way, Duluth still needs a good  star dart and numchuck store.

moosetracks

about 6 years ago

Someone should open The Second to Last Place on Earth and sell everything but the synthetics. Where am I supposed to get my urine cleaner now?

edgeways

about 6 years ago

Penultimate Place On Earth?

emmadogs

about 6 years ago

Erstwhile Place On Earth?

Ramos

about 6 years ago

POP QUIZ

Which of the following comments did Police Chief Ramsay feel like he had to delete from his post about Jim Carlson's guilty verdict?

A) Score!!! Put the scum bag away!

B) thank God ... good riddance you lousy creep!

C) Don't drop the soap, Carlson.

D) Couldn't happen to a nicer guy! Every time I see him I want to puke!

E) When Carlson gets to prison, he should remember to never bend over in the shower, and when he becomes "Big Mo's" bitch, he should never, ever refuse to scratch "Big Mo's" ich . . . just sayin'

F) About time get the scumbag out of here

G) Satan's ring leader.

I) Hey jim when you get to prison bubba will be there waiting for his new bitch you and bubba jr will be waiting for your son so don't neither one of you two forget the soap. And to your girlfriend bertha will be waiting for you .lol

J) A link to the song "Pass the Marijuana," by the reggae group Mystic Roots.

baci

about 6 years ago

Ok, just once for ol' time sake ... 

Ramos, this was never really about legalization and we all know it. If he truly wanted to bring about legalization, he would not have been selling the zombie poison. He did far more to hurt the legalization cause than to help it. By association, now potentially legitimate reasons to legalize have to fight uphill against perceptions Carlson reinforced about the "dangerous nature" of the "drug culture."

This has been, and always was, about Carlson raking in $$ at the (often tragic) expense of everyone else.

Ramos

about 6 years ago

Actually, my latest comments have nothing to do with any of that. I'm merely observing that Police Chief Ramsay feels that jokes about Carlson being raped in prison are appropriate for his Facebook page, but songs about passing the marijuana are not.

emmadogs

about 6 years ago

Yikes, Ramos, is that really true?  Is it possible to post a link to this?  Are these comments that Chief Ramsay made, or that others made on his FB page?

Ramos

about 6 years ago

They're easy enough to find, if you're signed up with Facebook. Just search for "Duluth Police Chief Gordon Ramsay." 

The chief did not make the comments I cited; others did. The chief decided not to delete them. As he seems to be very active in monitoring his FB page (other commenters complain that the chief deletes lots of things) his decisions about which comments to leave up and which ones to take down are telling. 

Apparently, no amount of name-calling and vilification of Jim Carlson is too extreme for the chief. He welcomes them all with open arms. Even semi-illiterate jokes about the illegal act of rape are allowed, if the target of the joke is Carlson.

Just don't say anything about how marijuana relaxes you. That act of deviance, my friend, will get your comment deleted in a heartbeat.

Paul Lundgren

about 6 years ago

The Facebook comments in question:















Barrett Chase

about 6 years ago

In today's DNT a juror identified only as "Mark" makes the statement that the prosecution's case was weak. He says the case came down to mislabeling. He says, "They didn't put 'not for human consumption' on it. If they had done that, Jim Carlson would be out today."

This really surprised me, because I know I once saw a TV news clip where Carlson called one of his products either "synthetic heroin" or "synthetic morphine," and said it was good for back problems. I would think that would be pretty compelling evidence that he was selling drugs intended for human consumption.

Paul Lundgren

about 6 years ago

I thought the quote at the end of the article was particularly interesting.

"I'm wondering why I put a guy away for something that's legal," he said of the synthetics sales. He agreed that the jury was right to find Carlson and his employees guilty on the labeling charges. "This is not a moral issue," he said. "We were there for the facts and the facts got a hold of Jim. He's guilty on mislabeling drugs. He's going away. That's not easy to carry on your shoulders."
It kind of summarizes how I've always felt about this. I look at it like I look at Menards selling paint thinner. It's not an illegal substance, but people can wreck themselves on it, and if Menards encouraged people to huff paint thinner it would be breaking the law. Carlson was openly touting his products as alternatives to marijuana and other drugs. He's guilty there. But I disagree that a bath salt is an illegal substance, and I think a higher court will overturn those charges. The public has as much right to use bathing products as it does to clean up after painting.

Barrett Chase

about 6 years ago

The difference is that "bath salts" are bath salts in name only. When Glidden or Benjamin Moore makes paint thinner, they are formulating the product to make the best paint thinner possible. When these companies make "bath salts," they are formulating them to mimic certain drugs when ingested. It's not as if they coincidentally happen to get you high. They are intentionally made to get you high. The label is just a sham to intentionally circumvent the law.

Barrett Chase

about 6 years ago

I mean, if it's okay to sell a substance intentionally formulated to mimic the effects of crack cocaine when injested, as long as it's labeled "watch cleaner," why is it not okay to sell actual crack cocaine as long as it's labeled as "watch cleaner"?

Paul Lundgren

about 6 years ago

Right. But isn't it weird to go after the seller of the watch cleaner and not the manufacturer of the watch cleaner if the argument is that the substance is illegal? It seems to me that if a company is allowed to manufacture and distribute a product, a store owner should assume it is legal to sell it.

Granted, we reached a point where Carlson should have made the ethical decision to stop selling it, but it's pretty safe to say he believed all along the product was legal and wanted to rub the authorities' faces in it. Otherwise he would have just sold pot.

Ramos

about 6 years ago

It's striking to note the difference in attitudes between the juror who reluctantly convicted Carlson of labeling violations and the slavering mob of revenge-bent Duluthians who want to see Carlson burn in hell.

TimK

about 6 years ago

Lysol spray has a warning on the label about misusing the product for purposes other than intended use. If you went to the grocery store and stated your intention to buy Lysol in order to snort it, the grocer can't legally sell it to you. The trickiest part of many laws are about intent. It's probably a good thing that people can't read my mind.

piker

about 6 years ago

If the issue is whether he intended these drugs for human consumption, or as some sort of medicine, it was pretty clear from the full-page ad on the back of the Zenith City Weekly:



He says that the 'incense' has helped people with multiple sclerosis, PTSD and cancer.

Barrett Chase

about 6 years ago

Paul, let's put it in these terms: if we were talking about, say, meth, then the Feds would go after both the seller and the manufacturer. They'd be more lenient with the seller of course, unless the seller because extraordinarily difficult. At which point they'd throw the book at him. 

Of course spice isn't meth, mainly because meth is one thing and spice is many things. Many things which are easily changed faster than the law can keep up. Still, I don't think the Feds are ignoring the manufacturers/importers.

piker

about 6 years ago

I believe saying it helps with MS or cancer is even worse than just saying it gets people high - and a lot worse than maintaining that it is just "incense" not intended for human consumption.

This guy ran a head shop for years. In the United States, stores that sell pipes and water pipes operate in a gray area where you have to claim the pipes are for tobacco consumption. Carlson should understand this dance by now and if he is going to sell "incense," should've kept his story consistent.

Paul Lundgren

about 6 years ago

Carlson was suggesting his products provide relief from symptoms, and not that they cure or slow the progress of any disease. I'm sure they do provide some temporary relief -- or at least distraction -- but certainly at a cost.

piker

about 6 years ago

Claiming that a product provides relief from specific symptoms has been trouble for many manufacturers of legitimate herbs, vitamins and natural treatments. If nothing else, most herbs contain a disclaimer. His packaging was definitely inconsistent with his claims.

Barrett Chase

about 6 years ago

I guess what I'm saying is that LPOE and spice is absolutely not the same as Menard's and paint thinner. Spice is manufactured to be a drug. It's distributed and sold to be a drug. It's purchased to be a drug. A seller can put his hands in his pockets, whistle, and say, "no no this is incense," but nobody believes that and it is not at all true.

piker

about 6 years ago

Nobody really believes that double chamber glass waterpipes are for tobacco, either,  but that claim is the only reason you can buy a waterpipe in a store. As soon as you say it is for smoking marijuana, it's illegal drug paraphernalia. Despite this, selling these articles is a large legal industry in the United States.

Barrett Chase

about 6 years ago

If you think those pipes are legal, watch the documentary Degenerate Art, and see how that industry was completely gutted by a federal crackdown a few years back. Of course they are still sold on a small scale, but sellers of pipes walk a very narrow line. I suspect that mostly the authorities just don't think it's worth the resources to go after them.

piker

about 6 years ago

I'm a glassblower, Barrett. Degenerate Art  was directed by a friend of mine.

piker

about 6 years ago

I actually attended all four of the screenings at SXSW last year, but anyway, cool that you heard of it! That industry is actually doing very well these days. There's a huge Renaissance in blown glass art and it's finally being taken seriously in this age of cannabis legalization especially.

The current store in town that sells blown glass of this sort is actually doing very well, and I have a great deal of respect for the ownership. Unlike Carlson, who wasn't very supportive of our local arts scene and sold import pipes from Thailand and China, Legacy Glass has focused exclusively on quality local American hand-blown glass.

These sorts of pipes are going for a record prices recently - the collector scene has blown up, just try searching for boro glass or glassofig on Instagram.

piker

about 6 years ago

Sorry for the multiple replies, but I wanted to add that as far as how the industry as a whole is doing, it is more then recovered since pipedreams - and not just blown glass, but all of the other areas related and that there is more of the stuff being retailed on the Internet now than ever. There was another case of similar to pipedreams in the 90s, where the Fed decided to pursue a company that was doing well selling what they decided to label drug paraphernalia. But the industry rebounded after that, only to suffer OPD 10 years later, and has rebounded again. People wonder whether it's going to happen again, it's about time by that schedule.  My opinion is probably not. Things have really changed now that 20 or 25 states have legalized cannabis in some form.

OPD really was a big deal though, and the main affect was to put a chill on the rapidly growing market for artistic blown glass pipes. Myself and several of my friends went through economic hard times as a result of that, and many of us branched out into other forms of glass art. But the entire thing has just been exploding more lately, like we've never seen before. The idea that  it's a shadow of what it was or it's been suppressed by the federal government is not correct.

piker

about 6 years ago

Also, I don't know how much traveling y'all do... But recreational cannabis is effectively legal in Washington, Oregon, Colorado, California, Michigan and more decriminalized than ever in many other states, to the point where it's not really seen as a big deal at all by either the average person or law enforcement. Could Minnesota be far behind? How soon basically depends on what type of governor we get in the next couple elections.

JustJen

about 6 years ago

The fact that they put a man away, for basically life, who was selling stuff that you can order online or even purchase in the same county makes me sick. I am not a fan of drugs, but of Human Rights. There is something very wrong with Duluth.

Ramos

about 6 years ago

When it comes to the horrible scourge of poor-people drugs (the kind sold at the LPOE, not the kind sold at Fitger's or Walgreens), the tolerant, happy face of middle-class Duluth turns cold and puritanical. Rich-people drug problems are "treated," but poor-people drug issues are best handled with oppressive, draconian punishment.

hbh1

about 6 years ago

If you read the celebratory comments on the part of our leadership, I think it's fairly obvious that Jim simply handed them the tool to crowbar him out of their precious gentrifying downtown. For want of a second cash register, for an overdose of greed, the man went down. 

If he'd never allowed a line to build outside, if he'd cleaned up his storefront--none of this would have happened, because no one would have noticed what was happening to the drug addicts downtown.

piker

about 6 years ago

The drugs he was selling are seriously bad. Do you all know about them?

'Spice' is synthetic thc-like drugs, mixed with who knows what else. These foilas were always changing and ingredients were never labeled; some of the stuff in them wasn't so bad for people and some of it was fairly toxic. Overall, synth weed, whatever. Far less healthy than real marijuana and more addictive.

'Bath salts' are far more dangerous. These drugs are more like methamphetamine mixed with MDMA. Far more dangerous, powerful and addictive than spice. Caused lots of problems and some deaths across the country. Constantly changing formulations and god knows what in them, too.

Just like their 'normal' drug counterparts, being a weed dealer isn't really that irresponsible, but being a meth/coke dealer is rather vile. Carlson sold bath salts for quite some time, stopping only after arrest and he then said his girlfriend convinced him to keep selling just spice and stop the 'salts'.

JustJen

about 6 years ago

It's not like Jim Carlson invented these products, or was the only one selling them for profits. I do not condone drug usage and would never put any of that garbage in my body, but this was total selective enforcement on Duluth's part.

emmadogs

about 6 years ago

I do condone drug usage, in moderate amounts and without subsequent acts that would be harmful to anyone else.  Anyway, hbh1 and Ramos are right:  middle class and upper class drugs usage is better tolerated by society, and that is because the businesses that cater to such usage seem to enhance business districts.  Similarly, if Carlson hadn't had implemented 'fuck you' into his business plan, and had made allowances (better crowd control, entrance not on Superior Street, appreciating that his customers were hurting neighboring businesses and implementing changes to fix that) then he would probably,have been left alone.

That 's fine with me.  We depend on small businesses to drive our economy and to make our city a great place to live.  If you're a small business owner, I want you to help gentrify it, not trash it out.  I don't care who you cater to, so long as you conduct your business in accord with your neighbor's desire to succeed too, and without harming your neighbor's business interests.

JustJen

about 6 years ago

So if Carlson sold alternatives on Michigan St and never expanded to two cash registers, he'd still be in business today?

It's a wonder why LPOE was still such a target even after the two police officers were stationed to be there round the clock?

I'd also be interested to know how area businesses are faring now, compared to the exact same time last year since tourist season is now coming to an end.

The bottle shop on 1st street always has people hanging around, fighting, yelling. I also read that the Flame night club has had many nuisance calls. And let's not forget about Grandma's Sports Garden on a Saturday night. Drive through Canal park around bar close and see people laying on the sidewalk, puking in the bushes, and screaming & swearing at passing cars. But I'm sure that's all part of Duluth's charm!

hbh1

about 6 years ago

No no, Jen. You don't understand. Alcohol is the accepted drug of choice of America, and Grandma's is full of America's Lovely Youth, so that's all just good clean fun.

And Piker, while I agree that synthetics are a grotesque perversion of something or other, I continue to point out that we don't generally ban things without scientific evidence. I have yet to see people cite Actual Science--everything we see going on in the press is emergency room doctors and police complaining that their clientele got crazy. Which is a problem, since the only people these civic heroes see are those who are experiencing difficulty. It's a naturally skewed view.

These anecdotal reports have continued to be impossibly meshed with the complaints of middle class people and business owners complaining about Aesthetics. They don't like what they see. If they'd never had to see it in the first place, they wouldn't have given a damn. If LPOE had existed next door to the Wabasha on First Street or down in Fond du Lac, I'd bet mucho dinero we'd never have seen any of this happen. As long as the rabble stay out of view, nobody cares what happens to them. 

The gentrifiers were handed the tools Jim Carlson gave them: his pathological stubbornness and greed. He's a fool, but putting him in prison with rapists and murderers--well, that's just nuts. In my opinion. 

So now we live in a world where If It Gets You High, It's Illegal. (Even more than before.) Unless it's Alcohol. Or Your Doctor Gave It To You and Charged You A Lot. Nobody cares that there might or might not be significant differences between synthetic pot and synthetic meth, because Gross People Use Them. End of story. 

How that is a better world, I'm not sure. But hey, at least we don't have Jim Asshole to look at anymore. He was duly punished, by taking everything he ever owned, and locking him up for what might as well be forever. 

And now our illustrious leaders salivate over the completion of their dreams of a downtown that is clean and free of poor people who trouble us with their hobbies. Any bets on what's next? Oh yeah, the bus station.

Barrett Chase

about 6 years ago

Whoa whoa wait -- Carlson is going to be locked up with murderers and rapists? Where did this information come from? I thought nonviolent drug dealers went to minimum security for federal offenses.

Barrett Chase

about 6 years ago

Also, to those condemning "gentrifiers," please explain how a run-down city full of open-air drug use and street hassle would help poor people stop being poor.

blind

about 6 years ago

@BarrettChase (cc:hbh1)

In some cities, artists willing to put up with "Quality of Life" problems can get the benefits of city life - cultural heterogeneity, avant-garde perspectives, etc. - they otherwise would not.  When those "Quality of Life" problems go away, the rents go up... and often low-income artists - who may have been recruited there in the first place to increase property values - cannot afford to live there anymore.  

So, "quality of life" improvements lead to those who have been able to make a positive life within a city of broken windows not able even to live there anymore.  In such cases, if the artists want to remain in the city, ***they do not want quality of life improvements.***  They also might want *quality of life* problems to endure because such those "problems" are interesting.  Or further, as an acquaintance once put it, someone might realize that they themselves are "quality of life violations" from the perspective of city planners and landowners, and frankly said people don't want to force themselves out of their community.  It's easy to see how racial, ethnic, and class heterogeneity can be framed as quality of life issues.

Use of the term "broken window" is on purpose; "Broken Window" theory refers to a policy endorsed by the "Manhattan Institute" (you can Wikipedia both of these), which guided Rudolph Giuliani and Michael Bloomberg's urban policies in New York City -- reaction to which will likely culminate in Bill DeBlasio's pending election there.  Duluth officials have *specifically* cited "Broken Window" theory (http://www.wdio.com/article/stories/s2849304.shtml); the term "Quality of Life" also appears from time to time, but since that's a general term, it's a little more difficult to specifically associate such use with Manhattan Institute ideas.  But I would be surprised if Manhattan Institute publications aren't drawn from in city planner, landowner, and politician conversations.  

These policies have led to the ongoing decimation of a heterogeneous cultural life in, for example, New York City and Paris.  These policies have also led to much lower crime rates and higher property values.  If you're a landowner, your net worth suggests this is great news.  If you're interested in avant-garde theater, say, or cultural diversity -- you might feel differently.  You might be a little more accepting, and even fond, of broken windows.

It's easy to project such terms onto Duluth.  Clearly some city officials have done so.  And, from the other side, as a reaction against and to defend something - for example in HBH1's comments above - some civilians have done likewise.  Me too, generally as a civilian and non-participant in such debates -- I have thought in those terms, too.  

But, ultimately, the New York City civil arguments against Broken Windows theory to defend an interesting, affordable culture don't translate well to Duluth.  Why?  Property values.  Ownership of homes is possible to the middle- and lower-classes in Duluth in a way that does not exist in New York City, or Paris, or other places culturally decimated by Broken Window theory.  Additionally, the "gentrification" at hand has brought with it a commitment to the arts that is probably unprecedented in Duluth history.  Has that commitment been particularly to a sort of soft, civic, tourist-courting bourgeois art that uses artists as cheap labor and tourist courting?  Well... yeah.  But, you know, all those venues need to be filled with something regularly, and a lot of interesting things that don't fit the civic agenda but are a little more unorthodox and interesting can and do sneak in.  The overhead to get a venue like Sacred Heart in New York City would start in the thousands of dollars.  In Duluth? I think it's a few hundred bucks for an evening.   

However--- the racial, ethnic, class, and I dare say religious overtones in Duluth's "clean up" language, whether as discussed above on Facebook, or elsewhere in relation to Carlson's clientele, are horrifying.  I jotted down some comments from another Carlson-related Facebook post a few months ago, because of how horrifying and frankly reminiscent of lynchmobs and medieval witch-burnings they were:


"Away with him and all his poisons!"

"go old school burn the buissnes [sic] down"

"I am disgusted by this pox upon our city!"

"Prohibition doesn't work." . . . "Bullet might..."

"He is a waste that breathes oxygen that he does not deserve."

"We should be able to drive him out of our community! Got my pitchfork!"


That shit is scary.

And while Broken Window and Quality of Life theory don't really carry over very well into Duluth... whatever framework does successfully address the area must also take into consideration the passive acceptance - and sometimes active endorsement - of such a horrific, medieval, lynchmob mentality.

hbh1

about 6 years ago

I forgot the Evil Doer was going to federal prison. Okay, kidnappers and bank robbers and white collar embezzlers then. 

And yes, blind addresses my issues above. 

Part of what I always loved about Old Downtown was its grit, I admit. That's why I worked there and why I hung out there for so many years. It's why I lived where I lived in Chicago before I moved here. I lived in Wicker Park before it became Lincoln Park Lite and I felt very much a part of that gentrifying process. It priced me out of a home. I couldn't live there now if I wanted to, even backed right up against the el like I was. I feel the pain of that process because despite my privilege I felt closer to the gangbangers who played basketball down the street than I did to the yuppies who ripped out the interiors of the apartments across the street and flipped the buildings for millions. 

I have a visceral reaction still, to what has happened downtown, because I don't necessarily respect the tradeoff between what the monied classes expect for entertainment venues and what we used to have thereabouts. I have very mixed feelings about the results. And yes, I still despise Rob Link and his political minions, and the public salivating going on over the LPOE building disgusts me. 

No, having people puking on windows (which I suspect happened like once and became A Legend), or druggies ruining Lakeplace Park with their child-neglecting ways isn't a great thing. 

However, the language of gentrifiers and the over-the-top confusion between The DRUGSOMG! and the frothing hatred for the aesthetics of the LPOE, its owner and its customers have left me rather cold. Forgive me. Reminds me too clearly of the Infamous Anti-Loitering ordinance, the reasons for the Classical Music War Against Youth at the bus depot, and people freaking out about being asked for a dollar. I gladly worked at the Gigantic Crazy Used Bookstore with TEH PORNZ for Daddy Carlson. I was never afraid (worked late at night solo no problem), and I have little respect for people who found the downtown of those days "scary." 

Perhaps I'm somehow more badass than I thought.

hbh1

about 6 years ago

I want to add that of course a "gritty" downtown doesn't necessarily benefit poor people. However, "cleaning up" always seems to include people. Not just graffiti or weird storefronts. It includes people. Why is it, after all, that they want to move the bus depot to Michigan Street? It's not just "flow" because there's nothing particularly needful about speeding up traffic downtown. It's aesthetics. And those aesthetic "problems" are about people that Some People don't want to see.

blind

about 6 years ago

Chicago's home-ownership economics are more similar to New York City and Paris; low and middle-income ownership within the city is much less likely except in the suburbs.  So, as an economic model, I would (as an amateur) suggest that parallel doesn't really carry over to what is happening / has happened in downtown Duluth.  Of course that has little to do with cultural *taste.*  Anyone who thinks that great and fascinating cultural events never happened on East Superior street between, say, 1980 and 2008, clearly never saw the Black Labels play at the Red Lion; they also didn't recognize how many mind-opening, transformative, cultural experiences came from buying weird books (and I don't mean porn magazines, which were just a tiny section of the store) at Carlson Books, in the pre-online era.  The best cultural formations of the new downtown - such as Homegrown and Tycoons, in both of whose development Mr. Ness clearly has had a hand, and also in such publications as PDD and the Transistor - seem to incarnate such a continuity, rather than annihilate everything.

JustJen

about 6 years ago

Carlson may not be in with the murders and rapists, but he is in prison for as much or more time than people who commit those serious crimes.

I've been a lurker on this site for a few years, but this thread made me register an account. I  just can't comprehend the way people justify locking a man away for life for having a voice, and apparently for his building..like many have been saying all along. 

Jim employed police to be there towards the end, why wasn't that good enough? The threat of people doing illegal things on that block goes away when police are standing 5 feet away.

blind

about 6 years ago

I was wrong about Chicago home prices in general.  I was thinking more of Lincoln Park and Wicker Park themselves, which according to this map (http://www.trulia.com/home_prices/Illinois/Chicago-heat_map/) indicates average prices at $279k and up.  Prices in the $100ks would indicate at least middle-class availability.  But I still don't think Chicago's economy is a very good parallel to Duluth's.

blind

about 6 years ago

(Prices in the $100ks in other neighborhoods, that is.)

Barrett Chase

about 6 years ago

I want to come back to say that I do agree with the sentiment that if the LPOE was located somewhere less visible, that there would be less outrage. That kind of angers me. People on this very site have come forward to say that they personally would be okay with it if it was located somewhere else. It's apparently okay for Carson to exploit people if he does it out of sight. 

If you were around here in the late 90s, just before the Tech Village was built, you'll remember the outrage that existed when the Wabasha bookstore was located at the corner of Lake & Superior. Move it one block up onto First Street and suddenly no one even knows that it exists.

emmadogs

about 6 years ago

Hi Barrett--to me, it's what you feel outraged about.  I first felt outraged when the Mayor, police officers, and other gov't officials were acting in an egregiously illegal manner, using tactics that violated our constitutional rights, and/or were obnoxiously indecent (handcuffing all the customers during a raid?  Detaining them?  Really?)

I then felt real outrage when surrounding business owners detailed the loss of income which they attributed to LPOE's antics, both of Carlson and of the customers.  It was anecdotal, sure, but seemed convincing to me.  My parents were small business owners; for that matter, so are you.  Keeping one local business from causing undue financial hardship to other local businesses, for no observable, legitimate reason, should prompt gov't officials to take action.

I frankly don't care where a business locates, within reasonable zoning parameters, so long as it's not causing undue problems.  Conversely, I do care if any citizen's actions start to cause undue hardship to its neighbors.  That's why my neighborhood, behind the erstwhile Woodland Middle School, is in a small uproar.  The increased drinking, beer bottles being thrown into neighbors' yards, garbage in the streets, etc, that we are seeing with increased college rentals, is causing lots and lots of police calls.  

To me, ultimately, the city needs to constitutionally regulate behavior that harms other citizens.  Now that is being done.

Am I 'okay' with Carlson or someone else selling this shit if they're not harming other businesses' economic activities?  Of course not.  But that's a separate issue that involves people hurting only themselves and their families.  It can't really be solved.  Substance abuse on a large scale basis really can't be solved (e.g. Prohibition, War on Drugs, et al equals 'lots of $ spent for a big, fat failure of policy).

So I concentrate on what can, at least obstensibly, be solved: our gov't, in a constitutional fashion, protecting local businesses and their ability to practice their business downtown.

p.s.  to other posters, don't equate this with 'you hate poor people if you want our downtown and neighborhoods to look nice and not have people publicly urinating, vomiting, etc).  That's really, uncleverly, simplistic.

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