Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Let them have their lights

Bad enough businesses have a hard time just putting a sign out letting the public know where their stores are hiding. Now Darryl Enriquez has stirred up trouble regarding some Christmas lights in a few city trees.

...Andy Ruggeri, the lead guy in renovating the Clarke Hotel and Black Trumpet restaurant, has strung lights onto four city trees at the Five Points. It's the main view of Black Trumpet patrons.

The lights were on during Sunday's Christmas parade.

I imagine the lights provide nice exterior scenery for well-heeled customers who otherwise would gaze out of the restaurant's spacious windows to see an empty storefront on their right, the seldom open Miss Kim's and a cell phone store to the left that's beome kind of a hang out for kids.

Ruggeri, contacted by phone, said he installed the lights because he thought they were pretty. He hopes others in downtown would do it, too.

Ruggeri said he was aware of Liska's policy. "I guess we'll see if anything happens," Ruggeri said.

Pete Traczek, the city's interim forester, said today that he was never told about plans to install the lights and was dismayed that it had occurred. He said lights damage trees, which is why they are not allowed. The city, he said, is now in the uncomfortable position of responding in some fashion.

Okay, why is the city in an uncomfortable position? It shouldn't matter who the affected party is. Either enforce the lights rule or don't, and don't worry about who Ruggeri has on his speed dial.

I'd rather they did not enforce the rule and let every merchant do it. It's a stupid "Bah Humbug" policy. A few lights in a few trees aren't going to cause nearly the damage the snow plows will. Just make the store owners responsible for the trees if anything happens. If it's done right, maybe a few kids will drag their parents downtown to see the pretty lights.