‘Puter rarely defends government officials, particularly when they are bent on defending ill-conceived and burdensome regulations that ensnare kids and charities. So ‘Puter was a bit surprised to find himself on Montgomery County’s (MD) side in its decision to fine and shut down a kid’s lemonade stand.
The article is sketchy with the facts, partly due to the fact that it is written at the fourth grade level by folks educated to a fourth grade level (communications majors) and partly because hiding the facts makes a better story.
Here are the facts the article sets out:
1. Kids are running a neighborhood lemonade stand.
2. The stand is near Congressional Country Club, currently hosting the U.S. Open.
3. The county warned the kids not to open the stand, asked them to shutter the stand and fined them when they refused to do so. The county cites its regulations, as well as traffic safety, as reasons for so doing.
4. The stand’s proceeds were to go to charity, specifically to pediatric cancer treatment. Carrie Marriott, the mother of one or more of the juvenile concessionaires, thinks this is reason enough for the county to ignore its regulations.
5. Other neighbors run parking concessions (with county permits) on their lawns, raising tens of thousands of dollars.
6. Ms. Marriott (probably of the Marriott hotel family — they live in the area) thinks shutting down the lemonade stand is an attack on the American dream.
Here are some other salient facts the reporter chose to leave out.
1. The kids set up their stand at the entrance to their subdivision, stated to be somewhere on Persimmon Tree Road in Bethesda. Here’s a map of the area. As you can see, in relation to Congressional, there are only two good ways to access it: River Road on the northeast side and Persimmon Tree to the south and west. These are two lane, opposing traffic roads as they border Congressional.
The U.S. Open is one of four majors in golf. It attracts thousands and thousands of fans over its four days of the tournament and in the preceding practice rounds. As a youth, ‘Puter had to ride public transportation past Congressional (and Avenel) to get to and from school. From experience, ‘Puter can tell you that traffic is absolutely hellacious and dangerous when any PGA tournament as played there, much less a major. Any unnecessary distraction to drivers, many of whom are unfamiliar with the area, are dangerous for the drivers and the residents. GorT could add some flavor text here, as he’s still a resident of the Peoples Republic of Maryland, Montgomery County Soviet.
The county is correct in fearing a cute and sympathetic lemonade stand will exacerbate already bad traffic conditions in the neighborhood.
2. There is no comparison between legal and permitted lawn parking and running an unauthorized lemonade stand. Parking entails getting people off the roads so that they can walk to the course. A lemonade stand encourages people to stop in traffic, or pull to the side, compounding already bad traffic congestion.
And then there’s the whole question of that little “it’s not legal” thing.
Remember, communications majors, stating that because certain people are engaging in a legal (and county licensed) activity does not support your argument that the county should allow a sympathetic lawbreaker to go unpunished.
3. “It’s for the children!!1!! Children with CANCER!!!1!1!!eleventy!!!” is not an argument. It’s a cheap, cynical ploy to play on the heartstrings of people, and to make good television. Here’s Ms. Marriott’s argument: the ends justify the means. That’s it, nothing more or less.
How about this, Ms. Marriott. Would you be quite so sanguine if a group of neighborhood mothers got together and set up a stand selling hand jobs on the corner of your neighborhood street during the U.S. Open? Please assume that all the profits were going to help TEH CHILDRUNZ!1!! Of course not. (For the record, ‘Puter is not advocating for neighborhood co-ops of stay-at-home moms prostituting themselves for charity. Unless they’re hot.).
“But it’s not the same!”, you scream, tears welling in your eyes (because you know it is). You have advocated permitting people to engage in an illegal practice that endangers citizens because you believe it is for a good cause. It is exactly the same, except to societal acceptance, in ‘Puter’s counterexample.
4. If you are indeed one of the Marriotts, get out your checkbook and write your own frikkin’ check to the charity of your choice. Don’t drag your kids into illegal activity to support your pet project, then thumb your nose at the law when you’re called on it. That’s a great lesson to teach your kids.
In conclusion, nice job media. Presenting a story you know, or should know, to be much broader than you portray it in black and white. And good for Montgomery County for sticking to its guns in this one, limited instance.
‘Puter feels like a piece of his soul has died in having to defend government functionaries.
Always right, unless he isn’t, the infallible Ghettoputer F. X. Gormogons claims to be an in-law of the Volgi, although no one really believes this.
’Puter carefully follows economic and financial trends, legal affairs, and serves as the Gormogons’ financial and legal advisor. He successfully defended us against a lawsuit from a liquor distributor worth hundreds of thousands of dollars in unpaid deliveries of bootleg shandies.
The Geep has an IQ so high it is untestable and attempts to measure it have resulted in dangerously unstable results as well as injuries to researchers. Coincidentally, he publishes intelligence tests as a side gig.
His sarcasm is so highly developed it borders on the psychic, and he is often able to insult a person even before meeting them. ’Puter enjoys hunting small game with 000 slugs and punt guns, correcting homilies in real time at Mass, and undermining unions. ’Puter likes to wear a hockey mask and carry an axe into public campgrounds, where he bursts into people’s tents and screams. As you might expect, he has been shot several times but remains completely undeterred.
He assures us that his obsessive fawning over news stories involving women teachers sleeping with young students is not Freudian in any way, although he admits something similar once happened to him. Uniquely, ’Puter is unable to speak, read, or write Russian, but he is able to sing it fluently.
Geep joined the order in the mid-1980s. He arrived at the Castle door with dozens of steamer trunks and an inarticulate hissing creature of astonishingly low intelligence he calls “Sleestak.” Ghettoputer appears to make his wishes known to Sleestak, although no one is sure whether this is the result of complex sign language, expert body posture reading, or simply beating Sleestak with a rubber mallet.
‘Puter suggests the Czar suck it.