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Home / Articles / Views / In Case You Missed It /  They're not really lords
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Thursday, December 17,2009

They're not really lords

What is it with guys who own mobile home parks? From what we can tell, they all graduated Summa Cum Laude from the Academy for Arrogant Assholes.

First Lou Nuttall, the dude who owns Orchard Grove Mobile Home Park, put the property up for sale, hoping to rake in big bucks. His scheme threatened to leave Orchard Grove’s lowincome residents without homes and to destroy the special character of the land. The City Council rezoned his property to be mobile-home only. So he raised the rent — surely a punitive measure.

Then California businessman Harvey Miller had a fence put across a bike path, cutting off the only westfacing access to Vista Village Mobile Home Park, forcing residents and their children to take a longer, more dangerous route to bus stops, bike paths and schools. When the residents of Vista Village objected, he ignored them, responding only through hired help and demanding that his henchmen call the cops on residents who protested near their homes. Boulder City Council continues to work to protect residents’ access to parks and paths, at one point threatening to declare eminent domain on a portion of Vista Village.

Now, Nuttall is refusing to allow Boulder Housing Partners access to his property to study the conditions that residents of Orchard Grove face. But the city isn’t giving up. It plans to conduct its survey — from the air, if necessary. Hopefully, City Council will consider every measure available, including condemning the property, so that it can upgrade living conditions there and protect this truly affordable housing — a rare commodity in Boulder.

So what’s wrong with Nuttall and Miller? Why is it so hard for them to recognize the legitimate concerns of their paying tenants? Why can’t they be concerned property owners? What stops them from doing the right thing?

Perhaps they take the “lord” part of “landlord” too seriously. Or maybe they’re just greedy.

RIP, Bart’s CD Cellar

The announcement this week that Bart’s CD Cellar will close its doors in late January is an unfortunate sign of the times.

Until it was sold to a chain a few years ago, Bart’s — and Albums on the Hill — represented the last surviving independent record stores in Boulder. And there’s something wrong about a Boulder without a vibrant, independent record store scene.

Some of our fondest memories of this town are strolling down the Hill or Pearl Street on a free afternoon in the sun and popping into a record store to flip through vinyl albums. Then it became flipping through tapes, and finally CDs.

Now, it seems, people are resigned to “flipping” through the “shelves” of the iTunes Music Store.

Not quite the same. There’s something endearing and therapeutic about looking through the dollar bin for a hidden gem, finding a long-lost favorite in the used section, or discovering an obscure import single that couldn’t be found at one of the big-box chain stores. There’s some tactile gratification about unwrapping that new album from one of your favorite artists and reading the liner notes for the first time.

Thankfully, we still have Albums on the Hill. You just can’t find that experience in the sterile, commercial caricature of Best Buy or Barnes & Noble.

In those places you won’t find the same patchouli-scented hodgepodge environment of classic T-shirts, tour posters, free stickers and memorabilia. And you won’t find vinyl.

These stores are going the way of the dinosaur. It’s with a heavy heart that we bid farewell to Bart’s.

The moral of the story

The closure of Bart’s is a symptom of a larger trend, one of technology and mass production and chain stores, a trend in which we are continually seeing the consolidation of business — and the concentration of power among a decreasing number of major corporations.

Soon, we will be left with only two choices: Wal-Mart or Target.

This phenomenon has also extended to the media industry. A decreasing number of media corporations own all of the messages you receive from your TV, movies, newspapers, radio stations and mainstream websites. Dangerous? Only if you think a wide diversity of views and perspectives in a marketplace of ideas gives you the best chance to learn the truth.

Of course, you’ve always got the driveling idiots on the blogs to rely on.

Buck the trend. This holiday season, make a point of shopping local.

Oh, and that means independently owned, not chains that happen to have a store located in Boulder County.

Check out our I Love Local campaign at www.boulderweekly.com and make a pledge.

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