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Ask BWA: Bigger parks, banking thieves and U.N. manatees


Welcome to yet another stunning edition of Ask Boomer With Attitude, brought to you live, as always, from Charlotte, N.C., where no one knows how soon it will be, if ever, before we see our shiny new Heisman-winning quarterback play for the Panthers.

Dear Ask BWA: I don't get your complaints about the Charlotte Knights baseball park Uptown. I think it would be great. — Home Run Fan

Dear Homey: I think it would be great, too; in fact, you'd be hard-pressed to find someone who enjoys baseball more than me. It's just that, as we've written about for years, Charlotte has a serious lack of Uptown green space — less acreage per capita than nearly any other U.S. city of similar size — and the ballpark would take up a big chunk of space originally intended as part of a larger, voter-approved park. I pointed this out last week, and a self-designated rep of the Uptown suits wrote that I was whining. Wrong. What I'm doing is protesting the fact that voters' wishes (an 8-acre urban park) are being overridden by unelected business interests, i.e., Uptown suits, who gummed up the works with a multiple-party, profitable "deal" to take part of that park land and hand it over to the Knights for a new ballpark (and consequently wreck the plan voters had approved). This was done, of course, with the full cooperation of Uptown interests' sock puppets in local government. The real shame here, though, is that local media never bothered to point out the story of the shrinking public park. County Commission should stand on its own for a change, disregard the fond wishes and fantasies of the Uptownies, and do what's right for the public. Ditch the ballpark, and give us a real park!

Dear Ask BWA: What's this I hear about squatters taking over old houses? — Old Lady In A Shoe

Dear Old Lady: Not old homes, foreclosed homes — and squatters all over the U.S. are doing it. Some of them are even making up official-looking documents claiming possession of the homes. In Weddington, two guys surprised a real estate agent and a couple looking at a foreclosed $700K house. The two produced imaginative, albeit fake documents that claimed the home in the name of the Moorish Science Temple, which denies it has anything to do with the squatters. The obvious question is that if two squatters can face felony charges for claiming a house that didn't belong to them, when in the world will the heads of several U.S. banks be jailed for filing false affidavits and using shady practices while taking thousands of houses that didn't belong to them?

Dear Ask BWA: Why did Bank of America make the Atlantic magazine list of most hated companies in America? — Counting My Pennies

Dear Counting: Oh, I don't know. Maybe it wound up at No. 19 on the list for its excessively high overdraft charges, minuscule interest on savings, the company's recent history of foreclosure irregularities, the company's general "who cares about regular customers?" attitude, and overall arrogance? Those would be my guesses. Two other companies with strong Charlotte connections — US Airways and Time Warner Cable — came in at No. 5 and No. 3, respectively. It's pretty obvious, though, that Duke Energy (Motto: "There's a storm comin' — get out the candles, everybody!") isn't a national company, or they would have no doubt been on the list also.

Dear Ask BWA: I enjoyed the "Stupid Thing of the Week" bits you used to do in the Creative Loafing blog. What's the stupidest thing you've seen lately? — Joey Set-Up

Dear Joey: Hey, thanks for asking! There's never a shortage of contenders for "Stupid Thing," but if I have to choose, I'd say the award should go to the Citrus County, Florida Tea Party. When the feds recently proposed rules to protect manatees by restricting motorized boating in a wildlife refuge, Tea Party honcho Edna Mattos, age 63 — and an apparent biblical and U.S. history scholar — objected. The reason? "We cannot elevate nature above people. That's against the Bible and the Bill of Rights. ... God put humans before nature." Not only that, says Edna, but the manatee protection is also — get this — "a United Nations plot." You know, it's odd, but I seem to remember a time when people that nuts would be put away. Now they elect members of Congress.

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