At first blush, a downtown police substation seems like a slam dunk. But it's more of a George Tenet/Bush/Iraq weapons-of-mass-destruction slam dunk than a this-is-obviously-the-right-thing slam dunk.




Like the lie about the WMD, the substation is a way for the city's behind-the-scenes authorities to get a foot in the door of our civil liberties. Once that door is open, it doesn't matter what "good intentions" were abused to get there. As with Iraq, fear is the key to that door.




The Plaza and downtown are Ashland's Manhattan, and the Lithia Water drinking fountain (left conveniently broken for all to see, for how long now?) is our World Trade Center. See what the terrorists (Plaza rats) have wrought.




Tourism is our oil, and the Plaza rats are destabilizing the region. A downtown police occupation, er, substation, may fix the problem. Or it may not.




Is there a withdrawal strategy? Does Blackwater hire out police contractors to fill out our stretched-thin Ashland Police Department? Maybe Halliburton can get the fountain fixed.




We already have police regularly on the Plaza, we already have laws, we already have phones for those rare times when someone actually is in danger in downtown Ashland. The purpose of a police substation is not to ensure safety, but to ensure a false feeling of security in those made uncomfortable by others who don't fit with their idea of Ashland.




Also unsettling in an Iraq-ish sort of way are the shadowy forces behind the push for a substation. A group of unnamed business people and city officials getting together to push this down our throats on false pretexts. An anonymous building owner is working with the city to lease out some space for the substation. Sounds like a no-bid, small-time Halliburton deal. Or Big Oil hiring the U.S. to police its interests.




The best thing we can do in the face of this disaster is &

go shopping. But the Plaza rats are threatening the shoppers, so we need to get more police down there.




But police officials admit the station will need to be run by volunteers, and will not be open 24/7. So it's obviously not for safety. It is a permanent police settlement in downtown to be used when they &

or their corporate overlords &

want to flex their muscles.




A common theme in those regular folks arguing for the station runs something like this: "I'm a liberal, easy-going person and in the past I've never been bothered by the folks on the Plaza. But this year it seems like they're worse than ever."




Ask yourself: Is it that the Plaza rats changed, or is it you?