Max and Barney on Thursday night
Barney: “Max. What’s wrong? You look depressed.”
Max: “I am depressed. I’m gonna miss a lot of my favorite things. No more vanilla ice cream bars covered with milk chocolate and almonds. No bamboo underwear. No yogurt with Gummi Bears. No more going to my favorite antique stores, used clothing shops or wine tasting joints.”
Barney: “Now what did you do to get yourself banned from all those places?”
Max: “No, not me, Barney. Grass Valley. They’re thinking about rejecting some nonprofits from the Thursday Night Marketplace (TNM). So, I ain’t gonna shop on Mill Street no more. I’ll miss it a lot.”
Barney: “It’s only a street fair. What’s to miss?”
Max: “Plenty. I like to argue politics. I go to the GOP and argue in favor of socialism. Then I go to the Demos and sing the praises of capitalism. If they ban both political parties, it would be bipartisan discrimination.”
Barney: “As long as they ban both, it’s only fair.”
Max: “But it’s not fair if they ban one side and not the other.”
Barney: “Give me an example.”
Max: “KVMR-FM is nonprofit. KNCO-AM is a business. If they ban the nonprofit, it’s unfair competition.”
Barney: “I see your point. Any other examples?”
Max: “The nonprofit citizens’ group CLAIM is …”
Barney:”CLAIM? What’s that stand for?”
Max: “Citizens Looking at Impacts of Mining. If they get banned, the Idaho Maryland Mine can go on selling shares of stock for a nickel each. Unfair.”
Barney: “Well, Max …”
Max: “Wait! I got more. How about the politicians who come here to shake hands, meet citizens and get elected? And charter schools enrolling new students? Public information from public schools? Junior college programs? Military recruiters? The Peace Lady? It just ain’t fair.”
Barney: “Are you done with your rant, Max?”
Max: “No. I’m just getting started. What if they ban nonprofit street musicians because they play for free? That’s censorship. And think about the nonprofit religions. No Catholics? No Protestants? No Buddhists? No Ananda? That’s a violation of religious freedom, free speech and freedom of assembly. Has Grass Valley ever heard of the Constitution of the United States?”
Barney: “Max? You’re wrong. No one is banned.”
Max: “I’m on a roll. Will they allow real estate developers to push new homes but not the nonprofit community opposition? Also, will there be a booth for Hospitality House to help the homeless? A booth for Hospice to help the dying? This makes Grass Valley look bad.”
Barney: “Max! Enough. No nonprofits are banned, yet. Merchants of the Downtown Association’s subcommittee take applications and decide in May to reject or accept. If you don’t believe me, call Julia Jordan at 530-272-8315 or go to: historicgrassvalley.com.”
Max: “I dunno. I guess I’m in the mood to fight for freedom and prevent injustice.”
Barney: “At the first Thursday Night Marketplace this year, go find the Peace Lady and sign up. Use your sense of justice, energy and insights to fight for World Peace. It’s a higher cause.”
Max: “What if they reject my favorite nonprofits? Should I still shop on Mill Street?”
Barney: “Where are you gonna shop if not on Mill Street? It’s second only to Nevada City.”
Max: “I’ll shop McKnight. They’ve got a lot of stores.”
Barney: “True, but not as charming as Mill Street. They don’t have any street fair out there and it’s still in Grass Valley.”
Max: “Oh, Barney. You’re right. What am I gonna do?”
Barney: “Get your nonprofit friends – all 400 groups around here – and lean on the elected Grass Valley City Council. They’ll keep an eye on this situation.”
Max: “Why would they do that? Some of us, including me, don’t even live or vote in Grass Valley.”
Barney: “Yeah, but you are all, collectively, a target population that they don’t want to lose.”
Max: “We are? Who are we, Barney?”
Barney: “People who use nonprofit services, which is everyone. They’re also known as consumers.”
Paul August lives in Nevada City.
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