JASON RANTZ

Rantz: 7-year-old’s lemonade stand shuttered while nearby encampment remains

Aug 1, 2021, 7:43 PM | Updated: Aug 2, 2021, 12:55 pm

Park rangers shut down a 7-year-old girl's lemonade stand in Everett. But just about two blocks away, the city refuses to clear several homeless encampments with residents harassing the neighborhood. (Photo: Lucie LaMaine) Park rangers shut down a 7-year-old girl's lemonade stand in Everett. But just about two blocks away, the city refuses to clear several homeless encampments with residents harassing the neighborhood. (Photo: Lucie LaMaine) Elsa donates lemonade stand profits to Everett Gospel Mission. (Photo: Lucie LaMaine) Elsa donates lemonade stand profits to Everett Gospel Mission. (Photo: Lucie LaMaine)

A park ranger shut down a 7-year-old girl’s lemonade stand in Everett, yet the city refuses to clear the nearby homeless encampments that neighbors have been complaining about.

It’s become a tradition for Elsa LaMaine to operate her lemonade stand at Rucker Hill Park. She even gives a portion of her profits to local nonprofit Everett Gospel Mission. So it was disappointing when a ranger came by to shutter her business and stomp on her entrepreneurial spirit.

As disappointing? The neighborhood’s homeless problems have gone unaddressed. In fact, after the lemonade stand was shut down, a completely naked homeless man walked by.

Rantz: Homeless bazaar selling ‘stolen’ clothes, booze takes over prime Seattle location

Lemonade stands? Nope

Elsa was with her grandmother last Saturday selling lemonade for $1 a cup, along with locally picked flowers. She sets up under a large tree for the shade. She’s been doing this since she was 4-years-old, with high-profile customers like Mayor Cassie Franklin. She had to take last year off due to COVID.

But it became a slow day on July 24 after an initial rush. Elsa wasn’t getting the customers she had hoped for. But that suddenly changed — at least she had hoped.

When a car finally pulled up, Elsa was ecstatic. But the would-be customer never left the car. Elsa’s grandmother Cherie wondered what was going on and approached the car. Then, it all became clear.

The driver pulled out, and a park ranger arrived. Cherie suspects the driver was actually an ornery neighbor complaining about the lemonade stand.

Cherie tells the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH that the ranger told them they’re not allowed to sell products on park property.

They set it up at Rucker Hill Park for better visibility and safety. With so much more foot traffic, customers wouldn’t have to cross the street for their beverage. But now, a ranger told them to shut it down.

Homeless encampments? Sure

When news that a park ranger shut down the lemonade stand spread around the neighborhood, some complained.

Not only was an adorable kid’s stand shut down, but the city has done virtually nothing to address the many nearby encampments where drug use is rampant. There’s an encampment just two blocks away that has all but terrorized neighbors. And there are many more in the nearby ravines.

As if it was to make the point, a homeless man wandered by while Elsa and her grandmother did an interview with KING 5 about the debacle. He was completely naked.

Cherie called the police to report the man. She tells the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH that the ranger shutting down the lemonade stand arrived faster than the officer addressing the naked homeless man. By the time an officer arrived, the naked man was gone.

What message does this send? That you don’t matter

This story isn’t just about crushing a young girl’s spirit. It’s about sending the message that the concerns of a neighborhood just don’t matter.

Whether it’s Everett and Seattle, or Bellingham and Tacoma, taxpayer concerns are ignored. Instead, cities let homelessness flourish. Many of the times, these aren’t people just down on their luck. They’re addicts or mentally ill. And rather than help them, city officials turn a blind eye.

It’s too hard to help the homeless. It’s easier to turn the crisis into an ideologically driven demand for subsidized housing paid for with federal tax dollars. That won’t actually solve the problem or address the underlying reasons why someone is homeless. But it meets the demands of partisans.

Or perhaps the problem is ignored so progressives can pretend to fight for a cause heroically. It gives them some meaning as they live a guilt-ridden life of privilege.

Whatever the reason they ignore the homelessness crisis, officials sure are clear about the concerns they prioritize. It’s not yours, and they’re not afraid to show it — even if it means disappointing a 7-year-old girl.

Did you like this opinion piece? Then listen to the Jason Rantz Show weekday afternoons from 3-6 p.m. on KTTH 770 AM (or HD Radio 97.3 FM HD-Channel 3). Subscribe to the podcast here. Follow @JasonRantz  on  Twitter,  Instagram, and Parler, and like me on Facebook

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Rantz: 7-year-old’s lemonade stand shuttered while nearby encampment remains