Shajan Never Voted in City Elections

Shajan Kuriakose, the carpetbagger who wants to be alderman, has never voted in an aldermanic election in the City of Chicago. NEVER. Not even ONCE.

This information came to light thanks to Zehra Quadri’s challenge to his residency. Voting records show that the man who has been busily registering residents to vote for HIM has never bothered to vote for anybody else who ran for alderman.

The man is shameless:

First, he established residency in February 2014, which is different from actually living in the ward.

Next,  he files a notice of intent to run for alderman.

Then he begins a charm offensive designed to overcome the hard evidence that he lives downtown and not in the 50th Ward. The Chicago Board of Election Commissioners, ignoring its own rules, allowed him to remain on the ballot. Zehra Quadri appealed that decision to the Circuit Court, which accepted Shajan’s attorney’s statement that Shajan had voted in another ward last March just because he wanted to do his duty and vote. The judge ruled in his favor based on his alleged intent, not his provable actions.

He never voted in a City election before, he never voted for alderman before, but last March his right to vote became so compelling that he just HAD to do it. In another ward.

Zehra Quadri now has appealed that decision to the Appellate Court. There will be no decision before Election Day. The stench of political influence is everywhere in this election challenge.

The court appeals made the records submitted in the Board challenge publicly available. They were obtained using a FOIA request.

Read the records carefully.

They reveal a man who is willing to lie–and lie brazenly–just to get elected.

His claims of having grown up in the 50th Ward are lies. His family left the neighborhood when he was four. Visiting relatives is not the same as living here.

His claim to have volunteered for Harold  Washington is a lie–Shajan was 4 years old when Washington ran the first time, and 8 years old when Washington ran for his second term.

His claim that he is a successful businessman is dubious. He’s also the man who forgot to get a lease for the apartment he allegedly lives in on North Albany Avenue.

His claim that he lives full-time in the neighborhood is a lie. His electric bill shows a total of $1.61 for six days of service. At that rate, his monthly bill is less than $10.

His claim that he moved into the ward in February 2014 is a lie. Records from the Board of Elections clearly show that he swore he lived in the 3rd Ward in March 2014. Was he lying then? Or is he lying now?

The proof can be found here.

Do we really want a hypocrite for alderman?

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Poaching Campaign Workers

It’s easy to tell that the campaign is in the final stretch. Shameless behavior rules the day.

A couple of days ago Shajan’s fiancée, a Latina, approached one of Zehra Quadri’s top Latina campaign volunteers and offered her money to switch sides.

How much does Zehra pay you?  What? You volunteer? No pay?  Work for us. We’ll pay you $15 per hour.

The offer was turned down. Zehra’s people are passionate about their support for her. Zehra’s people want to put an end to pay-to-play politics. You can’t buy Zehra’s people. They aren’t in it for the money.

Even if the money exceeds the minimum wage.

 

Racism, Sexism, Religion = One Nasty Endorsement

A local journalist has attacked Zehra Quadri in print and online for being Muslim, female, and having Arab supporters. It’s shameful. Avy Meyers and his paper, Jewish Chicago, are a disgrace. His is the only election coverage I have read that makes the candidate’s religious affiliation a criterion for office. His undisguised sexism is appalling. His racism is shocking from a journalist living in a multicultural ward.

He claims that people suspect Quadri is in league with Silverstein because she didn’t challenge Silverstein’s petitions. He does not say that his candidate, Shajan Kuriakose, did not challenge Silverstein’s petitions, either, although it’s true. Nor does he say that Silverstein had hundreds more signatures than required, that challenges are expensive, and that it’s just good political strategy to challenge rivals who barely met the signature requirements because they are the most vulnerable. He carries on about Quadri’s challenges (to Fuji Shioura, Peter Sifnotis, and Kuriakose) but does not note that Silverstein and Kuriakose challenged Peter Sifnotis through surrogates. Poor Zehra can’t even get credit for having the integrity to challenge in her own name. For shame. Good reporting means telling the whole truth.

Meyers claims that if Silverstein wins it will be mostly Zehra’s fault. He does not acknowledge that Kuriakose is the tool of commercial interests who planted him in the ward to work against Zehra and force a run-off. The ultimate goal is for these special interests to get full political and economic power over the ward through a Kuriakose victory OR to strengthen their bargaining position with Silverstein should she be the victor. While both sides attempt to sell Zehra short, they are sufficiently concerned that they needed a third entrant in the race, and Kuriakose moved into the ward last year to be that person.

Avy engages at one point in a self-serving tirade about his own integrity and not letting friendship affect his endorsements, then adds that he’s not suggesting Zehra was thinking that way. Well, no, Avy, she wasn’t. You attack her later in the piece for alleged disloyalty, but your own is wrapped in self-righteousness, not that it fools anybody.

He dismisses her organization as a “nice charity” and then slams the help Zehra provides, snidely remarking that she’s “well-intentioned,” although he uses almost the same word (“good-intentioned”) to praise Peter Sifnotis. He suggests that she is siphoning funds from what he denigrates as the “charity” she runs by questioning how she survives if she takes no salary. It is not an issue he raises about any of the male candidates: Peter is a full-time college student, and Kuriakose is not working during the campaign. Are you curious about how they pay their bills, Avy? Or just about how the Muslim woman does? He also makes an issue of Zehra’s campaign finances and claims she has the smallest campaign fund of any aldermanic candidate in the city. Peter Sifnotis, for one, has less, not that Avy mentions it. He also notes that she didn’t itemize incoming funds, as if he didn’t know that funds are reported when received, not when pledged. Sexism, anyone?

He denigrates the social service work she does by calling her organization a “charity” in the first place. Keeping Zam’s Hope running, managing its finances, supporting the most vulnerable in the community with after-school programs and housing help, creating and directing outreach programs, organizing fundraisers, seeking and obtaining grant monies, directing volunteers, creating a successful boutique and tailoring business, developing a commercial kitchen, finalizing the creation of a small restaurant–yeah, Avy, that is a “nice charity.”

He finds nothing to praise in her relations with other politicians. He attacks Quadri for having the grace to acknowledge the Silversteins as the ward’s elected officials by inviting them to her annual fundraiser. Would he prefer a display of bad manners? Contrary to what he says, she was the manager of the county grants program under Toni Preckwinkle. He’s well aware that being friendly with politicians does not guarantee an endorsement. Politicians give their endorsements to other politicians who give them money, and the money is with Silverstein, who has nearly $140,000 in reported contributions in her war chest plus a hotline to Rahm’s Chicago Forward slush fund. Zehra doesn’t have any political endorsements because she didn’t buy any. Avy knows that casual betrayals are the norm in politics, so the fact that her political friends DIDN’T endorse her may in fact be a plus. She won’t have any political debts to pay once elected.

His piece contains factual errors (Juliana is a restaurant, not a nightclub; her financial statements are up-to-date and on file) and omissions that result in half-truths and self-serving coverage. Note that Kuriakose took out a full-page paid ad in Avy’s paper, not that it influenced the endorsement.

He needs 27 paragraphs to attack Zehra Quadri, and more than 80 to attack Debra Silverstein. His endorsement of Kuriakose runs 6 short paragraphs. Even the endorsement is tainted. Continuing his race and religion-based rant, Meyers notes that Kurkiakose is a Christian and actually says: “Don’t let his being an Indian throw you, he’s an American through and through….” Personally, I’d be embarrassed and ashamed to accept an endorsement from somebody with that kind of mindset.

Avy Meyers’ paper is free. That’s about what it’s worth.

Click here for the aldermanic issue of Jewish Chicago.

Kuriakose Residency Upheld

A Circuit Court judge yesterday ruled that Shajan Kuriakose may remain on the ballot as a candidate for 50th ward alderman, ruling against Zehra Quadri’s challenge to his residency. The judge agreed with the spurious argument made by Kuriakose’s attorney that Kuriakose just wanted to vote, like any other good citizen. See, he couldn’t vote in the 50th because he wasn’t registered since he’d just moved in to run for alderman . Correcting his registration was just one of those little details that slipped his mind in the rush to get here to be anointed the ward’s leader.

The Chicago Board of Election Commissioners disregarded its own rules in favoring Kuriakose, and the judge went along. The rules that bind ordinary voters don’t have any bearing on what this carpetbagger and political opportunist does. He’s now got a court decision to prove it.

Remember this when you cast your ballot. If you want the highest ethical standards in your alderman, vote for someone else.

 

 

 

Kuriakose Residency in Courts

 

 

The question of where Shajan Kuriakose really lives is now in the Illinois courts. Zehra Quadri’s challenge to Kuriakose’s residency is in the latest stage of a long, strange journey that may warrant an even higher-level investigation into backroom deals and the extent of political shenanigans in Chicago’s electoral process.

As I understand it, there is very strong evidence that Kuriakose does not live in the 50th Ward, including his official voting record. He voted from another ward as recently as last March, after allegedly moving to the 50th Ward the previous January.  In signing his ballot application in March, Kuriakose swore that he lived at the address shown on the application, which is not in the 50th Ward.  His vote was cast more than 30 days after he allegedly moved to the Albany address where he claims he’s lived since January 2014. He did not cast a Grace Period Ballot or a Provisional Ballot. He has never voted in the 50th Ward.

After multiple hearings stretching over several weeks, Kuriakose was unable to produce a lease for the apartment he claims he rents in the 50th Ward.  Some of his neighbors on Albany say they’ve never seen him, and some of them say he didn’t move in until last September. They’ve signed affidavits. His electric bill on Albany is not only less than $5 per month, but also less than the electric bill at his downtown condo. Yet the Board certified Kuriakose as a resident of the 50th Ward.

This seemed powerful strange to me so I called the Chicago Board of Elections about a FOIA request to obtain records of its hearings on the residency challenge. I was told that the Board had no records, that the transcripts of the hearings were held by independent court reporters, and that I would have to contact them for transcripts. I did so, and learned that FOIA requests would not apply, that transcripts would have to be paid for, and that evidence against Kuriakose presented as exhibits during the hearings might not be included.

Think about that for a moment: The Board decides who is qualified to be on the ballot. The Board decides residency issues. The Board evaluates evidence in residency challenges. There is no free, accessible public record of these deliberations.

The Board overruled the evidence contained in its own records? The Board ignored affidavits from people living in the same building who say he doesn’t live there?  The Board overlooked his not having a lease?  I heard that his proof of residency was an affidavit from a friend who helped him move in. The Board accepted this?

Something’s very wrong with this picture.  Quadri is right to want it exposed.

 

Kuriakose Praises Himself for Service and Business Sense

In another current mailer from his campaign, Shajan Kuriakose describes his “commitment to serving our community,” and includes unspecified activities at his parish and volunteer work for Bombay Teen Challenge, a group headquartered in Mumbai that fights human trafficking. The U.S. office is in Georgia. It’s possible that Kuriakose raises funds for the group, but does that qualify as volunteer work? He doesn’t say what he does, and that’s the problem with a lot of his political advertising. He makes claims that aren’t supported by real activity. Just like the alderman he wants to replace.

The mailer also claims that he will be an “outspoken voice” who “will make sure the city invests in the 50th Ward.” That would be a refreshing change from the current alderman, who meekly does whatever Rahm tells her to do. But could Kuriakose deliver? He doesn’t say how he’d do it.

Kuriakose then touts himself as being the “only candidate running who has the experience we need to drive economic growth….” He praises himself for spending 15 years “…as a small business owner, real estate investor, and project management professional….” Unfortunately, his experience didn’t teach him how to get a signed copy of the lease for his rental apartment, or how to investigate the building where he was moving so he wouldn’t find himself living in a foreclosure. How effective would that make him in ward management? I can understand that he was in a hurry to move here since he’d been promised the pickings were ripe, but all his experience didn’t teach him to dot his i’s and cross his t’s? Not good.

I don’t like carpetbaggers or political opportunists. He may be capable of great things, but he needs to live in the ward for quite a bit longer before he rushes in to start improving it. Ten months’ residency–or less–doesn’t cut it.

Kuriakose on Education

Shajan Kuriakose recently mailed a campaign piece on education that is so bad it’s almost laughable.

On one side, a full-page photo of a shattered room with cracked, damaged, unpainted masonry walls, a filthy floor, and old furniture, the chair tossed on the floor, is apparently supposed to represent a classroom. The mess is ascribed to Ald. Silverstein’s vote against using more property tax money to fund schools. Or, as the screaming copy in bright yellow capital letters puts it, “..SILVERSTEIN VOTED AGAINST GIVING…” property tax money, thereby “…DENYING OUR CHILDREN the resources needed for a first class [sic] education.”

The reverse side assures us that “As a successful Business Professional, SHAJAN KNOWS…” the importance of education, and goes on to give him credit for having “…MADE IT A PRIORITY TO KEEP OUR SCHOOLS FUNDED, even looking for grants and other funding opportunities.”

Then it tells us that “SHAJAN WILL WORK WITH LOCAL BUSINESSES to offer our high school students internships and apprenticeships so they can learn the skills they will need to find quality jobs.”

Supporting education is great. So is proper punctuation and capitalization. But these are minor quibbles.

Where does he get off saying he’s “made it a priority to keep our schools funded?” What has he ever done that supports such a claim? What money has he raised for schools? When?  He wants credit for “even looking for grants and other funding….” Every school principal knows how to do this. Every LSC knows how to do this. Parents and teachers and school advocacy groups do this on a routine basis. And if he finds such funding, what will he do with it? Donate it to schools in the 50th Ward or in the ward where he really lives?

And in what neighborhood businesses will he find these “internships and apprenticeships”?  The convenience stores?  The groceries?  The discount stores?  The hybrid shops that sell phone cards, lottery tickets, and pots and pans?

Kuriakose is an admitted carpetbagger and political opportunist who concedes that he moved to the 50th Ward solely to become alderman. He’s never even voted in the 50th ward yet feels qualified to lead it. He’s funded largely by interests from outside the community and by Indo-American business leaders who want their own alderman. He is a practitioner of ethnic politics in a multicultural ward struggling to find a place in a global village. Such political cynicism doesn’t make for much of a role model for our children.

Even his campaign slogan has it backwards “Many Communities, One 50th Ward.” He couldn’t be more wrong.

We are many ethnicities, one community. Or at least that’s the goal. It’s hard to see how we’d achieve that with him as alderman.

My Top Priority as Alderman (so they say)

I’ve read the answers submitted in response to the Chicago Tribune questionnaires by the three candidates whose names will appear on the aldermanic ballot. (The two write-in candidates were not interviewed.) I’m especially interested in what each candidate believes to be the ward’s most pressing problems–the ones that demand immediate, focused attention.Not surprisingly, the incumbent offered nothing and the two challengers cited improved services to residents as the top priority.

Silverstein did not respond to the question. Instead, she discussed how she repaved streets, secured funding for the Devon street scape, for better lighting on residential streets, and for expanding the North Shore Channel Bike Trail. She reported on park improvements during her tenure. The fact that she did not discuss any priorities for a second term suggests that she has none, re-election itself being the only goal.

Quadri would focus on connecting with residents to improve their quality of life and with businesses to foster economic development.. She told the Tribune that among the chief complaints residents have made to her are the current alderman’s lack of communication, an absence of local job opportunities, increased crime, more taxes and fees, and poor schools. Quadri believes that demonstrating real leadership in the alderman’s office is a top priority..

Kuriakose agrees with Quadri that improving services to residents and businesses is the top priority for the next alderman. He would develop an economic plan, support our local police to ensure community safety, and create partnerships between businesses, nonprofits, and schools, including securing more funding for school operations.

No specifics were offered about how Quadri or Kuriakose would achieve their stated goals.

The ward clearly needs much more than Silverstein is offering. Her record over the past four years shows that she hasn’t delivered much of substance. An incumbent up for re-election who cannot claim any major ward improvements except a much-disliked street scape won’t impress with vague plans to repave streets and replace lights.

Quadri’s focus on quality-of-life issues carries no specific roadmap to improvement, but the mere fact that she’s aware that local jobs have dried up and residents are fed up with crime, taxes, user fees, and poor schools speaks well for her. Engaging with the business community is a very good idea, and working with businesses and residents to develop an economic plan for the entire ward is an idea that needs to be put into practice. It appears that Quadri would also be a sane voice in the City Council against more taxes and user fees and for improved school funding. She would find allies on the Council who think the same way.

Kuriakose is on the right track in seeing the need for an economic plan. He needs to clarify what he means by “partnerships” involving businesses and schools. The idea of involving school kids with nonprofits is one he shares with Quadri, and both are correct in realizing that social service should be part of the educational curriculum. He does not say how he would find more money for the schools, however, and like all other candidates is limited in this endeavor by the City’s ability to provide funds for schools while not raising taxes.

Please read the full Tribune interviews for yourself.

Debra Silverstein here

Zehra Quadri here

Shajan Kuriakose here

Little Tyber: A Fable (Part II)

For a long time all appears to go well in Little Tyber. But then something truly insidious begins creeping into the Tyberian marketplace. Let’s call it reality.

The Tyberian merchants have badly misjudged the demand for Tyberian goods. Not only is the Tyberian population in the community not large enough to support the blocks and blocks of Tyberian-only businesses, but the number of Tyberians in the entire country isn’t large enough, either. Tyberians are less than 1% of the country’s population, and most of them will never visit Little Tyber. Worse, even people from Tyber don’t come as often. When they travel, they want to visit other cultures. Being able to say “I bought it in Little Tyber” has lost its cachet.

The tourist market is also disappearing. Other People from other places are unwilling to come to Little Tyber to look at window displays of traditional Tyberian clothing that they will never buy or wear. Tourists don’t want to make the long trip from downtown just for Tyberian food that they can get back home or at a restaurant closer to their hotel. The floats at the Little Tyber parade have become tacky, too, and sometimes there’s nobody on them, so it’s not such a big draw, either.

Once tourists have seen the displays of traditional Tyberian clothing and eaten traditional Tyberian food, there’s nothing else for them to do except buy phone cards, bottled water, or lottery tickets at one of the many convenience stores in the multicultural shopping districts. Little Tyber does not have museums, art galleries, or theaters so there are no cultural offerings, even for residents.

The merchants ignored the power of Internet shopping as well. Tyberian goods can now be purchased online for less money. Nobody has to drive to Little Tyber for hard-to-find items because there are no hard-to-find items anymore. Tyberian shoppers come mainly to buy groceries at one of the many Tyberian supermarkets. In the winter, they often don’t come at all. They shop locally or on the Internet rather than spend hours driving through ice and snow to shop in Little Tyber in subzero weather.

But there’s a bigger problem. Tyberians themselves now want better schools, cleaner streets, better housing, and a place in more upscale communities, and they begin to move to the suburbs, where the merchants live. They don’t shop only at Tyberian stores anymore. The merchants are dismayed by the lack of gratitude shown by their own people. The merchants gave them a neighborhood of their own and now they’re leaving. Other People are moving in and this is not helping the Tyberian businesses.

The cumulative effect of ignoring 70% of the neighborhood—its immediate market—has caught up with the Tyberian merchants. They are losing money, and are uncomfortably aware that they’ve been losing money for years. The whole shopping district is in decline. Storefronts and commercial buildings are shabby, dirty, and unappealing. Ugly signage stands out more amid the many store vacancies. Tyberian stores begin to close.  The merchants, especially those with multiple businesses, decide to act in their own interests, as they usually do.

Refusing to change their business model and carry goods that would appeal to Other People, the merchants demand more community sacrifice to save their businesses. They need Tyberian shoppers from outside the community to support their stores, and they want nightlife and outdoor cafes and ATMs and parking lots. They want “community events” designed to attract tourists, like more Tyberian parades and 5K runs. So desperate are they that they are even willing to allow other ethnic groups in the community to hold their own parades in Little Tyber. The merchants begin to encroach on residential areas to build the things they want. They believe that no sacrifice is too great to demand from the Other People.

There’s yet another blow. The Powers That Be, who sat silently for years, fearful of being attacked as racist if they interfered with the merchants and their plan to repopulate the community to support Tyberian businesses, now act against the threat posed by Tyberian voters. Threatened political interests always have the last word, and soon the largest Tyberian precincts are redistricted out of Little Tyber. The Tyberian population drops to about 23% of the neighborhood. This is not good.

Their voting strength diluted, their businesses dying, their dreams of taking political and economic control of the community near collapse, the merchants settle on a solution. They secretly recruit a young Tyberian to move into the community to attract the Tyberian vote. His mission is to either dethrone the Powers That Be or deny a first-round victory while the merchants offer support to either the Powers That Be or the Powers That Might Be in exchange for retaining their influence and their stranglehold on the local economy.

The merchants’ candidate is new to both politics and the community and gives the game away early. He talks too much. He tells of his plans to bring more Tyberians and Tyberian businesses to the community. His statements are met with outrage by the Other People. The merchants’ candidate says he was misquoted and clams he will represent the Other People, too. He has enough campaign money to spend on marketing to make his new claims seem believable, and the merchants will give him as much money as he needs to make them sound like truth. There are rumors that he is also receiving help from the Powers That Be. No one knows for sure because dirty political deals are always coated with a thin veneer of respectability, and those in on the deal are always mistaken for respectable people.

Meanwhile, the economic slide in Little Tyber continues. Stores open and close every few months. The street is full of vacant storefronts, shuttered restaurants, and empty buildings. Almost every block is the same—convenience/grocery stores, cell phone/electronics shops—and there just aren’t enough customers, yet new convenience stores and phone stores continue to open. Strange hybrid businesses appear: Tyberian bread shops that sell cell phones and cigarettes, traditional Tyberian clothing stores that sell phone cards and pots and pans. Tyberian merchants with multiple businesses are heard discussing whether or not to leave the shopping district.

The Tyberian merchants blame everyone but themselves for what’s happening and believe that the only way to fix the mess they’ve made is to take political power and then continue to do business as usual. They think they have the votes to do it, or at least enough votes to play the spoiler and then collect their due from the Powers That Be.

Either way, the Tyberian merchants do not intend to change a thing. They will not accept that the laws of supply and demand apply to Tyberian businesses. They will not admit that the Tyberian business model has created too much supply for too little demand, and that their target market is so ethno-specific it cannot be expanded beyond the laws of nature. They’re going to try anyway. They don’t want to be just one part of a larger multicultural community. They want the whole thing for themselves.

 The Moral of Our Story

 Ethnocentrism in a multicultural world is a destructive force.

 The Tyberian merchants wanted to create a Tyberian market.

Creating a Tyberian market meant destroying a community of Other People.

The market is dying.

The community is damaged.

 Restoring the inclusive marketplace will restore the community.

Neither can thrive without the other.

 

 

 

Little Tyber: A Fable (Part 1)

In an unnamed city there exists a peaceful, prosperous, middle-class American community. It is proudly multicultural, but no group is so large that it can claim a majority. It isn’t Utopia, but for the most part everybody gets along with everybody else. The community’s main shopping district is a citywide attraction known for the wide variety of merchandise in its many shops and the cleanliness of its streets.

Merchants new to the community begin to open stores in that shopping district. Let’s call them Tyberians. The merchants make it clear that they want to sell only Tyberian goods and only to other Tyberians, and they begin to transform the shopping district into a Tyberian marketplace.

Soon there are dozens of restaurants, groceries, and electronics stores catering to the Tyberian market. Shops selling traditional Tyberian clothing appear on almost every block.  Eventually no stores other than Tyberian stores can be found where once there was a shopping district known for its retailing diversity. Bookstores, clothing boutiques, shops that sold gifts, candy, toys, shoes, and linens disappear, along with bookstores and coffee shops. The Tyberian merchants refuse to sell any of this merchandise, but they don’t mind if neighborhood residents (let’s call them Other People) buy fruits, vegetables, and other items at Tyberian grocery stores.

It is often said that the concentration of Tyberian restaurants and traditional Tyberian clothing stores rivals that of the Tyberian capital itself.

The shopping district is given an honorary name to mark the Tyberian presence. The Tyberian merchants assume control of the Chamber of Commerce and begin to market the shopping district as Little Tyber.  The entire community is soon known by this name. The Tyberians view this as a show of respect for Tyberian culture and know that political influence will soon follow.

As the merchants intended, Tyberians begin to move into the neighborhood in large numbers, drawn by the Tyberian-only shopping district, thus guaranteeing the merchants customers for Tyberian goods. The new residents are welcomed by their multicultural neighbors but, as time passes, the lack of shopping for Other People causes many longtime residents to move away. The merchants, pleased by this development, see an opportunity to completely transform the community into a Tyberian stronghold and dream of electing the first Tyberian to the City Council.

Many of the Other People become alarmed once it becomes clear that the merchants intend to change the community’s population to support their business model. It’s common, they say, for commercial change to follow population change. Further, they wonder about the economic wisdom of the Tyberian merchants. Does it make sense to ignore the immediate market of Other People in favor of attracting tourists and Tyberians from around the world?

The merchants respond to all criticism in two ways: First, they insist that they are not discriminating against the larger community just because they want something entirely their own. They aren’t stopping the larger community from buying traditional Tyberian clothing or eating at Tyberian restaurants. Second, they accuse the complainers of being racist and not liking Tyberian people. The critics are silenced.

The community’s families are stunned by the change to their shopping district. It’s not just that they can no longer buy the clothes they want because the merchants sell only traditional Tyberian clothing. It isn’t only that there are now very few places for the Other People to eat because restaurants that thrive in other neighborhoods don’t open in Little Tyber, fearing they will fail.  It isn’t even the loss of sales tax revenue that now goes to other communities where the Other People go to shop.

What bothers the Other People is that other shopping districts in the community are beginning to fail. These areas survived a national economic crisis but are now struggling against the overwhelming presence of Little Tyber on the main shopping street.  Little Tyber has a limited appeal and is heavily dependent on consumers from outside the community to support its businesses. But the emphasis on Little Tyber has driven out so many stores and restaurants that Other People no longer come to any other part of the community to shop or eat. The marketing campaign of the Tyberian merchants has killed business throughout the community.

 

The gift shops, toy stores, and shoe stores have been replaced by convenience stores and small groceries. Other People can buy lottery tickets and bottled water in almost every store on every block, but they can no longer buy shoes or winter coats. The Tyberian merchants, secure in the marketplace that they have created, don’t notice that quality shopping for Other People has disappeared. Neither does the Chamber of Commerce.

The community is mystified by its deliberate exclusion from a shopping district that once belonged to everybody. As more and more Tyberian stores open the community’s residents look to the Powers That Be for help. But no help comes. The Powers That Be remain silent, cowed by political correctness, well aware that they will be accused of racism and discrimination if they suggest that the Tyberians change their way of doing business. Some community members wonder why taking the shopping district away from everybody else in favor of Tyberians isn’t considered racist and discriminatory, but the Powers That Be do not intervene.

Soon the Tyberians begin shutting down the main shopping district for their annual Tyber Day parade, holding outdoor concerts in residential areas to celebrate. That the majority of the neighborhood is not Tyberian does not matter. The parade and the celebrations afterwards draw Tyberians from the entire region. Tourism is a major component of the merchants’ business plan and the annual Tyberian festival is necessary for business.

Because Tyberians are so ethnocentric, they don’t recognize that certain holidays are important to Other People in the community, and the shopping district gradually abandons decades of marking holidays with street decorations and merchandise sales specific to the season. On Tyber Day the street is festooned with Tyberian flags, but the Fourth of July is no longer observed, and there’s not an American flag to be seen on Memorial Day or Veterans Day.

The end-of-year holidays of Christmas, Hanukkah, and Diwali are ignored. Instead, the Tyberian merchants create something called Winter Season to replace them. Winter Season in this particular city has always meant ice and snow and cold, a time for heavy coats, boots, and thick gloves, but the Tyberian merchants don’t sell these items. The community misses recognition of its holidays, and the merchants don’t understand why Winter Season is not an acceptable replacement. They decide that the best solution is to hold a parade to celebrate the Tyberian winter holiday.

Some ethnicities among the Other People, shut out of the main shopping district, begin to open small businesses to the east and west. Both areas are isolated and desolate and only a few stores are making any money. Most of the businesses are convenience stores, beauty shops, and small groceries, each catering to a specific ethnic group. These areas are known as the multicultural shopping districts.

The Powers That Be watch but do nothing. Tyberians vote and Tyberian merchants donate money. There are no obvious political problems in Little Tyber, although the Powers That Be realize that the merchants will soon want political power of their own. The Other People grow increasingly restless but unorganized vocal opposition to the Tyberian way of doing business does not threaten either the merchants or the Powers That Be.  Sales tax revenues have hit another low, but the merchants believe that this is because the Other People have not yet sacrificed enough to make the Tyberian businesses successful. The merchants plan to change that.

The peaceful, prosperous, middle-class American community ceases to exist, destroyed by the ethnocentrism of the Tyberians, who are less than 30% of the community’s population.