Late-Night Woes -- Regarding the (lack of) late-night dining options on weekdays in Spokane, as mentioned in The Inlander's Buzz Bin on March 28: I, too, take my late nights seriously. One would think the dearth of late-night dining options available in downtown would prompt some savvy business persons to offer services to this yet under-served market, and one would think these same persons would experience phenomenal demand justifying the risks associated with such an endeavor.
I have launched a business seeming to serve this market, and I'm here to tell you that this market, though loyal, remains much too small to support this business plan five nights a week -- much less spurring others to offer similar services.
Almost two years down this road, should I stick with the thought that "If you build it, they will come," as I watch yet again as the theater across the street empties out and three patrons cross my threshold?
Have I experienced success with the late-night formula? Yes, you have all been in when there was not a seat to be found.
Does this happen with enough regularity to warrant funding the labor, food and personal effort?
Yes, on Friday and Saturday nights I am certainly the most astute restaurateur in town. No, on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday the costs have well outpaced the resulting income, so that weekends merely fund the previous nights' outlays.
To speak of my economic realities to you and our mutual public I find crass. But I find no other means to express my dismay with your mention of my decision to curb my hours as a neglect to perform a promised service. I have never advertised to stay open until midnight regardless of its effect upon my business' viability. I maintain the right to make operation decisions I feel fit to maintain this viability.
Am I, like you, dismayed that you are hard-pressed to find a decent meal in Spokane after 10 pm on any given day?
Yes, I am.
Should that dining option rest upon only two restaurants' performance in downtown on any given night?
Not if a vibrant nightlife were burgeoning this city, in such a way that operators were pushing each other out of the way to capture these dollars burning holes in those pockets.
The nightlife may be vibrant if people have places to go -- but several nearby restaurants are open as late as 11.
I intend to stay in business, so I must adapt to my market and hope that the services offered are not a "crapshoot" -- although they may not be available as much as my initial plan had intended, nor as much as my core audience had wanted.
Chef and owner of Quinn's
Republicans Spin, Too -- Mr. Melanson's screed about Reaganomics on the March 14th Inlander letters page prompts me to respond.
Just to assure you that the Democrats aren't the only spin-doctors operating, let's examine the oft-quoted Republicanism: because of Ronald Reagan's 1981-82 tax cuts "treasury receipts doubled during the Reagan years." It is time to put that myth to rest.
Between the end of 1982 and 1988, total federal receipts less Social Security taxes increased only 38 percent -- to $574.9 billion from $416.2 billion. Not even close to doubling.
With Social Security receipts included, total federal income increased to $909.3 billion from $617.7 billion -- a 47 percent increase over the six-year period.
Over that same time frame, "the cut-taxes-and-increase-defense-spending" Reaganites increased the national debt to $2.6 trillion from $1.14 trillion -- a whopping 128 percent increase. And that was not the worst of it. Interest on that debt increased 78 percent -- to $151.8 billion from $85.04 billion. (These figures are from the following government Web site: http://w3.access.gpo.gov/usbudget/fy2001/pdf/hist.pdf)
And now we have George W. Bush wanting to follow that same "cut-taxes-and-increase-defense-spending" Reagan road. Can America afford that again? These people continue to underestimate the intelligence of taxpayers. Or do they? It's your country, folks!
Too Much Trash -- Bob Herold hits the proverbial nails on the head in his piece "What Would Machiavelli Do?" (3/28/02). But, there was one nail that was missed: Filth.
In the mid '80s, there was a group of consultants from Japan that toured the country. They were looking to recommend cities for the siting of Japanese-owned manufacturing facilities.
They spent a couple of days in Spokane, but when their report came out a few months later, Spokane wasn't even mentioned. All the local pundits were left walking around, scratching their heads.
It wasn't until a couple of weeks ago, that this omission became obvious to me.
A long-time friend and business owner from Seattle, who is looking to move his business elsewhere, took me up on my invitation to visit Spokane for a couple of days. His business currently employs 95 people, but he foresees it growing to twice that in the next couple of years. He decided that as long as he was going to have to make a move anyway, why not get out of the Puget Sound "rat race." His words -- not mine.
We spent two days touring the area, where he got to see it all; the good, the bad and the downright ugly. There were some things he liked and some he didn't. His bottom line: "Spokane is a filthy hole" and he could not ask his employees to consider relocating here.
Starting with the drive down the Sunset Hill from the airport, trash and garbage were in plentiful supply. He found it way beyond belief that we still had unpaved streets. Potholes were to be expected, but unpaved streets?
This may explain why Spokane was not mentioned in the Japanese siting report. It also explains why we can't see the forest for the trees: too much trash.