Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Downward Spiral

This won't mean much to people outside of Milwaukee, but two small independant theaters that show low-budget, vintage, internatal, and independant movies are closing, further reducing movie watching to the bland monotony of suburban cinderblock multiplexes full of bored teenagers. I include it to show that although we think about these problems on a societal level, they are seen as small, local isolated incidents that build over time, until you're left with just a shell of the culture you once had.

The Rosebud and Times theaters are closing the first week of March, according to owner David Glazer.

Glazer has owned the Times, 5906 W. Vliet St., since January 2007. He has owned the Rosebud, 6823 W. North Ave., since October 2007.

Glazer said in a news release that, like investors who purchased property five to six years ago, he bought the properties when the market was high.

"Property values have fallen considerably in the last few years," Glazer said." The lending environment today makes it very difficult to renew or refinance commercial loans."

Glazer said he was facing a balloon payment from the lender, Anchor Bank. And despite negotiations to renew or refinance his loan, Glazer said he was unable to do so.

The foreclosure, he said, is connected to a cross-collateralization with some of his other properties.

"I feel badly about this and we'll miss the camaraderie and the interaction with our customers," he said in an interview. "Our customers were loyal to us, and our staff was great."

The Times Cinema opened in June 1935 in a former automobile repair building. The Rosebud Cinema was originally opened as the Tosa Theater in October 1931.

The Times, located in Milwaukee, specialized in classic and second-run films, with a cult movie thrown in once in a while. The Rosebud, with its sofa-viewing motif, offered first-run movies.
I'm sure things like this are being repeated in a million different ways in a million different communities across the nation. Slowly but surely you're left with a city full of dark storefronts, empty buildings, vacant houses, and parking lots overgrown with weeds.

In a little happier local story: Training helped Milwaukee County sheriff's deputy talk man off bridge. I'm glad we're still a compassionate enough society to try and prevent things like this, but given the nature of the average JSOnline commenter (suburban white males), I'm sure they would prefer that the useless eaters would just kill themselves off already so they can have their taxes lowered. Exactly as you would expect, suicide attempts have increased over the past few years:

"It's our impression that with the economic downturn, people are stressed more than ever before. They're losing their houses, losing their homes. They react in ways they never thought they'd react," said Brenda Wesley, director of education and outreach with the National Alliance on Mental Illness of greater Milwaukee, which helps develop the curriculum to train officers. "A lot of it has to do with depression. People just don't know how to handle that stress."

She encouraged people to listen patiently to friends and loved ones.

The Milwaukee County Sheriff's Office experienced an increase in calls for service for people with suicidal tendencies from 2008 to 2010. The number of calls spiked 78% from 18 in 2007 to 32 in 2008. Calls decreased from 42 in 2010 to 24 in 2011.

Many subjects are mental health patients who may have stopped taking their medication because they thought they were doing better or couldn't afford their medication and then get suicidal, Schmitt said. He often encounters the same individuals repeatedly.

Between 2001 and 2010, 16 people killed themselves by jumping off the bridge. Two others were talked out of jumping.
As Ran Prieur commented, this is what collapse looks like: things just getting a little bit worse every year, until it's considered "the new normal" before another step down the ladder.

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