A little 7-year-old girl in Everett, Washington, recently got a lesson in civics that will probably leave her more confused than educated about how government works—or doesn’t work.
Elsa LaMaine, a young entrepreneur, sells lemonade to people running, walking, or otherwise enjoying themselves in the hot sun at Rucker Hill Park. She donates a portion of her profits to the Everett Gospel Mission.
Elsa told King 5 News she sells drinks, treats, and flowers from her grandmother’s garden. But today was different. It appears a neighbor, dubbed by Elsa as a “wicked witch,” called the park rangers to complain about Elsa’s criminal activity.
Describing speaking with the ranger, Elsa said, “It was like, are you gonna shut it down?” Cherie LaMaine, Elsa’s grandmother, said the ranger seemed “really chagrinned.” She added, “He was very nice about it. He even took a picture with us, but he told her she had to move immediately.” Which she did.
This would seem a simple issue of a city employee reluctantly enforcing a city ordinance because the law applies equally to everyone. Well, that’s not clear. While the city saw fit to enforce a law restricting the selling of products in the park, the city has not enforced laws prohibiting camping.
Near where Elsa was selling her lemonade, there is an illegal “homeless” camp which the city has taken no action to clear despite numerous complaints from residents. Every single person camping in the park is breaking the law, but the city refuses to enforce the law against those adults.
KING 5 News said, “Neighbors reported calling the police several times over the encampment at Rucker Hill Park with few results.”
As if on cue, while the interview was in progress, a totally naked man from the encampment walked past. The police responded, but the result of any contact with the man isn’t known. Reportedly, “The man was later spotted at a homeless camp a few blocks away.
KING 5 News said they contacted the city for comments about shutting down the lemonade stand and the disposition of the naked man. The city said they had no one available to provide a comment.
According to KTTH 770 AM radio talk show host Jason Rantz, “A park ranger shut down a 7-year-old girl’s lemonade stand… yet the city refuses to clear a nearby homeless encampment that neighbors have been complaining about.”
Rantz reported Elsa has been selling in the park since she was four years old. One of her high-profile customers was even Everett Mayor Cassie Franklin. Think this adds to the little girl’s confusion? How could she not have taken that as tacit approval of her activities.
Cherie, who called 911 to report the naked man, pointed out the ranger showed up faster for the complaint about her granddaughter than the police did for the naked man.
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