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By The Staff

Mr. Biggs is not family friendly

Editor’s note: The following letter was originally submitted to the Jefferson County Liquor Licensing Authority.

I am writing to express my concern about the presence of the Mr. Biggs establishment in my neighborhood.

A few years ago, my husband and I took our then 3-year-old there for an afternoon of fun. I believe the business was “Fat City” then. We had a nice time and felt safe and comfortable there.

This past December, my now 5-year-old daughter was invited to a birthday party at this establishment. Parents were to drop their children off at the party at 2:30 p.m. and return at 5 p.m. to pick them up. Because of my past experience there, I was not hesitant about her attendance at the party. However, from the moment I walked into the building, I could tell that the atmosphere had dramatically changed.

First, in order to get to the area that the birthday party was going to be, we had to walk by a full-blown bar serving beer, mixed drinks and the like. There were several individuals in that area that appeared to be under various degrees of the effects of alcohol.

Next, en route to the “birthday party area,” we were exposed to profanity twice. The words spoken were not ones that my daughter had heard, and I did not at all appreciate her being exposed to such vile language.

I hoped that once we were in the area where the party was going to be that it would be safe and appropriate for children. However, once in the designated area, I was surprised to find that it was really just a section of a large room with some tables and chairs set up. It was not a separate room, and there was nothing to prevent children from leaving the area and going to other parts of the establishment. The atmosphere was loud, dark and negative. Because I feared for the safety of my daughter, I stayed at the party with her, and we stayed only for a short time.

Mr. Biggs is not a family-friendly business. If it is going to serve alcohol and provide an environment for adult entertainment, then it should not market itself for children or teens. It cannot be all things to all people.

Furthermore, I feel very strongly that this business and its owners/manager have a blatant disregard for community and civil responsibility. This is not the sort of presence that I want in my neighborhood.

Michelle Ballard

South Jefferson County

The drumbeat of the conservative right


As the debate on health care reform rages in Washington, one can hear the furious drumbeat of the conservative right. The loud subliminal message carried by this tribal beating is that “government is bad, government can’t be trusted, and government is to be feared.” I think this message performs a terrible disservice to our country. Our founding fathers designed a government “by the people, of the people, and for the people,” and by extension if this government has all the negative attributes listed above, it is simply a reflection of us.

Our dysfunctional health care system is in crisis. Even my congressional representative, Mike Coffman, in a recent letter to the editor described health care in this country as a “mess.” Yet, like all those on the conservative right, he offers only criticism of the current reform efforts and no meaningful solutions. Indeed, if the government is portrayed as “bad,” then solutions cannot be expected to arise from this body. Solutions are expected to come out of the chaos of the free-market system, and we have seen how well the free market has looked out for our communal interests as we struggle to emerge from this financial crisis. The free market is neither good nor bad but simply works to achieve a goal of maximum profits. By this standard, the health care industry is doing very well now, accounting for 16 percent of the GNP — and this number is steadily rising.

If the conservative right is successful in derailing health care reform, then we will default to the status quo. Most nonpartisan assessments agree that the current system is unsustainable and will collapse within the next few years. We now have the opportunity to begin creating a health care system that truly cares for all of us and protects us from individual and collective bankruptcy. I still hope that my representative and senators will strive for the collective good of our diverse country and work to achieve productive compromises and not just jockey for political advantage.

Mark K. Matthews, MD