May 17, 2009

A terrible Tuesday night dilemma: WC’s final Neiman Marcus vote—or, yes, finals week showdown on American Idol

I understand that there are some very dedicated, civic-minded Walnut Creekans who would be horrified that I would even question where I should be Tuesday night. I should of course be in Walnut Creek’s City Council chambers. I should be listening to what will probably be a final debate and vote on whether we should welcome construction of a new Neiman Marcus department store in downtown.

It's the great civic controversy of our times. Or at least of the past several months.

On the other hand, America will be crowning its new American Idol this week, and the two finalists will be performing tonight.

I know, I know. How trivial, how superficial of me.

But here's the thing:

No, I do not live and die by whether I see Adam Lambert or Kris Allen in their final showdown. I could always watch that later online. And, I'm not a die hard fan of the show--honestly!

My son and I started watching last year (It was his idea!), and we did get caught up in wanting David Cook to win Season 7. Sure, a lot of the show is silly (and that's part of the fun), though you still get those rare moments of truly stirring entertainment, and maybe you'll see someone get started on a successful recording career.

Ultimately, American Idol has become another chance way for my son and I to enjoy some mother/son pop culture bonding time. He's inherited some of my pop culture vulture ways.

Also, my other excuse is that I must go out for another work-related event later in the week, and I try to limit my weeknights out to once a week. Also, I usually can't stay up past 9:30 p.m. because I wake up so damned early. And I heard these Neiman Marcus discussions have gone on past my bedtime. Past 9:30 p.m., I usually turn into a pumpkin. Yes, I lead such an exciting life.

Of course, I could finish watching the show at 9 p.m., race down to City Hall and see if the Neiman Marcus debate is still going on. Or, yes, switch the station to local cable access.

Of course, given the behavior of many of the players involved--the sneaky financing schemes of the project's opponents, city leaders' initial all-to-easy embrace of Macerich's flawed initial proposal, with that wacky weekend valet parking scheme--the debate could wind up as entertaining as a Simon Cowell-Kara DioGuardi-Paula Abdul cat fight.

Once again, the city’s planners have endorsed the new scaled down proposal, so did the Contra Costa Times, with some reservations about the less-than-perfect parking solutions. Meanwhile, a new pro-Neiman Marcus group has emerged, which calls itself Yes for Walnut Creek. They say:

"Your friends and neighbors have come together to protect what's best about Walnut Creek and defend our community from big out-of-state money -- the owners of Sun Valley Mall -- who want to harm our small downtown merchants and Broadway Plaza stores. This will deplete the revenues we rely on to sustain our police, roads, parks, open spaces, the arts and other vital community services."

But some readers of this blog have voiced some notable concerns about the project. One is Sol Henik, a Walnut Creek City Council candidate in 2006 and 2008. He said in a letter to city leaders, which he shared with Crazy in Suburbia, that Neiman Marcus could be a nice addition to the city’s retail scene. At the same time, he wondered about the parking, as well as the long-term financial stability of both Macerich and Neiman Marcus.

It gets down to what my son wants, and this morning he said he's pretty excited about us watching American Idol together. So, there you go. And we'll see how awake I am after the Lambert/Allen showdown is over.


The Professor said...

Yeah, no one cares! Lakers game, American Idol, Dancing with the Stars, Giants, A's... Neiman Marcus? Ha! And I'm sure that Gary Skrel was paying more attention to the Chicago vs Detroit hockey game than to whatever the people of Walnut Creek had to say!

Anonymous said...

Ching Chong Bing Bong!

Arl your stores are berong to us.

Anonymous said...

Don't we always wonder about parking?