Even Woke Starbucks determines LA and Seattle are unsafe

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Last week, Starbucks announced the closure of sixteen stores it deemed “unsafe to continue operating”. Twelve of the sixteen stores are in Seattle and Los Angeles, two of America’s most progressive cities. The other closings also occurred in progressive cities: Portland, Philadelphia and Washington DC. There were no shutdowns in Texas or Florida.

Perhaps no company is more progressive or woke than Starbucks. They publicly pledge to make “Starbucks the most inclusive company in the world.” It was founded in Seattle and is run by elitist billionaire Howard Schultz. He gave generously to progressive causes and candidates and even flirted with his own run for president. They do absurd things like closing 8,000 stores for four hours to provide “unconscious bias training” to their young “partners” (i.e. employees). They allow non-customers to use their restrooms to signal their support for the poor and homeless. They are committed “to maintaining a culture where inclusion, diversity, equity and accessibility are valued and respected”.

In a statement to their “partners” released at the time of the announced closures, Starbucks noted “the challenges facing our communities.” The first was “personal security”. The second was “racism”. To address these concerns, the company announced policies and practices designed to make its partners feel safer. In addition to practical things like “active shooter” training, it included things like mental health support and monetary assistance for “college, fertility treatments, adoption, access to abortions or gender affirmation procedures, [and] DACA fees.

Yet even awake Starbucks can’t deny the reality. They are closing stores in cities run by politicians implementing the very policies they support. Six are in Los Angeles, where District Attorney George Gascon practiced the fairness approach to crime fighting. Its main goal is to “make our communities safer and fairer”. Simply put, “more equitable” means finding ways to prosecute fewer minorities. On the left, these minority groups are the real victims of so-called “systemic racism”.

The Los Angeles City Council, made up of 14 progressives among its 15 members, voted to defund the police, which today has 500 fewer officers than in 2019. For these city leaders, the criminal is the victim and the police are the culprit. .

The city has also decided to stop enforcing its no-camping laws. This has made it a sanctuary city for those who wish to sleep on the city’s sidewalks, in its parks and on its beaches. The mentally ill and drug addicts live on the streets all over town, and usually near a Starbucks store, thanks to its policy of allowing them to use their bathrooms.

Most interestingly, the store closings are not in one part of Los Angeles but across the city, including some of its most iconic locations. One is at the famous intersection of Hollywood and Vine. This is the heart of Hollywood, just steps from the famous Capitol Records building and the Pantages Theatre. Another is in the heart of West Hollywood on Santa Monica Boulevard, known for its vibrant nightlife. Another is in downtown Los Angeles at a DoubleTree hotel. Another is right next to the famous Santa Monica Pier. Another is in the Little Tokyo district.

While the “partners” were instructed by Starbucks not to tell reporters about the closures, one told the Los Angeles Times: “There’s [are] countless times I’ve been yelled at, cursed at, thrown at and harassed. During a meeting, a person entered the store asking for food and coffee. Staff told him to get in the queue, but he refused and “kept screaming,” the partner reported. “He finally just asked for hot water and when we did – as we give them away for free – he threw the cup of hot water at the partner who was at [the] Register.” The employee suffered burns to his chest and hands, according to the partner.

A security guard at the Little Tokyo building told the LA Times that he had to kick people out of the cafe almost daily. He said he recently had to be evacuated because a man outside had a gun. The LA Times also reported that the Hollywood and Vine site had received 101 calls for service since January, including 14 for assault.

In addition to store closings, Starbucks has canceled its open bathroom policy. It is now up to each store to decide whether to restrict the bathroom to customers only.

It’s refreshing to see a company, despite its awakened leadership, adjust its practices in response to real-world conditions. Now if we could get the political leaders of these dangerous cities to do the same.

The opinions expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of The Epoch Times.

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James Breslo is a civil rights lawyer and host of “The James Breslo Showon TNT Radio and theHidden truth show“Podcast on TuneIn. He was previously a partner at the international law firm Seyfarth Shaw and chairman of a public company. He has appeared several times as a legal pundit on Fox News and CNN.