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Serving the UMN community since 1900

The Minnesota Daily

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“The Watchers” is a film adaptation of the 2022 book of the same name by A.M. Shine.
Review: “The Watchers”
Published June 13, 2024

Hard Times deserves respect, cooperation from City Council

The Hard Times Cafe was found innocent of drug trafficking, a charge that has since troubled the cafe — and threatened its existence. The business, which elicited an investigation when applying for a 24-hour license, seems perpetually under watch by the city. With the City Council now enforcing unfair regulations, effectively forcing the cafe out of business, one is left with the suspicion that the city has been anxiously awaiting any excuse to close down the cafe.
The council’s actions exhibit unnecessary aggression. City officials insist that the cafe should not operate without adhering to a strict contract. Doing so, however, would drain the business of revenue. Surprisingly, the city did not negotiate the terms of the contract despite the cafe’s positive changes and efforts to regulate itself. Rather, the specific terms, which the council endorses without compromise, would force the cafe to close. For example, the security measures recommended by the cafe — installing mirrors and providing their own security guard — were ignored by the council. Instead, city officials insisted that Hard Times close at 2 a.m. and staff a licensed guard — measures too costly for the 24-hour cafe to implement. Interestingly, the city considers the alleged “drug problem” to be a result of the cafe’s refusal to sign the strict contract. City officials seem determined to close down the cafe one way or another.
While the drug charges against specific employees of the cafe are indisputable, the business itself has been cleared of drug- trafficking charges. Nevertheless, council members deem it necessary to close the cafe. Unfortunately, when the city is so determined to close down the cooperatively managed business, one can expect officials to dismiss intelligent protests as mere liberal dribble. However, anyone who understands the council’s injustice should voice their support for the Hard Times Cafe.

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