Wednesday, January 21, 2004

Jubilation for Murder

Nothing like a double-murder to make City Hall happy and profit-hungry merchants jubilant.

Per an Associated Press story yesterday, "Tourism officials (in San Mateo County, California) screamed with excitement Tuesday upon learning their often-overlooked bedroom town will host the Scott Peterson murder trial---after all, the droves of journalists, lawyers and curiosity-seekers should be an economic boom.

The high-profile case will generate logistical stresses, but merchants say the spotlight will stimulate a sleepy downtown in a city between San Francisco and Silicon Valley that normally gets little attention....The judge's ruling lands another bonanza of a case in a slow-paced and quiet downtown strip, lined with old thrift shops, a handful of newer restaurants and small, often vacant residential hotels.

Local business, including restaurants, hotels and car rental services, could see an influx of between $8 million and $16 million, said Anne LeClair, president of the San Mateo County convention and Visitors Bureau. 'We're ecstatic,' said LeClair. 'The economic impact is tremendous.'

'I'm stoked,' said Simon Koetke, assistant manager of Milagros Restaurant, a few blocks from the courthouse.

The army of visitors will surely benefit Bob Bryant, owner of Bob's Courthouse Restaurant, two blocks from the Hall of Justice and a frequent stop for lawyers. 'The reporters will stay for a while---it'll be like family after a week or so, I'm sure' Bryant said."

I wonder if these greedy merchants have thought of donating part of their profits from this lotto-like windfall to an actual family, that of Laci and Conner Peterson, to defray their significant costs, and to show respect for their loss.

On second thought, I don't wonder. We all know the sad answer.

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