Wednesday, September 21, 2016

The Working Catholic: Dick Allen by Bill Droel

Chicago White Sox hurler Chris Sale forgot that he is a member of a powerful labor union. Instead of following normal grievance procedure, he recently used a scissors to voice his objection to a management decision and destroyed team uniforms. Further, Sale by-passed his union steward, outfielder Adam Eaton, by whining that his manager should have addressed his grievance. He thus joins the list of rogue Sox.

It is not necessary to go all the way back to the 1919 Black Sox. Albert Belle, who played two seasons for the Sox in the late 1990s, exhibited a temper. So too on several occasions did Ozzie Guillen, a Sox infielder 1985-1997 and its manager 2004-2011.  Jimmy Piersall, afflicted with bipolar disorder, was not a Sox player but was fired as their announcer for his criticisms of management. Then there is Dick Allen, who in 1972 brought his controversial reputation to Chicago.

Unlike Jackie Robinson (1919-1972) and other pioneering black major leaguers, Allen “would not follow Branch Rickey’s (1881-1965) directive to turn the other cheek and accept subordinate racial status,” writes Mitchell Nathanson in God Almighty Hisself: the Life and Legacy of Dick Allen (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2016). That is, Allen was in the second generation of black players and was not into “protecting and promoting illusions.”

 Allen began his major league career in 1964 with the Philadelphia Phillies. He was used in unfamiliar positions, was injured on-and-off and was given a nickname (Richie) that was never before applied to him. In those days before a union and before free agency, Allen was annually a spring holdout for a higher salary. Allen also scuffled with other players, including a fight. He was late to the ballpark and violated curfew. To cope with his own shyness, Allen gave contradictory explanations to the press. In the opinion of some younger people, Allen was a cool guy. But many Philadelphia writers and fans considered him lackadaisical and the boors among them threw garbage, occasionally including a battery, at Allen. Although Allen “took no formal position” on race relations or urban discontent, Nathanson writes, he “became the symbolic face that unleashed white anxiety and discontent.”

How did Allen perform? During his seasons in Philadelphia (1964-1969), Allen was Rookie of the Year and three-time All Star (seven total appearances in his career).

After shorter stints with two National League teams, Allen came to our Sox and promptly staged a 41-day salary holdout. But, at least for awhile, Sox’ manager Chuck Tanner (1928-2011) knew how to handle Allen without ridicule or excessive pushback. In fact under Tanner, Allen was named team captain. As Nathanson wisely notes, Allen didn’t suddenly change his personality. “What changed was his employers’ understanding of him.”

Cubs’ manager Joe Madden, who at the moment is revered in Chicago, says he learned from Allen: “The more freedom the players feel out there, the greater discipline and respect you’re going to get in return.” If in any company, Madden continues, “employees have to come in and be concerned about a bunch of tedious nonsense, it’s going to prevent them from performing.”

Speaking for many of us on the South Side, former Sox’ executive Roland Hemond says: “Chuck Tanner and I both felt that Allen helped saved the franchise” by boosting fan interest. There was at the time pressure from some Sox’ owners and other club owners to move our team to Milwaukee or maybe Seattle.  

Nathanson does not absolve Allen from problems that swirled around him. But “the true villain in [Allen’s] story was bigger and more all-encompassing than any individual.” Racism, of course. In Allen’s case it took the form of expecting each black to meet so-called traditional expectations. The wider lesson, however, is one that applies to all sports, to the tech industry (particularly to the biggest companies), to food growing and distribution industry, to hospitals and colleges that rely on part-timers, to major retail stores and more. Allen, writes Nathanson, opposed the idea that workers “were property to be bought, sold, valued and discarded by owners at their whim.” Despite the intentions of any one executive or any one employee, there can be an entire “system geared toward exploitation.” This, by the way, is what Catholicism means by saying exploitation is an objective sin, even if an executive is kindly or if an employee labors out of necessity or even to serve the church.

Allen’s stats qualify him for the Hall of Fame. Yet baseball philosopher Bill James is opposed, not because of any specific disruption, but because Allen “did more to keep his teams from winning than anybody else who ever played.” The decision is now up to the Golden Era Committee at the Hall. It meets in 2017 and will vote on the matter.

Droel edits INITIATIVES (PO Box 291102, Chicago, IL 60629), a free printed newsletter on faith and work.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Hail the Fifth Irish Brigade

My son Joel who lives in London and his in-laws are aficionados of Irish folk music.  Recently Joel gave me a delightful CD with songs written and performed by Irish folk singer and writer, Christy Moore.  I was especially fascinated by a ballad called “Vive la Quinte Brigada.” (Christy Moore’s version of the Spanish - “Viva la Quinta Brigada” – Hail the Fifth Brigade.)

   The song, relates the story of Irish volunteers who traveled to Spain to fight the Fascist General Franco to prevent him from taking over the Spanish Republic in 1936.  The Spanish civil war was a prelude to WW II.  The song narrative also relates that the Irish Roman Catholic hierarchy and the Irish media supported Franco.  With the encouragement of the Bishops and the newspapers, Ireland also sent troops to the aid of Franco.  After claiming infallibility in faith and morals, (Vatican I – 1869-1870) the Vatican supported Franco whose Fascist cause was facilitated by troops, arms, and bombing raids by Hitler and Mussolini. Franco prevailed in his “golpe del estado” In 1939.    Adam Hochschild writes in his book, Spain in Our Hearts:

“In Madrid, Nationalist troops, plus units of their German and Italian allies, marched through the city in a victory parade, while war planes were arrayed in formation to spell out Viva Franco in the sky. The exodus of refugees, mostly on foot, grew to half a million. ‘Lifting our hearts to God,’ said a telegram of congratulations to Franco from Pope Pius XII, ‘we give sincere thanks with your Excellency for the victory of Catholic Spain.”

   The Fascist tendencies of the U.S. Republican Party, such as extreme nationalism, racism, attacks on voter rights, and a militant anti-labor stance make Christy Moore’s “Vive la Quinte Brigada,”  in the current political milieu of the U.S.,  more than just a delightful ballad.   The megalomania of the Republican Party’s candidate for President is an alarm clock to wake us to the possibility of a Fascist type of government in the U.S.    

   For me Christy Moore’s ballad is enjoyable Irish music, but it is also historically interesting and politically relevant.  Lincoln in his Gettysburg Address indicated that U.S. Democracy is a work in progress. We constantly need a politics of adjustment in every historical situation to make our democracy more a rule “of the people, by the people, and for the people.” But Fascism is not the answer.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Labor Day Reflection 2016

23rd Sunday of Ordinary Time - Cycle C
4 September 2016
St. Benedict the Moor Parish
Milwaukee, WI

I have been asked to share some remarks in light of it being Labor Day weekend. Naturally, there are many ways that one can develop a reflection for this annual September observance. We could talk about the principles of Catholic Social Teaching. We could be risky and make some witty comments about the November election and issues like free trade deals, the “Fight for Fifteen” and maternity leave policies. We could talk about the decline experienced in union membership. We could speak about rights in the workplace.

Perhaps a better place to begin is Pope Francis. From the beginning of his Pontificate, my jaw has dropped from his gestures. Days after the conclave, he returned to his pre-conclave hotel to pay the bill himself. I like to imagine him saying, “Oh, yes, I checked in under a different name.”

At about the same time, he called the kiosk in Argentina to cancel his newspaper subscription. Or remember when he visited the Vatican print shop or ate with Vatican workers in the cafeteria.   I suspect that everyone finished their vegetables that day before launching into dessert!

What then, might Pope Francis be calling us to, given this example? First, Pope Francis, over and over again, gives witness to seeing the poor who are most often invisible to us.

Second, in this Jubilee Year of Mercy, Pope Francis asks us to see our participation in the economy more clearly. So much of what he has written in recent years is structured around the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Frankly, I hear him talking about confession far more than his recent predecessors. His recent book, The Name of God is Mercy, recounts stories of Pope John Paul I as a great confessor, and Pope Francis shares advice to priests about being a confessor. On Thursday, Pope Francis’ message for the Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation is structured around the Rite of Reconciliation:  an examination of conscience, the confession itself, “a firm purpose of amendment,” and, perhaps a penance in the additional corporal and spiritual works of mercy.

What might it mean for me to see more clearly? There is an old phrase: “Every time you spend money, you’re casting a vote for the kind of world you want.” How do I spend and what does it suggest about me? Since February, I go to the Metro Market on Van Buren and Juneau. Sadly, I do not know one employee there by name. They have been kind enough: they direct me to the item I need, they ring up my purchases, and they place my items in my durable bags. They keep the store clean and shelves stocked, and I have not bothered to learn one name. Also, if I reflect upon my purchases, I eat cereal with fruit almost every day for breakfast. Today, I had Honey Nut Cheerios with fresh strawberries. There is a boycott on Driscoll’s right now as some workers in Mexico claim that they are paid just $6 a day for their labors. My shirt was made in Bangladesh. The workers who made this shirt were probably paid about $2.20, not for this shirt, but for their day’s labor. When we go home for lunch, the lettuce on our sandwich or in our salad was harvested by an underpaid worker. If we stop for fast food or go to a restaurant, we know the wages cannot care for a family. Our cell phones, chocolate, coffee, and clothing are rife with supply chains that include human trafficking and systemic violations of people’s human rights. Is there anything we can do? Is the Gospel simply inspirational? Or is it programmatic?

The second reading, Paul’s letter to Philemon, suggests a personal way forward. As Catholics, our reading of the Bible is often uneven. Some may have read the Scriptures cover-to-cover, but, if you have never read a book of the Bible all the way through, here is your chance. Philemon is just 25 verses, and we heard a very significant portion today. To get inside it, we need to understand that we have heard just half of a conversation. Another half-- what lead up to it or what follows-- is shrouded in a certain mystery, but we can make some educated guesses.

Philemon was a wealthy man is Colossae. He gets a letter from St. Paul, who had baptized him. Paul was writing from prison, “a prisoner for Christ.” Getting a letter back in those days was an important thing, and such a letter would have been read aloud, often in front of an audience. In days before FedEx and UPS and the U.S. Postal Service, this letter was carried by someone close to Paul, by all appearances the letter was carried by Onesimus. Who was Onesimus? He apparently was baptized by Paul, served him during his imprisonment, and, now, Paul is sending a person dear to his own heart to Philemon. But there is another crucial detail about the message and the messenger. Onesimus, a runaway slave, had been a slave to Philemon. Paul’s message: receive Onesimus as a brother.

What is Philemon to do? He has three choices, it would seem. First, Onesimus is a runaway slave. If Philemon receives him as a brother, Philemon risks losing all of his other slaves. He also risks a shunning from his social and economic peers. He has every “right” to put Philemon to death. Second, perhaps, he could be merciful and give him a severe flogging or make him a “house slave” rather than a “field slave.” The third, most radical choice, is to do as Paul asks: receive him as a brother, again risking all on behalf of the Gospel.

Given such choices and ramifications, what did he do? I would suggest, as many others have, that he indeed did receive him as a brother. First, that the letter exists today suggests that this is  true. If he had killed or merely flogged Onesimus, he probably would have destroyed the letter. Instead, that the letter survives suggests that it was lovingly cared for and held in a place of respect. Secondly, and while this is far less assured to be one and the same person, following St. Timothy as bishop of the nearby city of Ephesus was a bishop named Onesimus. The romantic in me likes the notion that a former slave became a bishop in the early church.

We are embedded in networks of privilege, prejudice and power so commonplace that often neither oppressors nor victims are aware of them. Hence, the violence and pain that most afflicts us today is hidden:  the violence that afflicts the poor, that poisons relationships between communities and nations, that allows for a slow decay of culture and makes us indifferent.  Though not as noticeable as a bomb or a gunshot, these realities are just as deadly.  Like Philemon, we must have the vision to see and the courage to act.

We are called to re-imagine God’s preference for the poor. We live in what Pope Francis calls a “throwaway culture,” that treats people as things and is tempted to discard the weak and the vulnerable, those without money or power or voice. This story upends that vision and makes “useful” one who was deemed useless. It is life in solidarity, an old word, but our word. Solidarity is not a one-time gesture, but a permanent way of being in the world. The vision to see and the courage to act is about being in right relationship with God, with family, with my adversary, with the low wage worker, with care of our common home. The radical vision of seeing the other as Christ, of receiving the other as a brother or sister, is as powerful today as in the days of Scripture. If we really seek to live it, it will upend our world, and we will upend the world.

Christopher Cox
Campaign Manager
Human Thread Campaign

Friday, August 19, 2016

Sherman Park: The Days After

The recent “incident” in Milwaukee’s Sherman Park area sparked three emotion in me: sadness, anger and happiness.

The sadness came from empathy with the area’s residents.  The loss of property and injuries were one thing.  The terror and fear caused by a mob out of control in the night’s darkness was just as bad.  And the aftermath in the community continued the fear and apprehension. 

Anger came from the fact that so little was done prior to the event.  Milwaukee has lost large numbers of good paying jobs and an adequate transition support for those who lost these jobs was not provided.  The general area around Sherman Park  (I still wish someone in the media would say what they mean by “Sherman Park  area”) has experienced lower and lower household incomes.  The area has become increasingly black.  The newer “globalization” of the economy and older racial segregation have combined for a one two punch.  And I remain angry that there is little I can do about these two major drivers of the outbreak near Sherman Park, only being able to nip around the edges and those who could help have done little.

And then there is happiness—in a perverse way.  I have long anticipated an incident and my expectations have been confirmed.  All of the economic, political, and social factors point to a situation that would only need a catalyst to set off a riotous event.  While the exact time and place were not predictable, an event such as this predictable. Given the time in which we live, that the incident was sparked by police action was somewhat expected. (We still only know that a black man with a gun was shot by the police; the details of the incident are still a week later unclear.) 

In a not so perverse way, this event also brought out and brought together the business, political, law enforcement, religious and foundation community to seek to improve things—if only for a short time and, I fear, not to address the causes. At least we can expect a few things that might improve the lives of the people of the area.

My sadness, anger and happiness remain—and fortunately a little hope.

George Gerharz is the former director of the Social Development Commission in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

The Working Catholic: Jealous Crabs by Bill Droel

All ethnic groups experience a tension between the old world and the new world. First generation immigrant parents, for example, are distressed when their children prefer social activities among their schoolmates over family gatherings. The children are angry because these obligatory family events occur every weekend. Daughters say their parents are over-protective; parents say their daughters have succumbed to the worst of U.S. culture.

Sam Quiñones profiles Chicago restaurateur Carlos Ascención Salinas in Antonio’s Gun and Delfino’s Dream (University of New Mexico Press, 2007). Salinas arrived here nearly 40 years ago. He took a job in one of the restaurants of a regional pancake chain. He saved some of his earnings and he studied his workplace. Salinas eventually opened his own taquería, and then a few more. Salinas also assisted many other Mexican-Americans to start their own business. Today, Chicago features hundreds of these family-operated taquerías. There is one, for example, out the back door and then just across the alley from my home and then a dozen more within another four blocks.

Along the way Salinas and others had to sort out what was healthy in his old world culture and what was of no use in the U.S.  In Quiñones’ excellent book, Salinas repeats a version of the oft-told crab story. The fisherman, it seems, had no lid on his bait bucket. Another angler comes by: “Aren’t you afraid the bait will escape?” “No,” replies the first. “These are Mexican crabs. Whenever one gets too high in the bucket, the others drag it down.” (This story, by the way, has been told about Italian crabs, Pilipino crabs and even Catholic crabs.)

To be a success in business, explains Salinas, it wasn’t enough to learn about food distributors or about wage and hour regulations. He had to learn the soft arts; how to work in a pluralistic environment. In Mexico there is envidia, a jealousy embedded in the culture. There is an expectation that one gains status by trash-talking anyone who is further ahead. Envidia can even include sabotage. Salinas knew that envious behavior had to give way to cooperation for success in the U.S.

Quiñones tells us that Salinas preached teamwork “without envy and backbiting.” He shared his knowledge and made loans to others interested in starting a business. The loans “weren’t that important,” says Salinas. It was “recognizing the strength of unity, this support, backing each other up, this confidence we all need… We have to break the pattern of those famous crabs.”

Not everything from the old world should be forsaken upon arrival in the U.S. Research shows that parochialism actually aids assimilation. A strong family network gives children a nourishing harbor in our individualistic, often rootless culture. The seemingly old world ethnic family has resources more valuable than those in a superficial culture that is fixated on the vacuous Kardashians and the talent-deficient Miley Cyrus.

Every ethnic family struggles with this: What belongs to private life but is not useful in conducting public life? What is healthy in the home-based culture and what is dysfunctional there? Sorting through these matters is difficult. It helps to have a business leader like Salinas, perhaps a considerate foreman, maybe an Anglo pastor in one’s Mexican-American parish (or in a Polish-American parish), maybe an involved teacher. Thousands upon thousands of immigrants to our country have made a way from poverty to success by using one culture to create the next.

Droel edits a free newsletter about faith and work: NCL, PO Box 291102, Chicago, IL 60629

Thursday, August 11, 2016

The Working Catholic: Idolatry by Bill Droel

David Cloutier teaches Catholic ethics at Mt. St. Mary’s University in Maryland. The students give a skeptical “oh hum” to the unit about Catholicism’s sexuality teaching. However, the unit on property and consumption is met with shock, outrage and even offense. “They seem to believe that so long as [something] is gained through work, any property is theirs to enjoy as they please,” Cloutier writes in The Vice of Luxury (Georgetown University Press, 2015). 

All private property, Cloutier says, comes with a social mortgage. Wholesome and fulfilling economics is not about the art of the deal, but at a profound level it is about making a gift. Genuine economic freedom, Cloutier asserts, “means a commitment to reciprocity.”

Cloutier makes his argument through the old categories of virtue and vice. He has a tough job, your Working Catholic blogger suspects, because college students no longer frame their thinking in such categories.

Luxury, Cloutier forcefully persists, is “vicious and sinful.” It not only degrades the individual but, contrary to opinion, it is not good for the economy. Cloutier’s message is not restricted to the pretentious Trump family. The vice exists in nearly all income groups. “The lure of luxury permeates the ordinary spending and experiences of middle-class [North] American life,” he explains. Luxury is not this or that object. Nor is it “an occasional slippage.” It “is a disposition.” It is a spell that comes over society as a whole.

Christian ethics struggles to assert its alternative to the vocabulary of our dominant individualistic or utilitarian ethic. In our culture, for example, the phrase hard-earned money automatically justifies buying lotto tickets, joining a handbag-of-the-month club, judging some people to be the undeserving poor, thinking that tips to a waitress are optional and more.

Drawing upon Catholic sacramental theology and Catholic social doctrine, Cloutier attempts an alternative language about consumption. Though ascetics can be admired, he does not call the majority of Christians to “radical renunciation.” At the other extreme, he does not favor a materialistic majority that washes things over with a little Sunday piety. He suggests “a genuinely sacramental worldview in which the spiritual is participated in via the material.” That is, nearly all objects are holy, though not in themselves, but as analogues of God’s creation and redemption—presuming a disposition toward grace not a disposition for luxury.

Cloutier uses a Catholic principle called universal destination of goods. He also recommends Pope Benedict XVI’s talks and writing on “the culture of gratitude.” Both of these intriguing themes need popular rendering.

Put it this way: Gratitude is one disposition. “Thanks for the new day.” “Thanks for this coffee.” (A slogan that your blogger believes in after the third morning cup.) “Thanks for our beautiful country.” Every sincere expression of gratitude implies a giver, someone beyond the self. Gratitude makes each and every thing relational. “Thanks to the fair trade farmers and to the electric company for this coffee.” “Thanks to our 18th century patriots, to our service personnel and to all those involved in civic groups for this beautiful country.” “Thanks mom and dad, now departed, and thanks to God for this new day.”

Earned through hard work for my free use is another disposition. But no job, no country club membership, no private jet and no object can fulfill this disposition’s expectations. Objects that have only material significance automatically rust and disappoint. This hard work disposition eventually becomes resentment. Evidence? Donald Trump.

Objects can give life if they signify a relationship. With gratitude they automatically become little sacraments.

Cloutier’s book with its 20-page bibliography and 15-page index is not for a popular audience. It assumes some familiarity with Catholic philosophy and theology. It contains too much jargon and engages in a tad too much moralizing. But the book’s message is quite important and the message deserves a respectful hearing among a wide audience. Is Cloutier perhaps preparing a booklet edition?

Droel edits a print newsletter on faith and work, INITIATIVES (PO Box 291102, Chicago, IL 60629). 

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

The Fourth Amendment and Justice for All

   In March (1933) the Nazis awarded themselves new powers to arrest suspects and search homes at will.  
Sarah Bakewell, At the Existentialist Café, Other Press, N.Y., 2016, p. 75.

Comment:   The presidential election this year is crucial for the advancement of the cause to achieve a legal base for justice – justice for all.  Whom will the new president appoint to the Supreme Court?   Consider a Bill of Rights issue, the fourth amendment to the Constitution and the analysis of William C. Snowden, a public defender in New Orleans.  (Bill Lange)

The Fourth Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America – Search and arrest warrants:

“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated,  and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and persons or things t be seized.”

Warrantless Strife 
by William C. Snowden

   This used to be the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution.  After the United States Supreme Court decision in Utah v. Streiff it is unclear what protections against unlawful, warrantless and suspicionless stops by the police remain in place.

   Edward Strieff was walking out of a house that was under police surveillance due to a tip suggesting the home was involved in drug activity.  This was not a tip about Mr. Strieff but about the structure he was walking out of.  Without seeing when Mr. Strieff entered the house, without seeing a hand to hand transaction, and without seeing anything else to suggest Mr. Strieff had committed, was committing, or was about to commit a crime, a police officer stops and detains Mr. Strieff.  Up to this point, the majority of the Court agrees the officer did not have reasonable suspicion – what is required under Terry v. Ohio to stop Mr. Strieff.  But upon running Mr. Strieff’s name as the result of the unlawful stop, a traffic warrant is discovered, he is placed under arrest, and the drugs found on Mr. Strieff are declared lawfully seized – despite the initial stop being unlawful.

   Constitutional scholars critiquing this opinion may call it a “slippery slope.”  They are wrong!  We have slipped off the cliff – free falling into an abyss where the police are able to stop you without a valid reason then justify the stop if they find you have a completely unrelated warrant.
   The expression “do not rob Peter to pay Paul” parallels police who are committing a crime to solve a crime.  But now, as stated by the strongly dissenting Justice Sotomayor, “the Court today holds the discovery of a warrant for an unpaid parking ticket will forgive a police officer’s violation of your Fourth Amendment rights.” (If you have not already, read Justice Sotomayor’s dissent immediately.)  The Fourth Amendment used to be a safeguard against police and prosecutors reaping any “evidentiary benefit” of unlawful searches.  Today that safeguard is no longer in place.

   When reading the opinion written by Justice Clarence Thomas, one can envision how the police will abuse this exception to the protections of the Fourth Amendment.  The police are now given an incentive to stop more people on the chance they have a warrant which will justify the stop.  This is particularly concerning in minority, low income communities, and communities with large immigrant populations.  This case of Utah v. Stieff posed a unique opportunity to bring back some strength protecting our civil liberties; instead, it has weakened it for the empowerment of police abusing their authority.  
William C. Snowden 
Attorney at Law 
Public Defender Office 
New Orleans, Louisiana

Comment:   I asked Attorney Marc Christopher for a response from the point of view of an immigration attorney.  Marc represents clients from the Workers Center, Voces de la Frontera in Milwaukee, WI.  (Bill Lange)

A Responce

   Despite popular belief, we do not live in a democracy, which is ‘rule by the majority,’ but rather a republic, which is ‘rule by law.’ Our Constitution, more specifically, our Bill of Rights sets forth protections of individual liberties. By design, these protections were created for people who are at opposition with the majority—or do not have the political power to protect themselves. Two hundred thirty years of history demonstrates that the Bill of Rights often protects individuals that look different, speak different, hold differing religious views, lack economic resources and education and, perhaps, unfamiliar with our culture and systems of governments. 

   My law practice is focused on Immigration and immigrant rights. Immigrants, perhaps more so than any other category of people, consistently fall into these categories I mentioned before. Right now states (see Arizona) are passing laws which allow officers to ask for immigration documentation upon being stopped by police—if an illegal stop is no impediment to a law enforcement fishing expedition—the 4th amendment no longer applies to our immigrant population.  


Marc E. Christopher

Christopher & De León Law Office
1578 West National Avenue