I, like many other readers of the Royal Oak Patch, have been reading the commentaries of former Commissioners Semchena and Andrzejak with great interest. While I fully agree that our Downtown has some challenges and that clearly there are some liquor serving establishments that are troublesome, I feel that many of the so called "facts" being presented are simply mis or overstated. While I could write a multipage letter going over each issue I don't agree with, I will limit my comments to three observations.
"Fact 1") Liquor License Transfer Moratorium Rejected by the City Commission.
I think it is unfair to present this argument as if it happened in a bubble. The fact is in 2009, the voters of Royal Oak rejected a transfer moratorium by a margin of 2 to 1. I think the citizens spoke loud and clear on this matter.
"Fact 2") Commission balanced its budget during liquor moratorium and when the City limited liquor licenses.
To suggest that city balanced its budget in the 90's in any way due to the moratorium is pure folly. The 90's were a boom time, the economy grew at unprecedented levels and the city was able to be part of that.
"Fact 3") Commission did not allow "all you can drink" party busses to drop off 100's of additional drunks off downtown.
While it is true, some people over indulge while on party busses, to phrase it as "100's of additional drunks", is grossly overstating the facts. Additionally, if myself and 10 buddies want to rent a limo and ask the driver to drop us off in Royal Oak, the City Commission has no authority to stop us from doing so. It is true that the City Commission can and should regulate where the limos park and limit noise from idling etc. while they are waiting for their patrons to return, they can not simply ban people from being dropped off in Royal Oak.
Our downtown has challenges, I think any fair minded person would concede that. Finding the right mix of retail, office and entertainment/dining is critical to its long term stability. However, if this discussion is going to move forward in a meaningful and productive manner, it is imperative that facts are presented, not overly sensationalized banter and fearmongering.