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If history repeats itself, why make the same mistakes?

A historical perspective of Downtown Royal Oak regarding budgetary and resource straining issues in the '90’s

In order to look forward, we need to review and learn from the past.  A good starting point is to compare and contrast Royal Oak’s downtown in the '90`s with today. This exercise is important because the City was faced with identical challenges in the '90`s when the City Commission lost control of some of the liquor license establishments in the Downtown and were forced to waste money and resources to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars per year on police enforcement in an attempt to protect the public. We need to look at the City`s limited resources, and available tools used to react to the drunk and disorderly issues, the exponential increase in criminal activities and fighting in the Downtown, then and now. One of the objectives of the City Commission back then, was to create a vibrant City that included a balanced mixture of retail/office/residential and restaurants (with Class C liquor licenses), but to make sure that new and additional problems did not escalate due to the drinking component within the mixed use downtown.

At first, the City Commission reacted to the symptom, not the disease. They spent money dealing with the drunks, not the establishments over serving the drinks. The costs incurred included, but are not limited to, the hiring of more police, police overtime, ambulance runs, and lawsuits filed by those arrested after drunken assaultive behavior. The money spent did not solve the problem. It was only after intelligent and well thought out policy changes by the City Commission that the Downtown was calmed and the wasted expenditure of tax money being used to pay police to babysit and deal with obnoxious, out-of-hand drunken patrons of the Downtown diminished.

THEN NOW The population was about 67,000 The population is about 57,000 (14% decrease) Over 110 Sworn Police Officers Only 67 Sworn Police Officers (40% increase) Direct Patrol Unit (DPU) 5-6 man undercover unit on special assignments such as underage stings,  over serving, drug distribution,  and other crimes and violations in the bars DPU Disbanded Deputy Police Chief who oversaw Downtown Deputy Police Chief position eliminated 36 Class C type Liquor Licenses 52 Class C type Liquor Licenses  (40% Increase) Fully Staffed City Attorney Office, with 4 full time Attorneys + 1 part time , and legal secretaries, to address legal issues from downtown liquor community  
Skeleton City Attorney Office Staff and limited budget for fighting legal issues arising from abundance of  liquor and bar related problems and Class C holders (over 50% decrease) Spent over $300K in one budgeted year on police OT spent to calm the then hotspot at 4th & Lafayette
Still paying OT for Police service but does not have the funds without deficit spending to calm the new hotspots on 5th Avenue, and at Main and 6th, and Main and 11 Mile Commission did not allow "all you can drink" party busses to drop off 100's of additional drunks off  downtown City Commission now encourages this activity by refusing toregulate and failing to enforce laws Liquor License transfer Moratorium Adopted Liquor License transfer Moratorium rejected by Commission (on premise they would control the licenses) Later, a Liquor Ordinance was adopted intended to  Limit liquor licenses. The ordinance was followed by the City  Commission for years The Liquor Ordinance intended to limit licenses is now ignored by the City Commission Recommendations by the last 4 Police Chiefs to deny applications for additional liquor licenses was followed by the City Commission
The current Police Chief's recommendations are regularly ignored by the City Commission Downtown experience phenomenal growth in new non-liquor related businesses, residential units, and increased tax base during the period of moratorium and adherence to the ordinance that limits liquor licenses

Non Liquor related businesses are finding it harder stay in business downtown due to bar traffic, crime and higher premium bar-rate rents imposed by landlords forcing them to flee the downtown or the city entirely.
Commission balanced its budget during liquor moratorium and when the City limited liquor licenses

Commission relies on unsustainable deficit spending to pay for policing of the bars



The City Commission adopted the changes and recommendations from the THEN column, the most important being a moratorium on additional liquor licenses, and amendments to local laws that were designed to limit the number of licenses and to compel the license holders to control their establishments. The Commission stopped approving more bars, and required the existing ones to be accountable. True restaurants (80% food/20% alcohol ratio) were encouraged instead of the bars whose primary objective was to sell as much liquor as possible to the barely over 21 year olds crowd late at night. Restaurants competed with each other based on the quality of food and service, not based on the Happy Hours, shot specials, sponsoring all-u-can drink bus tours, or 3 day parking lot drinking festivals.

A golden era -The changes worked and the Downtown entered a so-called "golden era" of growth along with dramatically reduced policing costs. Residents, businesses, and other property owners were no longer funding the policing costs created by the bars. Voluntary compliance of laws and rules by liquor license establishments was at an all-time high. Efforts to calm the Downtown were successful and reduced the need for expensive targeted police patrols. Special overtime patrols assigned to the downtown were eliminated. New real estate development flourished and the net increase in tax base was phenomenal. Of course, there are many economic factors that contributed to this progress. The successful effort to create a balanced Mixed Use downtown was one of them. The golden era lasted until about the mid-2000`s.

A different era - It is significant to note the City Commissions approval of the Black Finn license (now one of the highest volume liquor distributors in the county) in the mid-2000`s was the beginning of a “different era” where the Liquor Ordinance, Master Plan, and Police Chief's recommendations were ignored. This was the catalyst for the beginning of a new era. Since then there has been significant growth in liquor related problems that continue to plague Downtown especially late at night. More liquor licenses were approved, expansions of existing bars were allowed, restaurants were allowed to turn into bars. Even all-u-can drink party buses are now allowed. The golden era came to an abrupt end.

These are but a few of the glaring comparisons that put this issue in proper context. It should be noted some in City Hall and on the City Commission either DO NOT have, or ignore, the historic perspective of what the City has already been through in dealing with an unruly Downtown. Obviously, we can learn from the past, if we are aware of the past.

In the '90’s -  The City spent a tremendous amount of time, energy, money, legal work, staff time, community involvement and input to help calm the Downtown when things were getting uncontrollable and crime was escalating. (Note the drive-by shooting at 4th and Lafayette) There were constant complaints from the surrounding ring neighborhood residents that were being affected by the public drunkenness, urination, fights, littering, loitering and noise all as a result of the downtown bar district. But then, unlike now, the city had the tools and resources and MONEY to combat these problems. Today the City is NOT in a position to effectively calm a similar situation and has no affective plan on how they will address the brewing situation downtown.

So to summarize, the City has lost nearly 40% of its Police force, has lost more than half of its Legal Department, has an insufficient fund balance, little historic perspective, and nearly 40% more bars! A recipe for major problems that could destroy our vibrant downtown, without solutions!

The moratorium was successful in the 90's and helped calm/quiet the problems. Opponents argued that a moratorium would shut down development and business in Royal Oak but just the opposite happened, Royal Oak flourished!

Since then, as an inventive and manageable alternative to Mega-Bars, the Bistro License option (small restaurants that emphasize food, not booze) was initiated by those who saw the problems created by liquor license imports and Mega-Bars. But instead of encouraging only the trouble free bistros, the City Commission continues to approve more bars.

Now, when anyone objects to the Commission’s bad decision making, they are attacked and portrayed as "anti-growth/progress or jobs” or they are “Puritans” which is completely inaccurate. This attack assumes that more bars than we already have can actually provide benefits in an amount that is quantifiable, identifiable, and greater than the increased expenses for public safety and other negative consequences created by a drinking district. They argue that the only way to keep the City vibrant is to approve more capacity for drinking. After a long and careful business like analysis, it is more accurate to say that we are pro-community and “anti-bad-planning"!  The universe of all businesses includes thousands of different types in Royal Oak. The planning and decision making that occurs should benefit all, not just a few new liquor license applicants. The decision making  process should not hide or ignore all the consequences or all the costs the rest of us will be asked to pay due to drinking related problems.    

In the late '90's, the City Commission recognized and acknowledged the problems. They decided to address the problem by prevention instead of wasting huge amounts of money on police enforcement and then paying for these costs on by increasing property taxes on others. They were unwilling to pull police out of the neighborhoods to service the bar crowds. They acted in the best interest of the City, and were pro-active in taking measures to control the problems instead of being oblivious to them.

Michael Andrzejak               roprotem@aol.com
Charles Semchena, Jr.         csemchena@wowway.com

Next week:  Ignoring The Master Plan

Exhibits: Liquor Ordinance - Statement of Purpose  http://ecode360.com/8261080#8261083

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Rick Karlowski June 07, 2012 at 02:10 PM
Point of clarification - The City Commission did indeed reject the liquor license moratorium. That is why a petition drive was initiated to put it on the ballot, where it was defeated. As I mentioned elsewhere, I voted against the proposal as written because in was a moratorium on new liquor license transfers, but would have allowed new venues to open with escrowded Royal Oak licenses (why would a new venue with a transfered license be a burden on the police but a new place with a escrowed not be), which at the time where selling for an enormous sum.
Rick Karlowski June 07, 2012 at 03:00 PM
I have reread the blog and don't come to the conclusion that Chuck and Mike are claiming that all party bus and limo clientele are drunks. They are saying that party busses are offloading large numbers of highly intoxicated individuals onto our streets (I am not going to get into a nit pick on exact numbers). This point was confirmed during the comments during the initial "party bus" ordinance reading/hearing/comments (at the CC meeting, not the task force) where some bar owners stated they didn't like the busses as they dropped off large numbers of highly intoxicated people who then wanted to come into their establishments. This caused a problem at the door when they where refused entry, or inside if they slipped through, all for very liitle monitary gain. The real issue here is the party busses, or at least some of them. They are a relatively new "addition", at least in the numbers currently showing up on a regular basis. Given there capacity, it doesn't take many bad operators to cause a major problem. Limos tend to be smaller, more mature (mentally) parties.
Debbie Campbell June 07, 2012 at 03:02 PM
Mr. Warheit you need to get your facts straight regarding the moratorium—The resolution calling for a 2 year moratorium (that exempted smaller bistro permits) was voted down by the city commission prior to the moratorium question being placed on the ballot--Check your Facts—or are you purposely imparting wrong information to readers? After-all you were part of the “dream team” that ran in the last city election and it’s quite obvious you support the position your running-mates Dubuc and Fournier have concerning liquor license approvals. Maybe you can get your buddies Commissioners Dubuc and Fournier to comment in this public forum.. These two won their seats on the City Commission with Thousands of dollars in campaign contributions they received from bar owners and bar representatives and they are now sitting up there at the commission table voting YES for any bar that comes looking for special favors. 5th Avenue, the bar that was at the epi-center of the drunken near riot last year just recently went before the commission and was approved for a special event permit. It would have been decent of Commissioners Dubuc and Fournier if before they smiled, winked and voted YES for 5th Avenue’s special consideration if they would have disclosed the amount of money in campaign contributions they both received from this bar. I’m sick and tired of their nonsense—and honestly Dubuc and Fournier’s silence on this topic speaks volumes.
Rick Karlowski June 07, 2012 at 04:45 PM
I am gald to hear you are at least willing to not be shocked that the demeanor of the downtown changes later at night, though the kick-off of the fun time has been creeping earlier. One of the reasons the "Bistro" license has a midnight closing clause is to prevent them from becoming late night problems. Tom and other rational (versus hysterical) downtown residents have been trying to tell everyone that the downtown atmosphere is changing, especially at night, and not for the better. Unfortunately they are far too often poo-pooed and told to suck it up as a cost of living in or near the downtown. Things have a habit of creeping out of control if not addressed. It doesn't take much for a town to get a bad rep, but a great deal to fix it. It takes resources to make sure our bars and restaurants don’t become a problem. Therein lies the issues – the more places you have, the greater the task, and who pays for the needed supervision.
Scott Warheit June 07, 2012 at 09:17 PM
Ms Campbell - While I appreciate you again accusing me of misleading people, I'm apparently the only one who remembers this debate. When the issue was raised, there were only 6 commissioners. The proposal was deadlocked, 3 votes for, 3 against. The only people being misleading on this score are Chuck and Mike, pretending that the commission rejected the moritoirum, instead of what actually happened, which is that over two-thirds of Royal Oak voters rejected the proposal. It's also funny you mention campaign contributions, since the biggest benefactors to the moritoirum were Mr. Semchena's contributors, the owners of the existing bars in Royal Oak. Funny how his donors are irrelevant to this conversation, yet those who donated to other campaigns form a grand conspiracy. You must have also missed this week's commission meeting, where 5th Avenue, because of that special event permit you complain about so vigorously, and that you wrongly contend was the result of campaign contributions, presented the Royal Oak Roots Foundation with a $2,500 check, money raised during the Cinco de Mayo event. But I guess charitable contributions don't matter to you. I know Tony and Danny at 5th Avenue, and we couldn't have two better people, who care about their business, this city, and who give back to the community, running a business. They have held multiple charity fundraisers and donated thousands to Royal Oak charities. You are mistaken on 5th Avenue.
Scott Warheit June 07, 2012 at 09:43 PM
I also think it's somewhat humorous to think Kyle DuBuc and Mike Fournier got elected because of contributions by businesses owners that made up a fraction of their overall fundraising. They got elected because they worked their butts off, knocked on thousands of doors, and spoke to voters directly and honestly about their vision for the city, a vision that most agreed with. There's no amount of campaign contributions that can equal the amout of work Mike an Kyle put into their campaign. That's why they are where they are. And why is that only their (and the Mayor and Mr. Rasor) motives that get questioned? Commissioner Goodwin approved the changes to the plan of operation at 5th Avenue. The special event permit you say 5th Avenue shouldn't have received? Supported by Commissioners Goodwin and Capello. And the new Hamlin Pub? Supported by Commisioner Poulton. Jolly Pumpkin? Unanimous approval. As you know, that takes quite an accomplishment. So how come your unsupported dispersions aren't cast at everyone instead of just select commissioners you don't like? And when the Mayor and others vote against bar proposals, these are ignored. Ballentines being turned down twice. O'Tooles rooftop being rejected. The resistance Bar Louie got when it wanted to move to where Hamlin went. The idea there's a majority of the commission giving liqour establishments free reign and that the remaining members of the commission are powerless to stop them is pure fiction.
Mike Ripinski June 07, 2012 at 10:00 PM
Well said Scott! When I read some of the comments here I am reminded of the old saying " don't confuse 'em with the facts" I think that there are some who would rather stay confused in order to support their own arguement. I believe they are just as passionate about our city as you and I but their passion is misguided at best. Thanks for speaking out and presenting the facts correctly. .
Debbie Campbell June 08, 2012 at 02:49 AM
Mr. Warheit- ANY elected official who accepts campaign contributions or gifts of any kind needs to disclose this fact when the “gift giver” comes before him or her at the commission table looking for a favor. It is incumbent upon our elected officials to be transparent. To me it’s an ethics issue. All members of this commission have made irresponsible decisions concerning bar approvals that have further compounded public safety problems and costs to tax payers. But your running mates, Commissioners Dubuc and Fournier received more than double the amount of campaign contributions from bars-- And your running mates have consistently voted to approve MORE favors for MORE bars. Concerning the failed liquor license moratorium--The argument that the moratorium was somehow bad because existing bars contributed financially to the effort to limit competition is irrelevant to me—I don’t care why these bars supported the moratorium—I believe a moratorium was needed then, and most certainly, more than ever, I believe a moratorium is needed now. In the time since the moratorium was on the ballot the commission has approved the capacity to serve thousands of additional drinkers, convoys of party buses wreak havoc and police officers are routinely pulled out of preventive patrol in our neighborhoods to baby-sit the situation downtown. (Which brings me to the “charitable donation” -To be continued in my next entry)
Debbie Campbell June 08, 2012 at 02:51 AM
The donation from 5th Avenue while a nice gesture is a drop in the bucket and the flamboyant way in which it was presented was little more than a smooth PR move. Would the dollar amount of the donation even approach the number of taxpayer dollars that were spent in only one night when the near riot situation involving 200 people caused all available Royal Oak police units, officers from neighboring communities and State Police to be called to the location in front of their bar? Is the charitable donation from 5th Avenue going to keep the drunks from parking back in our neighborhood at night or keep bar patrons from vomiting and urinating on my front lawn on their way back to their cars after a night of drinking downtown? Is the donation a hill of beans when compared to the 66% of the general fund that is spent on public safety officers that are sucked out of the neighborhoods to tend to downtown lawlessness? If the bars owners in the downtown are truly interested in doing what’s right for Royal Oak citizens I have a suggestion: They need to go en masse to the Downtown Development Authority which is the body that captures the taxes from downtown bars and businesses. And they need to tell the DDA to pay for a downtown police force so the rest of us won’t be expected to pass a huge public safety millage to pay for public safety in the drinking district.
Ronald Wolf June 08, 2012 at 05:11 AM
It is easy to agree with Pasternak on the majority of the honest opinions expressed below the well thought out summation that the incumbent "dream team" will no doubt interpret as sour grapes but I greatly take issue with his high opinion of himself as both a "psychic" and an "arbiter" of intelligent commentary (as usual). Regarding my last comments I do apologize for my redundancy caused by a computer delete failure on my part. None of us are perfect (except Pasternak).
Ronald Wolf June 08, 2012 at 06:00 AM
Scott I highly respect your passion for improving our downtown but you must face the fact that the system of accepting political contributions with strings attached that has for all remembered history remained sacrosanct is now getting out of hand. If I remember correctly you yourself were pilloried with the same accusations that frankly appeared to have merit. Some say there is a difference between taking a contribution and voting under the influence of that contribution. I find that hilarious. I do agree with you by my own experience in the game of politics that hard work through "stumping" pays off more than anything else. Hope you will continue to participate and that includes Mr.Semchena as well if only because we all must work together if ever there is to be a self imposed agreement to introduce ethics into the game of government someday. One first step will be the introduction of pure transparency followed by respect, followed by promise keeping.
Ronald Wolf June 08, 2012 at 06:47 AM
Though I disagree with having a total moritorium as in my opinion that may discourage quality bistros from locating here I wholeheartedly agree with your wish for more responsibility on the part of bars that make more money on an average summer weekend than the yearly costs for the services they drain from the community. That the council lauds the "drippings" given to charity as full recompense for the services they divert from our neighborhood speaks volumes on how effective campaign contributions are as PR. To paraphrase one derogatory comment towards me on this subject I would say that to believe anything different would reveal an idiot missing from a village somewhere other than Royal Oak. Royal Oak needs more voices such as yours Debbie. Thankyou for having the courage to speak truth to power.
Ronald Wolf June 12, 2012 at 01:18 AM
Funny the same bars supporting a moritorium on future competition are the same bars that are flooding city hall with expansion requests. Very funny. We need a special unit of police to investigate the same "good people" who are overserving, or wrongfully serving the half tanked crowd unloaded by the equally unregulated party busses that unlike us park wherever they damn well please.
RONLE June 12, 2012 at 02:38 AM
Not to mention, it's not the commissioners jobs to enforce regulations, it is their job to create them. One would think former commissioners would know the difference. I read a lot of numbers thrown around by the anti-bar crowd, but no one has answered how many additional bodies they have brought downtown on a weekend evening and how many more arrests have happened as a result. It leaves me wondering if it's because those statistics don't sell their story as much as second hand stories and innuendo does.
RONLE June 12, 2012 at 02:44 AM
Chuck Semchena & Mike Andrzejak accepted lots of money from some of the establishments with more longevity. Don't let their "anti-bar" position fool you, they are "anti-new bar" because it hurts their financial backers.
RONLE June 12, 2012 at 02:47 AM
Pasternak: Here's Semchena's backers: http://courts.oakgov.com/cfrs/iDocuments.php?iCommitteeID=6412&cmdOk=View+Campaign+Statements
RONLE June 12, 2012 at 02:54 AM
Ronald Wolf - we agree on something! In my opinion (as someone who does frequent our downtown after 10pm on the weekends), the bars that routinely overserve the youngest of visitors are Mr. B's, O'Tooles, Woody's, Fifth Avenue, and Black Finn. I have suspicions about one other establishment that I haven't returned to since they opened so I won't name them. Aside from Black Finn, who is a legitimate and successful restaurant on the off-bar hours, those are some of the oldest bars in the city. Perhaps the problem therefore isn't the number of bars, or the new bars, but what we're allowing our longest established bars to get away with.
Ronald Wolf June 12, 2012 at 07:23 AM
We have heard the old saying the enemy of my enemy is my friend which explains the strange bedfellows in Royal Oak's "bar wars". Hey that could be a good name for an Indie film: "Bar Wars" starring Andrzejak Semchena, Rasor, Fournier, Dubuc, Poulton and Ellison all struggling to assist their present and past sponsors in obtaining the best slice of pie possible in Royal Oak's very profitable bar business. Proceeds from the film could go to a downtown park, the Salvation Army, and the Betty Ford Clinic. The plot could be based on the popular tv show "survivor". Hey, thats what you would call reality entertainment.
Debbie Campbell June 12, 2012 at 11:29 AM
Thanks for starting my day with a belly laugh--
Jason Freeman June 25, 2012 at 03:09 AM
Debbie, you are ridiculous. It's embarrassing.
The Duke of Royal Oak July 13, 2012 at 08:57 PM
There is no plan in place, or one that is being followed by the city comission. The downtown is a free for all of alcohol, hardly a family town.
Ronald Wolf July 14, 2012 at 07:04 AM
As I keep reiterating- "FOLLOW THE MONEY"- NOTICE PLEASE HOW MANY CAMPAIGN CONTRIBUTORS OWN BARS, AND HOW MANY DO NOT LIVE IN ROYAL OAK. Our commission is steeped in a corrupt system that has been accepted as unchangable too long. While Mike and Chuck were and in my opinion are still part of the problem, and their return to the commission is not advisable I commend them on their exposing the resulting free for all they benefitted from while in office. To the bars such as Black Finn, O'Tooles, Mr.B's, and recently EMagine though I commend their charitable contribitions and fund raising activities on the behalf of charity I suggest that if they want more respect from the community they use to make their living that they cease immediately the paying off of commissioners in the form of campaign contributions and instead donate towards a downtown park and Farmer's Market improvement that would benefit not only the entire business district but all the residents of Royal Oak. A voluntary self imposed tax based on the number of police calls, OT and outside assistance costs that could also be donated to public safety is another suggestion. Nothing illegal, and a lot more ethical than stuffing the pockets of incumbents while simultaneously draining public safety and the pockets of tax paying angry residents.
J. Peterson July 14, 2012 at 02:12 PM
.......and more liquor license applicants are applying to get into our town. Enough already!
Ronald Wolf July 16, 2012 at 02:03 PM
I like your your idea for a consortium of mega bar owners and I would take it one step further. If these bars are serious about caring for the community they operate in, and they must be aware of Royal Oak's citizen consternation over the problems generated late in the evenings full moon or not. They should instead of contributing to those commissioners who in turn turn a deaf ear they should establish a fund, or self imposed tax for at least four months of the year to cover the costs of protecting their rowdy crowds. Whenever someone is seriously hurt there is usually a lawsuit involved where they may be named and accused of overserving so they should take that into consideration as well. It would be nice if all bars including Emagine participated to avoid an escallation of sandbagging. They should think of the money they would save by having a mutual pact not to contribute to political campaigns as well. If some of those monies could be diverted to a downtown park and Farmer's Market improvement all businesses would benefit including retail which in turn would increase both street and bar traffic. It would be a win win for all except those on the council and commission who look foward to having their political coffers filled. We have a restaurant associaton, and a retail association that are frankly inadequate to help in this situation so a bar association would give all the bars a crack at self regulation and reduce the need to increase the amount and number of fines.
Ronald Wolf July 16, 2012 at 02:20 PM
Scott, you are both a lawyer and you were a candidate who received questionable contribtions from outside agencies to the best of my knowledge, and you are far from being alone in this reprehensible tradition of ostensibly purchasing political favors. Your participation and cogent suggestions almost outweigh any ethical violations so I am not singling you out for villainization. I would like to know what you think about a moritorium of all candidates and incumbent on the acceptance of accepting campaign contributions on the part of all bars, their families, and business associates including their lawyers? I would like to include developers planning bars as well.
Bill July 16, 2012 at 04:27 PM
I have more trust in these guys observations than most of the people who comment on here, who don't have the benefit of the same background that these guys have.
Ronald Wolf July 22, 2012 at 09:44 PM
Rick the problem is not where the license comes from. If a restaurant can find one cheaper on the Michigan open market which is likely these days the professional gamblers who purchased licenses in hope of flipping them at a higher price at the expense of a family trying to obtain one for a small bistro should bite the bullet, I bet you a dozen donuts that the majority of the owners of "escrowed" Royal Oak liquor licenses do not even live in the city.
Rick Karlowski July 22, 2012 at 09:54 PM
Ron - That was my point. The problem I had with the moratorium language was that it ALLOWED new establishment to open with an escrow license. It just precluded any transfers. If the issue was limited resources to police new establishments, why only ban transfers?
Ronald Wolf July 23, 2012 at 01:59 AM
Rick I misunderstood, my apology. We both basically agree on the inequity of the present changes favoring costly and money making for those that hold those escrowed licenses. I have no doubt the holders of older licenses that have lost their value have influenced the council in an attempt to both maintain the value of their licenses, and make it difficult for competition. As a result we almost lost Gemmayze, a restaurant bar with a perfect balance of great food (try their leg of lamb osso busco style), and fine wines besides cocktails.
Ronald Wolf July 23, 2012 at 02:15 AM
From what I hear you can learn a lot about being a better criminal in a prison Bill, politics is also an ongoing process of education by experience on how to make the best of the system for: -a) yourself b) your constituents. If you picked (b) you are an optomist.

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