Thursday, September 20, 2007

Queen of Sheba License Hearing Today

Just got back from the ABRA hearing on the Queen of Sheba's liquor license (it was still going on, but I had to leave after an hour and a half). In addition to Campbell Johnson and another lady from Shiloh (whose name I didn't catch), there were about six people from the protesting group, including Mary Sutherland and Barbara Curtis (who didn't say anything while I was there).

I was asked to testify on behalf of QOS, which I was happy to do. The questions mostly had to do with what I had observed in the restaurant (good food, friendly service, nice atmosphere, nothing in the least disruptive or disorderly), conditions elsewhere on the block (derelict houses, vagrancy, trash, etc.), and the effect that QOS had had on the surroundings (more life on the block, better appearance, improved sense of safety--all totally positive). Alex Padro was next up and talked about the conditions in the immediate area before the restaurant opened and current plans for development. He presented a petition signed by neighborhood residents some time ago in favor of the liquor licenses for Vegetate and QOS, along with a imagery map showing where the 50-60 signers live (as well as the half-dozen opponents). I thought it was pretty effective; Campbell Johnson and company objected to its being accepted as an exhibit, but in vain. Then Johnson asked for a recess. Everyone groaned, but the chair granted him 5 minutes. I skedaddled back to work at that point, since this was obviously going to continue for quite some time. No one else other than the owners and their lawyer was there to support the QOS cause.

My impression was that the Board was pretty impatient with the protestants and their tactics, so I fervently hope this will be the end of this farce and QOS will get the licence today. Enough is enough, already! It is outrageous that the ABRA board has allowed this to be dragged out so long with the endless do-over opportunities for the opponents. Mr. Misgina and his family have been tortured way too much already.

The opponents seem to be clutching at straws, making nonsensical incoherent arguments (more insinuations, really, than arguments) about parking, noise, taxi cab drivers (what?!). Given the impact of Shiloh's malign neglect on the block and the church's effect on parking, their hypocrisy is truly stunning. It's hard to avoid concluding that their only real agenda is to stifle any positive development and change in the neighborhood that would in any way threaten their sense of special entitlement. Shame, shame, shame!


At 9/20/2007 10:56 AM, Blogger Shaw Rez said...

Thanks for the update, DaddyFiveOh... I have an overwhelming sense of guilt for not being able to make it to testify on behalf of QoS today. As a nearby neighbor, I appreciate the Queen's presence on many levels--she adds a sense of security to my block by providing foot traffic, she indicates new businesses are willing to take a risk on Shaw/9th, she is a beacon of hope amidst Shiloh's blight, and she provides a delicious, unique dining option to lower 9th.

At 9/20/2007 3:34 PM, Anonymous OffSeventh said...

I am bummed I missed this one...I want someone to call out the extortionist and really call into question Mr. Johnson's motives. I was in NJ all day so no possible way of making this one. Thanks for the update.

Daddy 5-Oh...he pulled the exact same thing last time as well.

At 9/20/2007 6:26 PM, Anonymous Alexander M. Padro said...

The protest hearing ended about 4:45 PM. That's the last hearing. The board now needs to issue a written ruling, probably in about two months, but no later than 120 days.

--Alexander M. Padro
Executive Director
Shaw Main Streets

At 9/20/2007 7:06 PM, Blogger Gee said...

The protest hearing ended about 4:45 PM. That's the last hearing. The board now needs to issue a written ruling, probably in about two months, but no later than 120 days.

Good grief! That's ridiculous, outrageous and unjust, by any standard, but especially given the endless dilatory tactics the Shiloh-sters have engaged in.

FWIW, I also can't believe the hearing went on all day. What on earth did they spend their time talking about?

D5-0 and Comm'r Padro, thanks for going and showing the flag. I couldn't attend, but sent a letter in support.

At 9/21/2007 3:05 PM, Blogger Mr. 14th & You said...

Booooooo. Just....Booooo. Two more months. I guess Mr. Misgina should consider himself lucky there wasn't another hearing scheduled.

BTW, Daddy 5-0 and Mr. padro, thanks so much for your efforts on behalf of a wonderful neighborhodd establishment. Really, I wish I could have been there, but both of your efforts are sincerely appreciated by Mr. and Mrs. 14th and You, both of whom are big fans of the Queen (and Ethiopian food in general.)

At 9/26/2007 7:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anyone know, where is our councilmember during all this ridiculousness? Has he made any statement or sent anyone to the hearings, has he made any attempt to negotiate a solution while this business is put throw misery and risk of going under? Did he take a stand when Vegetate got hit with this, or BeBar? A legitimate protest with real neighborhood concerns is one thing, this is something very different and everyone knows it.

At 9/27/2007 7:29 AM, Blogger si said...

I dont think we ever heard a peep out of Jack Evans regarding businesses having such a hard time getting a liquor license on 9th.


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