First, if you are the owner of a shiny new car that any little teen hoodlum would be happy to ride around in and it is an automatic, get a club. Yeah, that ugly thing that goes on your steering wheel. There are some guys who want to steal your car. Also while I am at it…. decent drapes are also a little theft deterrent, particularly if you have a really cool and expensive electronic item (or items) that are clearly visible from the sidewalk. For myself, I just steal design ideas when I can see into your house. But there are others with less honorable ideas when they look in.
Second Vegetate sent out this:
There is finally legislative movement that would allow Vegetate to get its ABC license. This legislation, Bill 16-0696 would amend the current law that restricts any establishment that is within 400 feet of a school from getting a liquor license.
Specifically, it would allow the ABC Board to consider liquor license applications for restaurants and taverns that are within 400 feet of schools, whether or not a license of the same type is already in the area. This is a city-wide legislation, not legislation just for Vegetate or just for the Shaw neighborhood–though clearly we will benefit if it passes.
Next Friday, June 23rd at 10am in the Wilson Building, 1350 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW Councilmember Jim Graham, chair of the Consumer and Regulatory Affairs committee, is holding a public hearing to discuss and hear testimony regarding the Bill. We are asking that all who are interested in this issue attend the hearing. The more people who simply show their faces in support of the Bill, the better. We are also asking everyone to wear a white shirt or blouse, so that the council members know that you are there to support restaurants and taverns. We will have white ribbons for those who aren’t wearing white.
If you are so inclined, you may testify as well. If you plan to testify, you should call John Adams at 202-724-8198 before 5p.m. on Wednesday, June 21st. You will then have three minutes to speak at the hearing on the 23rd.
Finally, if you can’t make the hearing, you can submit written testimony to all the council members on the Consumer and Regulatory Affairs committee. Below you will find the email addresses of all the council members on the Committee, as well as a sample letter that you may modify as you see fit, which addresses the issues relevant to this legislation.
We look forward to seeing you on the 23rd. If you have any additional questions, please email us at info[at]vegetatedc.com
Committee on Consumer and Regulatory Affairs
Jim Graham (Ward 1), Chairperson
Sharon Ambrose (Ward 6)
Kwame R. Brown (At-Large)
David A. Catania (At-Large)
dcatania [at] dccouncil.us
Adrian Fenty (Ward 4)
If you want to email a councilmember send the following or make your own:
Dear Councilmembers, Graham, Ambrose, Brown, Catania and Fenty:
I am writing to ask you to support Bill 16-0696, introduced by Councilmember Jack Evans. While I am a strong advocate of protecting children from underage drinking, I also support restaurants and taverns in developing neighborhoods throughout the city. In fact, I believe it is possible to both protect children and allow new business development, if the current law is changed.
We want the ABC Board to have the authority to consider liquor license applications for restaurants and taverns that are within 400 feet of schools because the law as it stands now does a disservice to the entire city. Due to the grandfather clause, neighborhoods whose only ABC establishments are liquor stores, many of which are less than 400 feet from schools, can continue to see more and more liquor stores opening. But sit-down, fine and casual dining restaurants and taverns can’t even be considered, which will cause many valuable businesses to close and others never to exist in neighborhoods that sorely want and need them.
Moreover, as the examples of Vegetate and Queen of Sheeba in the Shaw neighborhood clearly show, the council should also rethink the way the 400 feet is measured. The 400-foot rule should state that the distance between an establishment and a school is measured from the main entrance of the school to the main entrance of the restaurant.
Please make it possible for new restaurant and tavern establishments to flourish in developing neighborhoods. Don’t penalize them because such establishments haven’t survived the decades of business losses in our neighborhoods; or because of problems with existing irresponsible establishments; or because of administrative issues associated with taking licenses away from bad businesses. It is impossible to predict that any one restaurant will act irresponsibly. Instead, please demand that ABRA focus on severely penalizing those establishments who are found guilty.
Unless the issues covered by this Bill are addressed, there will continue to be obstacles to the kind of development that the tax-paying citizens of the city want.