Alvadora Neighborhood Meeting
BILL: Well, welcome, everybody, to the Alvadora Neighborhood Association meeting. I appreciate you all being here tonight. We’re going to start out by reviewing our agenda for the night. Of course, we’re going to approve minutes from the previous meeting. We do have some old business, the public infrastructure community is going to send a report out and then the main item of action tonight will be--this liquor license that’s been requested. So to get started could I have a motion to approve the agenda?
MARIA: I move.
BILL: Do we have a second?
SABRINA: Yeah. Second.
BILL: Any more discussion on the agenda? That’s good. Okay, all in favor say “Aye.”
BILL: Any opposed? All right. Next order of business is the minutes from the previous meeting. So I ask for a motion and a second. Do we have a motion to approve them?
JUDY: I’ll move that we approve the minutes.
BILL: Do we have a second?
BILL: And are there any corrections to those minutes?
JUDY: Actually, my name is misspelled on the minutes.
BILL: So and then we will take that amendment. Anything else?
JUDY: I’m taking the minutes. I’ll make sure that it was--
BILL: Okay. So could I ask for a vote on the amended motion to change the spelling of Judy’s name? All in favor?
BILL: Any opposed? Very good. Okay. So first of all, the business of course is the public infrastructure committee. Do you remember we handed over the decision on this committee for this community. So Maria, if you’d be willing to report out about that?
MARIA: Okay. Thank you. The committee met as you know from our previous discussion a couple of months ago to review the design of new street lights. We have a local architect, Jim Wegan who gave us some design options and did make a recommendation regarding a final design. Last month, we reviewed those recommendations and we recommended adoption. However, as you recall, we did not finalize our decision on that because we were waiting for cost estimates.
BILL: Well, that’s right.
MARIA: Since that time, we have met with the architect and gotten his cost estimates. The cost is going to be $75,000 per light. I know that’s high, but we feel like it’s a reasonable amount and as a result, we would like to now make a recommendation to go ahead and approve that expenditure.
BILL: Is there anyone who would second that motion?
SABRINA: I second.
BILL: Any discussion?
JUDY: I just wanted to add that we did do some comparisons to the cost of lights in other similar communities using the similar design that we approved and the cost is on par with what other people spend. So it is high, but it’s reasonable.
BILL: Okay. So we have a motion to second. Any more discussion? All who’s in favor of the motion recommending the approval of this expenditure for the street lights say “Aye.”
Female Speaker: Aye.
BILL: Any opposed? Very good. All right, our main order of business this evening is this request for a liquor license for the sports bar. So to get it on the table for discussion, I would ask that we—that someone move to do that?
MARIA: Oh. I absolutely move.
BILL: Are you going to move in favor of the motion?
MARIA: In favor of the motion.
BILL: Okay. And do we have a second?
SABRINA: I’ll second.
BILL: Okay. And the discussion, who would like to start? Maria, since you feel very strong about it, hear your side.
MARIA: I, as representing the city council, I think we have got to be very mindful about the positives that such a new business would bring. It brings in new jobs. No question about that. It brings jobs for those of our citizens particularly probably most likely young adults. This could be a great opportunity for first jobs for our young people who I think we all would agree are struggling. It could even bring residents into the neighborhood, people who would come here to live closer to work. This is a pretty big operation that they’re proposing and I think it has some really good potential ripple effects. Hopefully, this would bring in some additional businesses if there is a good anchor kind of business, there could be some similar sorts of businesses or just other businesses that would see this now as a good opportunity for them. And I think the obvious thing here is the revenue. Not only is this a sort of quick infusion of revenue into our neighborhood, it’s going to make a big impact on our tax base. I just can’t imagine why wouldn’t think this is a good thing.
BILL: Judy is the owner of a local restaurant, what would you say to this proposal?
JUDY: Well, I’m not in favor of the proposal. Let me just talk about why that is. I mean, as you know, I own a family business, it also has a liquor license and I’ve been in this community for many years and my business, I think, has served the community well and I worry about another business coming in that also has a liquor license not just because of the competition although that is an important consideration, because it would just simply magnify the number of people that are drinking in our community to all hours which I think—has been a concern for a long time for many people in this community. In terms of the competition aspect, what concerns me is this idea that we’d allow more people coming in the neighborhood and patronizing both businesses and I am just not sure that would happen. I would worry that if this business came in and people didn’t come to the neighborhood, that both businesses potentially could fail. And I honestly would not like to see that for my own purposes, but also for the neighborhood as well that we want to encourage and support those that we have here so that the whole neighborhood can benefit. So I’m concerned about the drinking aspect, I’m concerned about the competition aspect and I’m not too sure. We’ve never really met these folks before who came and presented about the sports bar, so we don’t really know them. They seemed young and energetic, but I’m not sure they’re the seasoned business owners that we want. They don’t live here, so we’re not supporting homegrown businesses, we’re supporting somebody coming in from the outside. And I think we may be better off supporting homegrown businesses like my business. I live in this community and I’ve appreciated the support of the community for many years.
BILL: Sabrina, you live just across the alley from where this whiskey bar is proposed. What would you think?
SABRINA: Yeah, I’m sort of torn. I live next to an empty lot and especially on weekends, there are parties, there’s drinking, there’s loud music and it goes on to all hours of the night. And having another industry in our neighborhood that serves alcohol may not be a good idea. It would just add to what’s happening already. And there’s a lot of--and all of trash, it sort of ends up on my side of the property. Even though they are supposed to stay over there, they sort of migrate over especially late in the night. But on the other hand, maybe if those young adults had jobs, maybe they wouldn’t be on that lot partying ‘till late hours of the night. And those are jobs and I’m sure the pay would be fairly decent and so maybe if they had something else to do, they wouldn’t be partying late at night. And we need jobs in this community. A lot of our young people have never had a job. They come from families that have never had real good jobs and maybe this would give them a good shot of the beginning at a better job. So I don’t know, I’m torn because we also have more people drinking in our community, more alcohol, more traffic, more everything. It would just multiply. So I’m torn.
MARIA: I am wondering, can we try to head some of this off before it’s a problem? I think the problem that you described, Sabrina, maybe had sort of evolved overtime. But I’m wondering if we’ve got an opportunity here with them bringing in a new business. Can we talk to them about the trash and the traffic and then the noise--I mean, are there ways that we can try to get out ahead of this so that it doesn’t have to be something we will react to later that we work with them?
SABRINA: Be proactive about it.
MARIA: Right. Right.
BILL: Yeah, actually, there’s a community nearby that has something called a “good neighbor agreement” that they require businesses to sign before they’ll approve their liquor license. And what it does is it spells out what those businesses need to do to clean up the trash in front of their buildings, keep noise levels down, different things like that, so we could explore doing something like that to mitigate some of your concerns.
SABRINA: Will they also serve food?
MARIA: Yes. Yes.
SABRINA: And will there be outside seating?
MARIA: Yes, I think, that was part of their proposal, right, that they said, outside seating. So increases the potential volume, they can be serving certainly a lot more meals than if it were just contained within the physical space of the building.
SABRINA: Yeah, but there’s also more outside drinking. If there’s outside seating, there is going to be outside drinking and that’s going to spill out into the neighborhood. I don’t know if there’s any way we can keep this self contained at the sports bar. And the traffic, all the traffic that will be coming through our neighborhood, our speed limit is what, 30?
SABRINA: And some of our streets are really not set up for a lot of traffic. So I’m just not sure if this is a good idea.
JUDY: Bill, is that good neighbor agreement enforceable? How is it that we could--if we had one of those if it there has a problem--?
BILL: As you know, the liquor license is up annually. They are required to get it renewed annually and the commissioner asks for our input when that comes up in addition to collecting police reports and things like that. So we would have an opportunity on an annual basis to give our input to the liquor commissioner to let them know whether we continue to support in their business.
SABRINA: Have you ever known of a bar to lose its liquor license because the neighborhood was against it?
BILL: Well, actually, no. As far as I know, once they get that license, it’s pretty hard to deny it or take it away. We would have to really organize the community and petition the commissioner. But it wouldn’t be an easy thing, but it could be done.
MARIA: You know, I think we really have to talk about the fact that they are really going to bring some improvements to some properties. Obviously, the space that they’re going to be occupying is vacant now. So this is going to fill a vacant space. I think just that--that really will kind of spruce up the neighborhood.
BILL: Yeah. Well, Katy, you’re a neighbor resident. You haven’t had an opportunity to speak yet, so what’s your opinion about this?
KATY: Thanks. Yeah, I hear that this will bring in some great revenue and I think it would be good in that way. I also have some concerns though about having a bar in the neighborhood, I think it’s going to really cause some more incidents of alcoholism as well. My brother is an alcoholic and I just really know what kind of a terrible impact it can have on community. So I’m just really concerned about bringing a bar into the neighborhood and the impact that it might have especially on the young people. And I’m also though interested in having all that revenue come in and I think we could afford some of the things we really need like street lights.
MARIA: We could have more of those $75,000 lights.
KATY: Exactly, yeah. And possibly with all that revenue, we could sort of try to make the neighborhood safer as well, maybe some security for the neighborhood. I have some concerns, but I like that idea of bringing in more revenue.
BILL: Anyone else?
JUDY: Well, I just want to say I hope people are really considering the pros and cons. We talked about some of the cons, I think, and there are some pros as well obviously. But I hope that people will also realize as we talk about this that if we approve this, we would be relying on really the good nature and the word of people who we have never met before that they would be doing the right thing with their business. And a lot of people don’t realize that the neighboring community turned these folks down with their liquor license and maybe they saw something that we don’t know and maybe they know something we don’t know and it just concerns me to put our trust in folks that were turned down and we don’t know very well.
MARIA: Well, somewhat in defense of the proposers, I think that we have to look at that community that turned it down. I mean, we all know that community. It’s an old community and by that, I mean, it’s a community that has a very large older adult population who may be, in some ways, less open to this and I think we’re a very different kind of community. As Sabrina talked about, we’ve got a large young adult population that we need to get to work, we need to get some activity for them.
SABRINA: But is this necessarily the type of jobs we would want them to have, jobs in a high-end sports bar? I’m just not sure if any job is okay. I’m just not sure if this is a good thing. I’m actually leaning against this.
MARIA: Well, I think in terms of thinking about the kind of money that can be made at a place like this, I mean, this could be good money. This could be good money that can enable these kids to go to school and certainly, a restaurant bar offers a lot of flexibility with scheduling so these kids could maybe be going to school as opposed to doing some of the things they’re doing now.
SABRINA: Or it could lead to higher alcoholism levels in our community.
BILL: So anymore discussion? Okay, well, before we vote, I’ll just remind you that in the case of a tie, the chairman breaks the tie, makes the decision. So we have a motion and a second all those in favor of this proposal, say “Aye,” and go ahead and raise your hand.
BILL: Two. And all those opposed?
BILL: Okay. So we do have a tie. So my vote will break the tie.
[END VIDEO at 0:16:08]
This video portrays a social worker utilizing practice behaviors necessary for both community and organizational practice. The video depicts a regular meeting of an executive board of a neighborhood group. The members of this board have been elected by the larger neighborhood group to make certain types of decisions. The video shows the group utilizing Roberts Rules of Order to structure their meeting. You are encouraged to critically examine the use of this procedure; how can such a process facilitate efficient management of organizational business? How might it stifle dissent or marginalize particular voices? The group is facilitated by the chair of the board. The group first discusses and makes a decision about a large expenditure on new lights for a major street in the community. Afterwards, the group discusses the main business of the meeting, a decision whether to endorse the petition of a partnership of two potential small business owners to acquire a liquor license from the city to open a new restaurant that will serve food and liquor. The group deliberates on the advantages and disadvantages of opening a new restaurant that serves liquor, given the challenge the neighborhood has with the problem of alcohol use. This exchange illustrates the ways that people’s perceptions of a given issue shape their opinions about how the issue should be resolved—and even determines which issues are discussed at all. You might roleplay another meeting of this same type of group. What else could they be discussing, related to the concerns of the community? How might framing the problems differently lead to different approaches to resolve them?