Monday, March 12, 2012

Thanks a Bunch, Phyllis

Owners of Soulard bars with 3 a.m. closing licenses are the happiest of people these days, thanks to a gift from Seventh Ward Alderman Phyllis Young. Phyllis eliminated future competition for these late night bars by introduced legislation which would prevent additional 3 a.m. licenses from being granted. The legislation passed the B of A and is sitting on the Mayor’s desk, awaiting his signature, according to Phyllis.

"The alderwoman Phyllis Young, who represents Soulard, says crime has spiked around some of the Soulard bars with 3 a.m. licenses. Her proposal would not allow any new 3 a.m. bars south of Chouteau in Soulard. She says areas around 3 a.m. bars have more smash and grab thefts from cars," reports Lakisha Jackson, whose story titled "New Proposal would limit 3 a.m. bars in Soulard" was posted on the Fox2Now website on March 9, 2012.

Smash and grab? How about a couple of late night murders, stemming from the 3 a.m. license owned by the Social House of Soulard?

The story continues: "Young says most bar patrons in Soulard don’t cause problems but that crime seems to be greater around some clubs with three a-m licenses."

Bob Kraiberg, the Liquor License Commissioner, played this same game a number of years ago. At a Soulard Restoration Group meeting he stood up and rambled about this and that, and then said something to the effect that there are enough bars in Soulard, and he implied that he was not going to permit any more. Those attending were pleased and thanked him. The bar owners were pleased and thanked him, too, because it meant no new competition.

Of course, Bob was just playing to the audience, and more bars settled into the neighborhood.

Like Bob’s self-serving words, Phyllis’ meaningless piece of legislation does nothing to solve Soulard’s crime and bar problems. Her’s is a pretend solution. Just like she is a pretend alderperson. It reveals the bankruptcy of St. Louis leadership.

After the murder of Social House patron James Clavin in January, a Post-Dispatch story dated Jan. 26, 2012 ("St. Louis officials and Soulard nightclub meet after deadly shooting") contained the quote: "‘We’ve had it [Social House of Soulard] on the radar for awhile now," said City Operations Director Sam Dotson." One can only wonder: Did you salvage your radar from the Titanic? Does it need a tune up? Hello? Is anybody there?

The basic question is: Why are these places allowed to open in the first place? After the two murders of Social House customers (Clavin and Gary Patch), this bar/nightclub held a forum to "clear the air." Their lawyer got up on their stage and said, among other things, that because the bar was open late night, the area around the bar was safer, because people were out and about, thereby preventing crime.

What a whopper! Violent criminals don’t hang around the Holly Hills neighborhood, for example, at 2:30 in the morning, because pickings would be slim to nothing. But they sure do love Soulard, where there are always victims - and drunk, too - on the streets in the middle of the night. In fact, we have enough problems with the bars without 3 a.m. licenses.

Thanks to leadership’s inability to understand their job and a lack of any decisive plans - or even a clue, the only thing threatening the prosperity of our Soulard bars is more crime. Phyllis is taking care of new competition.

City Hall and our Alderperson don’t want to rock any boats. Instead, they give criminals a license to do their thing. This approach has backfired before, undermining residential and commercial assets and crushing real estate values. St. Louis should know all about that, but they have forgotten..

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Welcoming Oktoberfest

We heard that the Oktoberfest drunk is no longer welcome in Lyon Park, located between A-B and the Defense Mapping Agency south of Soulard. Apparently the Map Factory considered the Oktoberfest to be a "national security" problem, so they cartographed it off their front porch.

This was confirmed by Ninth Ward Alderman Kenneth Ortmann, who said that 2011 was the last year the Oktoberfest event would be allowed to use Lyon Park, and that Organizer/Owner John McKinstry would have to find another location.

One suggestion was that the festival move across the highway and find a new home in Cherokee Park, located in the Benton Park neighborhood. Commented Alderman Ortmann: "Over my dead body."

We sure wish Seventh Ward Alderman Phyllis Young was as forceful in giving the bum’s rush to those whose only intent is to exploit the neighborhood, make a mess and undermine any sense of community. Soulard Farmers Market put up with this pay-for-drunk and its turmoil for many years before Oktoberfest got the boot to Lyon Park two years ago, and Soulard residents have put up with Oktoberfest profiteer John McKinstry and his b.s. ("The only reason we put on Oktoberfest is to help the neighborhood") for the duration of this debacle with its associated trash and violence.

Read the SRG General Membership Meeting minutes for Feb. 1, 2012, under Old Business: "Soulard Oktoberfest has not paid SRG and that group does not currently have funds to pay us. John M invited to March 7 meeting to explain his plans for payment. Board to decide how to move forward."

In other words, McKinstry has not yet paid the SRG their cut for operating a booze booth at the 2011 Oktoberfest. We understand the cut amounts to around $7200. Could McKinstry be claiming that "I can’t pay you because a dingo ate my proceeds?" SRG gets no respect, and they don’t deserve any for being so stupid as to associate with that greedy clown, John M., as they call him. A ship of fools, gladly accepting the mooky end of the stick.

Meanwhile, where is this miserable event going to land? Back to the future at Soulard Farmers Market? In Forest Park? In Mayor Slay’s neighborhood? In the middle of the Mississippi River? Soulard gadfly Paul Kjorlie describes Oktoberfest as "the party that nobody wants," and he seems to have hit the nail on the head.

Addendum: The March 7 SRG meeting was a no show for John McKinstry and his money. Information is that he stiffed other non-profits ("thanks for the free labor, fools") who manned booths. If only we could remember what month Oktoberfest was held, we could calculate how many months have gone by without his paying his bills. Well, we are sure that things will be rectified by the next Oktoberfest. Actually, we plan to attend that one. For the frauleins!