Editor’s Note: This posting is older news from November. I’ve intended to recap it for awhile but between the holidays and a frantic amount of January meetings this blogger has been SWAMPED.
The November MVSNA newsletter was published electronically on the afternoon of Saturday November 14th. I first opened the PDF on Sunday night and saw that the “Modern Liquors Single Sales Exemption” was on the agenda. The headliner agenda item was that Douglas Development finally was going to share their development concept for Squares 450 and 451.
No details were promoted about the nature of the Modern Liquors Single Sales exemption agenda item on the Lifein MVSNA blog or elsewhere. I assumed exemptions would not be considered in a positive light given that MVSNA President Cary Silverman made a Ward 2 Singles ban a priority topic in his campaign to win Jack Evan’s council seat.
When the topic was discussed at the membership meeting on Tuesday November 18th, Silverman recited external testimony exalting Modern Liquors as a well loved store that had already packaged together endorsements from ANC2F and two other neighborhood associations. The testimony touted the store as being under the same ownership (not in attendance) for 20+ years and selling only the belgian and microbrews as singles. One couple spoke up about attending tastings at the store.
I kept waiting for the devil’s advocate. It never came. The vote began. I expected some division. Seemingly everyone (25 people) voted “Yes” but me. SHIT, I was shell shocked!! Did I want to take on twenty-five people by myself to object to a store that I had never been to? Am i possibly going to make a dent? I’m hardly a persuasive public speaker and I was armed with no ammunition (aka research & notes). I just didn’t vote.
Had I thought a little more quickly on my feet I still wouldn’t have voted “No”. I would have just asked “Why are we ruling on this at all? We’ve not discussed the policy in depth. This will be viewed as a precedent setting decision by some and we’ve not considered the ramifications of that the endorsement will have on future requests.“.
After this November meeting I learned more details that further stoked my disappointment with the vote on Modern. While the MVSNA did have a copy of the exemption application form that outlined certain core criteria a business needs to meet for consideration, they put forth this vote six days before receiving the full ABRA regulations on 11/24. Only at that point was it learned that neither brands of alcohol nor price points may be included in a voluntary agreement. It’s basically all or nothing.
Additionally in a December 1st sit down with Ron Green from Good Libations he informed us that Modern Liquors does carry Steel Reserve 211 – aka King of the Hobo brews. I later visited Modern and did not see the 211’s but Ron says they are in a case in the foyer. Because I was buzzed in immediately and did not linger in the foyer I apparently walked right past them into the main area without noticing them.
Since that November MVSNA meeting I’ve realized that I need to challenge the inertia that has been created towards endorsing exemptions primarily via adhoc ‘make it up as you go’ criteria and straw polls of 20 members.