The Dillard Doctrine

Urban Conservative Commentary on Politics & Life

Changing a Culture of Corruption

Recently, two restaurants in Ocean View-Mojo Bones on First View Ave. and Mona Lisa’s Pizza near East Beach (which I’m a fan of)-applied for exceptions to a law prohibiting sales of alcohol in the area after midnight. The law dates back almost two decades, and does not apply to restaurants that opened prior to 1992.

The owners of these restaurants had support from Ocean View’s civic leagues in their applications:

“The city should be giving everyone a fair shake,” said Aaron Ellis, vice president of the Bayview Civic League which supports Mojo Bones’ request.

“It’s a matter of simple fairness,” Ocean View Civic League president Al Saunders said. “I’m a painter, and it would not be fair for the city to say that I can paint houses on one side of the road and my competitors could not.”

You would think that, with the support of the civic leagues, support for this would be an easy affair.

Not quite. Seems City Council was opposed to the idea:

Mayor Paul Fraim, Vice Mayor Anthony L. Burfoot and Councilman Barclay C. Winn said changing the policy could open the floodgates from bars seeking to expand their hours or open in Ocean View.

Winn said he has heard nothing but opposition from his constituents in Ocean View.

“I respect the civic leagues very much, but not everyone is a civic league person,” he said. “I feel very strongly that Ocean View is still fragile and that this would reverse a powerful, positive trend.”

Never mind that the councilman that represents Ocean View-Tommy Smigiel (who I didn’t vote for, but has earned my support)-supported the measure after learning of the civic leagues’ support.

Yesterday, the restaurant owners pulled their applications, prompting this gem from Councilman Winn:

“This is not a one-shoe-size-fits-all kind of city,” Winn said. “Ocean View is very different from other parts of the city. We don’t want to go back to the days when it was like the wild, wild West.”

I’ve lived in OV-as it’s called-since 2009; not relatively long. So I missed the days when it was “like the wild, wild West.”

That said, nothing I’ve seen there seems to suggest that it’s heading back that way. I’d like to think, in a bit of optimism, that we’re capable of policing ourselves and not allowing things to get out of hand. I’m quite certain that people who were there during Ocean View’s not-so-great days don’t want them back, and us recent residents don’t want to learn what those days were like; we prefer them to remain in our past.

We’re grown adults; we can take care of home. We don’t need politicians who seek to provide advantages to their donors to do that for us.

That’s the other part of this story.

Three restaurants that opened prior to1992-Greenies, the Thirsty Camel, and the Ocean View Fishing Pier-are able to stay open and serve alcohol until 2 am. They are all owned by the Boone family, which owns property throughout Ocean View…and who happened to donate $500 to Winn’s last campaign. Police have been called 20 times to Greenies since January, and the bar has been cited for 15 fire code violations.

Meanwhile, Mojo Bones-literally, across the street!-has had the police appear once for a stolen bicycle, and no fire code violations. But Greenies is the “standard” that Mojo Bones is supposed to live up to?

So, I propose this: for all the restaurants that opened prior to 1992, and for those with current exceptions to the no-alcohol policy, let’s get the civic leagues to review their crime and inspection records each year. If a restaurant has too many police visits or fire code/safety/cleanliness violations in the space of a year, the leagues can recommend that their ability to sell alcohol be terminated for a period of time (or, if warranted, permanently).

The catch to this is that it will require a replacement for Winn who will truly represent the people, and is willing to put their desires beyond their own reelection prospects.

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Written by Coby Dillard

April 19, 2011 at 11:54 am

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