September 26, 2006
Thank you for writing about Blind Tiger Ale House. I am mystified that people were informed that the State Liquor Authority (SLA) denied the establishment's liquor license based on a letter from my office. While I appreciate the implied notion that a single letter from my office could have this effect, it is simply not the case.
I often hear from residents in opposition to either the oversaturation of liquor licenses or past behavior of a particular owner and try to take a balanced approach. I have written to the SLA in opposition to the granting of some of these liquor licenses, especially when I've received complaints or when an area is heavily impacted. Although I did write to the SLA regarding Blind Tiger Ale House, I am not aware of any instance when a single letter written by an elected official has sufficient weight to cause the denial of a license.
Regardless, after making inquiries with the SLA, it seems clear that Blind Tiger was denied a liquor license based on misrepresentations provided in its application and because the establishment's proximity to a house of worship violates a strictly-interpreted state statute. I cannot imagine a situation in which the SLA could or would grant a liquor license that contradicts this statute.
Thank you again for writing to share your views with me.
<>Deborah J. Glick
To which I responded Dear Ms. Glick,
Thank you very much for your letter.
I am sure at this point you realize I am not alone amongst your constituents in wanting The Blind Tiger to have a liquor license. There is a petition here I am sure you are already aware of.
You seem to claim that although you have written a specific letter regarding the Blind Tiger to the SLA which the folks at The Tiger contend the SLA offered them as the primary reason for their denial, you wrote it knowing nothing about the establishment per se but as part of a series of general letters to the SLA regarding a general problem. If this is true, you have clearly missed the crux of my point entirely.
As far as your contention that there were “misrepresentations in their application,” without you providing said misrepresentations I must assume you are just politicking. I would very much like to know what they were and how many other small businesses in the area were cited for similar misrepresentations in the past and whether or not they were granted licenses.
As cloudy as your allusion to specific complaints is, I have to assume that none were made regarding the actual new Blind Tiger at its current location. If, however, there were I would hope you would have disregarded them since The Blind Tiger has no track record at this location and any complaints would therefore be speculative and based on prejudiced assumptions. With your personal past and being someone upholding our innocent until proven guilty method of government, I assume the dismissal of such unfounded complaints would come naturally.
As far as your claim that a government body wouldn’t weigh the input of a government official so heavily, I will simply look past this as an attempt at some kind of “little old me” defense that rings false. You considered yourself important enough to write a letter to the SLA in the first place; to be surprised it had an effect seems disingenuous.
The contention “the establishment's proximity to a house of worship violates a strictly-interpreted state statute. I cannot imagine a situation in which the SLA could or would grant a liquor license that contradicts this statute,” is absurd and only serves to highlight the Assembly’s poor performance up to this point. The establishment at this location prior to The Blind Tiger had a liquor license, as do many of the establishments between The Blind Tiger and the local house of worship.
You work for me and as your employer, the taxpayer, I expect far more from you on our community level than blanket opinions on anything, especially something as significant to the success of a small business as a liquor license. One of the few businesses left in New York, especially in our little part of it, that local people still open are restaurants, and due to the cost of food, the prevailing market for it, and real-estate in our community there is no small business plan for a restaurant that survives let alone thrives without the markups that are available on beer, wine, and liquor.
If you want to represent me well, as well as have my vote in your next running, not only will you ask the SLA to ignore your previous letters, you will do your best to judge on a case by case basis the small businesses trying to start in our community. You can start by joining me for a coffee at The Blind Tiger so we can discuss this supposed threat to the standards so well upheld in our community.
To which I responded
Dear Ms. Glick,