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Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Newsletter about the City Council meeting of May 7, 2013 -- Addendum on Beer sales during Sails Music Series

2. Request Approval to Modify the Special Event Permit for Sails Music Series. - Music Series represents Hickory’s Life. Well Crafted. Brand, and providing local beer crafted in Hickory fits the brand print and is similar to local farmers as vendors at the Downtown Hickory Farmers Market. An opportunity has risen that would allow OHB to serve its crafted beer during the Sails Music Series under the Sails on the Square in Downtown Hickory. A designated area will be provided for the boundary of the area where beer is allowed while still ensuring that the event is open to all ages. OHB staff is responsible for carding and serving the beverages to those over 21 years of age. Hickory Police Department and city staff will be present and monitor the event which is 5:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. on Friday nights in May and June.

In looking at the second Departmental Report this evening, members of the CEG are curious as to whether any "Request for Bid" process took place involving beer sales for your "Sails on the Square Music Series."And thank goodness that we are able to speak about this before you give it your "Departmental Report" rubber stamp, because once again there is a smell in the air of favoritism and we aren't speaking per se against the Olde Hickory Brewery.

How many other vendors would have liked to have had the opportunity to sell beer on Union Square? And isn't it funny that the Hickory Alive series has been cut back in which the Jaycees sell beer, in favor of creating an opportunity and lining the pockets of another chosen favorite Union Square business owner. Yes, this stinks to high heavens.

We all know there was no open bid process, we wonder what other vendors will think when they find this out. Once again the city redefines competition. How do we know that the City is getting the best deal? We don't fully understand how the money works on this deal. Is Olde Hickory Brewery's fees helping to offset the cost of the music groups? How much is it costing to hire the musical talent?

A member of our group attended last week's event, the wine shop was busy with patrons and there were even people who brought a picnic. The attendance was sparse due to the inclement weather and the music group had some difficulties due to that.

One final thought, this type of programming is good, it just needs to be paid for by the people who benefit -- the businesses on Union Square. The same type of programming could have been taking place long ago without this expensive use of Taxpayer monies. Public funding for private benefit seems to be the theme of the city's public-private quote-unquote "partnerships". As the weather improves, we are sure that these musical events will be successful.

Council initially passed and authorized the sell of beer 4 to 3 with Alderman Lail being the most vocal against and then Alder Fox spoke up that she didn't think it was fair that businesses on Union Square get charged and OHB wouldn't have to pay and then Alderman Guess wanted to know about the public safety concerns.

It seemed that the Mayor was not comfortable that it was going to be 4 to 3 decision, then he changed his mind and stated it was because of the public safety concerns, then there was more discussion with Alderman Meisner about what the other businesses were paying that had dining on the Square, so then he fell in line and the Mayor rescinded his vote and after a little more discussion they voted 6 to 1 against the Departmental Report with only Alder Patton maintaining her vote for it.

The Hound: We don't have anything against these guys making money, but the process needs to be legit and the policies need to be equitable. That is the reason why we are called the Citizens For Equity in Government. That is Equity for everyone from the top to the bottom. We aren't looking for equal outcomes. We are looking for everyone to have a fair shot. And these little insider games are what is wreaking havoc from the dirt roads in this county to Union Square to the Tarmacs at all of our Airports to the Monumental Mausoleums in Raleigh and Washington. This is cronyism. 

A red flag went up when they said, "To our knowledge, we don't know if their are any other Craft Brewers that have this license." That means that they didn't research this and anyway others need to know the opportunity exists. That doesn't mean that OHB doesn't get the contract fair and square. It means that the process is legit and goes to the best provider and is in the public interest.

And then we come to the money. Zero... and we have an alderman pontificating about them losing money. LOGIC... if money wasn't to be made, then the Jaycees wouldn't be involved in beer sales during Union Square Events. These guys really don't understand Food and Beverage. The cost of these beers will be $4 or $5. They will pay their employees between $100 (2) and $200 (4) to man the station at most and there will probably be a tip jar out there for a few more bucks, depending on how successful. They can easily sell at a minimum 250 beers and maybe double that or more. They could afford to pay $100 per event to sell this beer.

Speaking of which, $25 a month for the restaurants down there to feed Patrons outside? That seems awfully cheap. How about $100 per month for Spring, Summer, and half of Fall and don't charge them in the Winter, And if you need to expand the dining space out there, then do it. And the monies collected should be reinvested into Union Square. All we are saying is that the Square needs to be responsible for the Square. Why is the whole public buying bands on top of the cost of the Million Dollar Structure that has to be maintained ad infinitum? When do the beneficiaries kick in to the kitty?

All we are saying is give Peace and Fairness a chance.

1 comment:

Harry Hipps said...

If you go back a little further, we will remember that the Mayor, mainly but other council members had to disparage the Hickory Jaycees who had done Hickory Alive for a long time and suggest they were responsible for gangs of kids and problems with the event.

If council wants other or additional events on Union Square that is a legitimate issue to bring up, buy I don't see why they can't be professional about it instead of the attacks on a good organization and then the back scratching we see.

Hickory brewers should receive local support as any local business should. But can we not do without the attacks on groups or individuals who aren't as cozy with the politburo. And a little professionalism on letting the public know about opportunities the city may present would be just a dandy way to run a city.