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Grinchy Neighborhood News

As Chris and I were coming home from a holiday outing I was reminded of the plans one of our New Holly neighbors shared with the community e-mail list to start a wine bar in the newish retail storefronts that are currently sitting empty or under-used in the area where my car was wrecked during the renovation (and the city, the SHA, the construction company and the subcontractors all gave me the run around until I gave up on getting any compensation). The construction is now long over, the area is being “revitalized” and there are opportunities for business. Aaron wanted to open a wine bar but was meeting resistance from the SHA (owners of the building) who decided they didn’t want “that kind” of business in their building…after Anthony had gotten an initial okay and pitched his proposal.

Members of the community complained and the SHA rethought their decision and Anthony moved forward. The project reached the stage of applying for a liquor license and again some of us joined in a campaign of letter writing for support. My letter of support is in the official record.

Apparently someone else had the same idea this season, as I came home to an e-mail from another member of our community asking the same question I’d been wondering, “How’s the wine bar coming?”

Dead. Dead before it even began because the co-owner of the building, the medical clinic that is housed there, refused to even consider the proposal. Refused to even meet with our community member to talk about it. Flat no. The executive director did not want to “set a precedent” for (again) that kind of business. Among the expressions of regret and support was a message from another community member that I found very unfortunate, and that I hope is not a widespread feeling.

That member’s message supported the SHA/Medical Office decision and if it had ended there I could have written it off to mere disinterest or difference of opinion. Unfortunately the message was peppered with phrases that were distressingly condescending. People need to be “culturally and socially sensitive” when starting businesses. There are other (read better) businesses that would “add positively to the community” and “not repeat mistakes from past generations”. Basically, this wine bar (unlike the numerous run down skeevy bars and liquor-licensed restaurants along Martin Luther King already) would lead the members of our diverse (read includes the poor and brown) community down the road of the mistakes of the past (lives of drunkenness, sloth, and crime). Wow. That does sound really bad! We’d better do something to protect those poor people from such an eventuality… Our poster suggests his neighbor take this wine bar proposal over to Columbia City instead. (Because they’re much less diverse a mile to the east? Less likely to become alcoholic bums? Because Columbia City’s past is less tragic and full of mistakes?) Wow.

We already go to Columbia City or Georgetown for our fun. I guess that’s going to continue, while those who know better protect us from ourselves and determine that our community “rejuvenation” be confined to adding another Quiznos or something equally “positive” to our community. Ug.

Oh, and Merry Christmas.

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