Madison’s MNA Board Should Not Promote Drunkenness

The Marquette Neighborhood Association Board has hit a new low. With a neighborhood that is overwhelmed with drinking establishments, along with the knowledge that too many of our community have clearly observable drinking problems, the news from the MNA this week was truly stunning.

Here is how they promoted what they call the Drunk in Public Picking Up Litter.

DIPPUL (Drunk In Public Picking Up Litter) Event Saturday, June 26 
MNA will be co-sponsoring DIPPUL, a bar-crawl-meets-neighborhood-trash-pickup-party, in our neighborhood from 1:00-5:00pm this Saturday. Bags, picker-uppers and safety gear will be supplied. Just bring yourself and a “do good” attitude. Meet at (bar not named on this blog post) at 1 pm to pick up supplies and get started. Midway stop will be at (also not named here) and the event ends at (yet another bar). Discounted drinks on offer at each establishment. 

There is no way to take any comfort in the design of this pub crawl being about trash pickup. The fact is that once again Wisconsin culture proves that everything needs to revolve around drinking. What message does that send to our youth? Equally important what does this drinking afternoon say about our neighborhood? About the Board?

In 2020 a posting on the local neighborhood listserv painted the picture with data about the drinking problems we face locally.

Here then are the findings of this most progressive place in Madison.  As the compilator of the numbers alerted readers on the neighborhood listserv the data is 95% accurate.

Did you know that the Marquette neighborhood has 6,105 residents in 2010, (12.2 % of which were age 17 or younger)? Knocking off the under age 17 leaves 5,360 residents.

Did you know that there currently exists 4,431 seats where one can get a drink in the neighborhood (plus event places including Elks, Sylvee, Old Sugar’s event space)?   

Did you know that of those alcohol seats, there are 2,458 where one can be entertained (1,514 of those seats are on E Washington)?  That no Williamson Street entertainment establishment has a capacity greater than 99 (now that Prism is gone)?

4,735 capacity for drinking

2,302 capacity for primarily drinking/entertainment

1,822 capacity for licensed entertainment establishments

Before I venture further I should say that I am a Wisconsinite, having lived here all my life.  In many ways my life has mirrored that of other men my age who grew up here.  I came from a middle class family, attended public schools, and had dreams of being an astronaut when a kid. But somewhere in high school I realized I was different in one real black and white way.  I did not drink.  For me that meant I did not attend the drinking parties at the gravel pit in Hancock. 

From what I came to understand during Monday morning’s ‘show and tell’ time the best parties were located at the pit late at night only a few miles from my home. I still recall that at the time I never thought I was missing anything even though I was assured quite the opposite was true.

In simpler terms, unlike many of my peers back then I never grew up thinking that drinking was an activity all by itself.

I know I am not the only one who finds the drinking culture in Wisconsin troublesome, and yet at times I feel like an island on the issue.  To be frank and honest about it I think the drinking culture is embarrassing.  I would rather our state be touted for stem cell research and the home of Lynn Fontanne than endless drunken parties and Milwaukee beer.

To think that my views might be so different had I only been a participant at the gravel pit those many years ago.  I too might see drinking as an activity in and of itself.

Which is another way to say thanks to my mom and dad for keeping tabs on me as a teenager.

I am never sure what makes people want to waste a life in a bottle or glass.  I feel like I never have a day to waste or a time that I do not want to recall down the road. Good days or bad ones.  Being an adult requires being able to cope with life sober-minded. There are also professionals to talk with at points in life when issues need to be addressed.  When both of my parents died I reached out to talk with someone who allowed me to understand grief and work through it.  I never had a single drink at either of their passings.  In fact, that notion never even crossed my mind.

What I do know is the data shows what impact sitting for hours with a bent elbow does to society.  I wish my college-educated and progressive neighborhood would grasp that fact, too.

And so it goes.

Madison Neighborhood Idea Equally Bad In North Dakota

I have pressed the Marquette Neighborhood Association Board, during the term of former President Lynn Lee, to create a cleaner, more open, and transparent process of conducting business.  One item I often wrote about on the public listserv in the neighborhood concerned the vote tallies for the annual meeting not being made public.  I was told that no such data would be made public.  The vote totals from ballots cast by the dues-paying members would be kept secret.  Only the winners’ names would be announced.

This past week’s news about a similar desired behavior in North Dakota has created a stir for those concerned about anti-transparency outcomes.  Their state senate passed a bill (43-3) that aims to forbid election officials from disclosing how many actual votes are cast for each candidate in future presidential elections.  But, unlike the MNA Board, they would disclose them after the Electoral college had convened to select an official victor.  We can clearly see the lunacy and danger from the move in ND that was supported by all the GOP members and opposed by all the Democratic members of the chamber.

Since there is not some raucous emotional event now taking place within the MNA means it would be the right time to have the Board make the change about releasing vote totals at future general meetings when electing new board members.   Transparency is a good thing.  We also know what it looks like and the reaction we have when it is continually, and purposely, undermined.

It goes without saying that withholding vote totals, be it on the Madison isthmus or the flatlands of North Dakota, rightly raises suspicions in the minds of voters about what actually occurred in the election.

I pointed out to Lee many times, when trying to get the Board to understand the simple concept, that voters do question the accuracy of the outcomes without vote totals for the ones running for election. Having much enjoyed civics education in my youth and using it as an adult presses home the most salient argument for releasing vote totals. How can there be a public filled with confidence about an election, the handling and counting of ballots, or the listing of board winners if there are no numbers against which to verify the process?

And so it goes in the Marquette Neighborhood and North Dakota!

Most Divisive Member Of MNA Board Resigns

There was a sign today that perhaps some degree of normalcy can again be found at a time in our city, state, and nation when choas and deliberate undermining of established norms seems to be the rule. It was announced today that Marquette Neighborhood Association Board member Lynn Lee is resigning from MNA as of the annual meeting.

My desire for a more open and transparent process with how the Board needed to operate was very much different from how Lee viewed his elected duties. I had pressed the Board, during the terms when Lee was president, to create a cleaner, more open, and transparent process of conducting business.  For instance, I wrote on the public list-serv in our neighborhood that the vote tallies for the annual meeting should be made public.  Lee, in one of his usual defensive modes, stated that no such data would be made public.  The vote totals from ballots cast by the dues-paying members would be kept secret.

I had also urged that the votes cast by Board members during monthly board meetings be tallied and made public. Crickets….

In 2019 Lee was defeated for his bid to remain on the Board. But with machinations that would make an autocrat proud he was appointed to the new Board. 

Over the years this neighborhood has witnessed the norms, practices, and standards of the MNA Board continually lowered, to the point there is a loss of faith in the organization, and open derision and scorn of some of the sitting members. The list-serv is proof of the feelings of many in the association. That is a very sad outcome.

I am truly hoping with the news of Lee’s departure that this can be a stepping stone for needed reforms and a renewal of purpose and shared community spirit within this organization.

“Disaster for MNA”, “Lawsuit….Should Be Filed Quickly” Furor Over Cancellng Election For Lynn Lee and Jen Plants

Partly cloudy skies dominate Madison today so what accounts for the crashing sound of thunder heard throughout Madison’s Marquette Neighborhood?  The answer can be found in the breaking of the By-laws by the Marquette Neighborhood Association Board last night in a meeting where, as one lawyer posted on the local listserv, Wisconsin law was broken.

So not only did the Board violate the Bylaws, but in violating the Bylaws, they also violated state law.

That was followed by another lawyer posting “A lawsuit to have the adopted motion set aside should be filed quickly to improve its likelihood of succeeding.”

The Board voted to extend the appointment of Lynn Lee and Jen Plants for another year rather than open their positions for a vote in October.  In addition, the Board turned down the suggestion that their appointments be kept to one year as specified in the By-laws.  It needs to be noted for my readers that what was offered was not a suggestion – it is the law. 

And the law was not followed.

While one lawyer provided the Midwestern balm that, “a lawsuit should be avoided if possible, so other steps need to be taken more quickly” it needs noting the behavior of this Board has become more reckless and less accountable to the membership with the passage of time.  While it might be nice to consider less drastic action than a lawsuit, the fact is proven time and again this MNA Board will operate without regard to even now, the law.

There are also questions being raised as to what role the city will play in an intervention to undo the illegal actions the Board took last night.

There is not a record made of the aye and nay votes cast by board members on the matters which appear on the agenda at meetings.  How does anyone, as an example, come to a reasonable conclusion who merits another term on the board if the votes cast on a liquor license or development project are not made public?  Yet that is how the MNA Board acts.

When it comes to the annual meetings for the election of board members there is no public tally of how many votes each person received.  The only way we know is that our local alder leaks the tally and it makes its way throughout the emails of the interested parties.

And to make matters worse when the listserv is notified that the above lapses of the board are needing attention either the excuses pour forth or smug arrogance takes over.  When it is pointed out that there is no governing board that does not disclose vote tallies about agenda items to its members then-president Lynn Lee responded that one needs to “show up for the meetings”.

There is also the over-used line the board members are all volunteers and the implication that somehow negates their responsibilities since they have families, etc.  I know the line my mom would use as a rejoinder about completing what you signed up to do!  You probably had a parent or grandmother who said the same.

Often on this blog, I have noted the discussion over process is not sexy.  Many simply do not care.  But a sound process is vital to any governing body.  Even a quasi-governmental one such as this Board.

This is another blazingly clear example as to why it is imperative for an open process to be undertaken by the Board.  EVERY vote taken by the Board should be recorded with the ayes and nays noted, and the names of the members which cast their vote so noted.  No one should need to ask what the outcome was, or permission to know! The continual erosion of an open, transparent, and fair process by this Board has been called out for years, and now we have the latest, and obviously most blatant example, of what happens when we allow for such activity because ‘they are volunteers.’ 

Each new episode that occurs is more troubling and concerning than the last disaster.  When will the membership get serious about demanding accountability and nothing other than a complete and open process that the Board must follow?

And so it goes.

Marquette Neighborhood Assn. Bd. Perfecting Bad Governance

Once again the Marquette Neighborhood Association Board showcased their disdain for a proper process of governance.  This time they couched their shameful antics in the guise of a pandemic urgency.   At least they are staying current with the times as an excuse for their behavior.  They usually just act rashly with no cause given.

The agenda notice for Monday night’s meeting, which was sent to the membership via the listserv with about 12 hours advance notice, contained a most disturbing item.

“Motion to have our two appointed board members serve the full term of the board members they are replacing. (See attached)”

That there was not an attachment provided at the time is par for the course with this group.

This evening the news flashed around the neighborhood of what this blogger had expected all day.  The MNA Board voted to extend the appointment of Lynn Lee and Jen Plants for another year rather than open their positions for a vote in October.  In addition, the Board turned down the suggestion that their appointments be kept to one year as specified in the By-laws.  It needs to be noted for my readers that what was offered was not a suggestion it is the law. 

And the law was not followed!

Limiting the appointments to one year would have made for 8 seats up for election in October. With this decision, the two appointed seats will not be open for a vote by the membership in October.

To the heart of the matter is the fact this motion is in direct contradiction to the By-laws.  The two Board members were appointed by the Board President.  That was due to the most embarrassing fiasco of a general membership meeting in the history of the organization.  That is not hyperbole, but words that came from the lips of a very long-term citizen of this neighborhood.

In 2019 Board President Lynn Lee was defeated for his bid to remain on the Board. But with machinations that would make an autocrat proud he was appointed to the new Board.  The tally from Madison alderwoman Marsha Rummel, an impartial counter at the election, shows the results from the membership balloting.

20191025_214848-002

While the sitting president can make appointments the By-laws only permit the appointment until the next annual meeting.

“(g) have authority, in the event of a vacancy on the Board of Directors due to loss of qualification to be a board member, resignation, removal or death of a board member during his or her term, to appoint a new member, whose household or business is a member of the Corporation, to fill the vacancy until the annual meeting next following the date on which the vacancy arose, provided that: …”

The ‘reasoning’ for the unprincipled motion was based on COVID, which in part reads,  “WHEREAS, stability and continuity of MNA business is best served by having the appointed Directors serve the full term; this being especially urgent as MNA confronts the crisis caused by a global pandemic.”

One might think this Board, based on their own words, are staffing emergency rooms and holding hands of the infected.  They have instead set up a front lawn sculpture contest and tonight held forth at the meeting on the idea of a summer scavenger hunt.  The use of a pandemic which has killed 140,000 in our nation, so to further their aims with this motion is deplorable. 

The spin of the Board about the need to deprive the membership of their right to vote based on COVID is complete hogwash, as my grandfather might term it.  That is because of the fact a two-year term was already being discussed at the Board meeting in December 2019 where the two people were appointed.  As was noted in an on-line comment today from the December regular meeting:  “She [Board President Anita Krasno] has decided to that for now their terms [the two appointed Board members] are one year each, but there may be some reasonable adjustment to that to get us back on track.”

As with so much that takes place with the Board, it all comes down to the contortions and spinning that they feel needs to be taken at any given moment so to make their undermining of governance seem less galling.

Over the years this neighborhood has witnessed the norms, practices, and standards of the MNA Board continually lowered, to the point there is a loss of faith in the organization, and open derision and scorn of some of the sitting members.  That is a very sad outcome.  Using the pandemic to further foster unprincipled and egregious actions of the kind resulting from the 2019 annual meeting, now adds to the dismay many feel about this current Board.

What is sad to so many is that as of late the outcomes from this Board are as likely to culminate in something bad for the neighborhood as it will in something positive. We need to have better batting averages from our local association!  When an item like this motion lands so late for public notice that it does not allow for full vetting by the membership it underscores why there is a growing awareness that the power being exerted by some on the Board is for personal gain, and not for the betterment of the neighborhood, which we all thought was the reason they wished to be on the Board in the first place.

We read about illiberal democracy—as it is termed—in places like Italy, Poland, Philippines,  Brazil., and even in our nation, and wonder how the undermining of a governing process and diligence to standards and norms ever are allowed to grow to the point they make for national and international headlines.  We now can see with the actions and antics that took place today—in our own neighborhood–how it starts.

This area prides itself on idealism and some higher values, but that is all just malarkey as at the end of the day we allow for this chicanery (and worse) to prevail.  Denying that By-laws exist for a reason has consequences.  Some folks may see what happened today as a small thing, and those who carry water for the interested party tonight will try to fluff this all off.  But for the rest of us, we have had a front-row lesson on how the larger headlines about illiberal democracy begin.

And so it goes.

Madison Restaurants Do Not Deserve Special Treatment During COVID-19

A local person in the Marquette Neighborhood wrote a letter to elected officials in Madison and across Dane County, and made it public on a listserve, trying to argue the following.

The ban on even low-percentage indoor service in restaurants will strip our vibrant city of its unique culture and put many out of business and out of work.

Wow.

I responded and explained why the assertion was ridiculous.

The only way to move forward during this pandemic is to use daily tracking data and follow the professional advice from doctors and scientists. This virus has negatively impacted everyone around our nation.  From the NCAA having dreams dashed, upcoming Broadway stars not standing in the limelight, and so many who graduated from high school and college this year not being properly recognized.  It needs to be stated the restaurant industry in Madison is not any more important, or impacted to any larger degree, then countless others around the nation.

Opening restaurants, regardless of the percentage of capacity, is not the issue if there is not the belief among the citizenry that it is safe to go to such establishments.  And the fact is, it is not safe at this point with this virus.   When there are so many people walking without masks in the city, or congregating and forgoing social distancing, it raises a serious question.  If people are not mindful of their behaviors when not at work why should there be a belief they would be more respectful at their place of employment?

We all have a regard for our favorite places, be it a restaurant or a local symphony, but until the medical data and the advice from professionals allows people to feel safe with some degree of certainty in not becoming infected then it does no good to ask for restaurants to have any more capacity or privileges. 

And so it goes.

Marquette Neighborhood Association Board’s Secret Emails Shine Light On Cloudy Process

Today the Marquette Neighborhood Association listserve had the following message posted from a resident.  We can be glad that someone made an error in sending the email out, and that it landed in the box of a person who then alerted the rest of the community.

I post it in its entirety, as this once again goes to to the core concerns I have about the MNA Board.  Lack of an open and fair process regarding matters which take place in the neighborhood.  The email dialogue that was hidden from the membership–until now–about matters than impact the place we call home.

I woke this morning to a chain of emails—I am not certain that I was meant to be reading along since I am not generally ‘in the loop’, but what I did get was disturbing.  I am struck by the notion that we need good, clean, fair elections where the results are respected in every level of government, including at the neighborhood level.  Read along with me as I break down what I saw this morning.

My Analysis:

Below is a recent string of listserv/email communications.  I find this string troubling in the following respects:

  1. When the MNA Board communicates with the Alder, should those communications be private?  (As you get toward the bottom, that issue seems to be the main concern on the part of at least two Board members.)  If a Board member is communicating as a member of the Board, that member is communicating on behalf of the neighborhood, so the neighborhood is, in my opinion, entitled to know what is being said.  (I remind people also that everything sent to Marsha is subject to an open records request.)  As a side thought, is the MNA Board under the impression that Marsha is just another member of their elite club and not responsible to her constituents?
  2. Call it what you like, but how much bullying should Board members be able to engage in?  Jack has done this before (think P&D “has become a temperance movement”), without any apparent censure from the Board, or at least not any effective censure.
  3. To what extent should committee chairs be required to add items to the agenda?  Lynn, back when he was still president (and a member of the executive team, which he isn’t currently? ), said:

I reminder to everyone on the [P&D] committee, 

Jack Kear is Chair of the committee and as chair,

he is the one responsible for setting the agenda, adding to it,

and is responsible for sending it out to the neighborhood.

This is how all the MNA committees are run.

  1. Is the neighborhood having a say at Landmarks important?  In the past, Landmarks was more responsive to neighborhood concerns than the Plan Commission – though that may have changed under the new Comprehensive Plan.

On March 12, Linda posted the following on the listserv:

The former MTI building on the 800 block of Williamson is proposed for demolition.  The developer, Brandon Cook, is looking to replace the MTI building with a 3-story mixed-use building.  This also requires the combination of 2 lots (totaling 97.5 feet of frontage on Willy).  24 apartments (8 efficiency, 13 one BR, 3 two BR), 1,040 sq ft of commercial space, and 18 underground parking stalls.

This will be at the Landmarks Commission on Monday, 3/16.  It has not had any neighborhood review.  The P&D chair said on Monday that “I spoke to the architect on Friday and they are not prepared to join our agenda tomorrow evening [3/10] so we will see them in April …”  Yet, they were able to submit revised plans to the City that were added to Legistar on 3/11.

On March 13, Jack sent the following to Marsha, with copies to Anita Krasno and the developer (Brandon Cook of John Fontain Realty)—though one has to question why he sent this to Brandon:

Marsha-

I have just been informed of comments Linda has made on the listserv:

The former MTI building on the 800 block of Williamson is proposed for demolition. The developer, Brandon Cook, is looking to replace the MTI building with a 3-story mixed-use building. This also requires the combination of 2 lots (totaling 97.5 feet of frontage on Willy). 24 apartments (8 efficiency, 13 one BR, 3 two BR), 1,040 sq ft of commercial space, and 18 underground parking stalls.

This will be at the Landmarks Commission on Monday, 3/16. It has not had any neighborhood review. The P&D chair said on Monday that “I spoke to the architect on Friday and they are not prepared to join our agenda tomorrow evening [3/10] so we will see them in April …” Yet, they were able to submit revised plans to the City that were added to Legistar on 3/11.

Linda

When she writes “It has not had any neighborhood review” she is blatantly lying. Brandon Cook came before the P&D committee not once but twice (July ’19, Sept ’19) and his visits were to not only present possible designs but to take input from neighbors on what people wanted to see become of that space. It was for many committee members a rare consideration from a developer. Furthermore, Linda’s statement about them submitting revised plans added to Legistar on 3/11 implies that there is some kind of backroom agreement between them and myself postponing neighborhood interaction. In fact, I gave the development team 4 days notice of our committee meeting and the architect was going to be out of town that evening. Simple. 

This project is on the agenda for us next month. It is unfortunate that we cannot hear it prior to Landmarks but that happens with many proposals. 

I wanted you to know this because the spin is quite biased. With this project, Mr. Cook has already demonstrated good faith to the neighborhood, not the other way around. We look forward to hearing his more complete plans in April.

Thank You,

Jack 

 

On March 17, Linda was made aware of this email and sent the following to Jack, with copies to Marsha and the MNA Board:

Jack,

Let’s see … I am “blatantly lying” and I am implying “that there is some kind of backroom agreement between [the developer] and [you] postponing neighborhood interaction” and my spin is “quite biased.”  Wow.

Yes, Brandon came and had a general discussion with P&D.  (I only find that Mr. Cooke was at the July P&D meeting – he was not on the September agenda.)  Did P&D review actual plans?  No.  Did P&D have the opportunity to comment on the plans submitted to the City that were due to come before Landmarks this past Monday?  No.  (Not that it matters at this moment since Landmarks was cancelled.) 

Should the neighborhood have a chance to review the actual plans before a City Commission meeting?  I would say yes.  If a developer cannot get a representative to the meeting, should P&D discuss the matter anyway?  I would say yes.  And Jack, I quoted your language:  “they are not prepared to join our agenda tomorrow evening.”  So if the architect could not attend, there are other architects in the firm, or Mr. Cook could have attended.  By not having a neighborhood perspective to provide to the Landmarks Commission, the neighborhood loses a good opportunity to try and get a project that is a good fit for the neighborhood.  And, Jack, based on your explanation of “they are not prepared”, it certainly seemed odd that they could file updated plans the following day.  I certainly was not implying that you had any backroom deal.

Perhaps next time before besmirching a neighbor, you, as a Board member, could take a few minutes and think about whether there is a perspective different from your own that might have its own validity.  The one thing I said that you took issue with is “it has not had any neighborhood review.”  And I stand by that –the plans did not have any review.  As to your statement that many proposals go before Landmarks without being heard by the neighborhood, I disagree.  I cannot think of a major development that went to Landmarks without neighborhood review – and they should not.

Linda

On March 17, Lynn sent the following to Marsha, with copies to Linda and the Board:

If I am following this correctly, Jack sent his concerns to Marsha,

and Marsha forwarded his email to Linda?

Is this correct Marsha?

This matters, the MNA Board cannot trust if we send our concerns to our Alder, 

they will not be shared.

On March 17, Jack sent this to Lynn and Linda, with copies to Marsha and the Board:

Oh Linda, you will spin anything any time. I stand by my statements.

Marsha, the board now knows everything we need to about communicating with you.

On March 17, Marsha replied to Jack, Lynn and Linda, with a copy to the Board:

I did not forward Jack’s comments to anyone. I responded to him and thanked him for the background info he provided and let him know I had met with Brandon and his architect and set up a neighborhood meeting.  That’s it.

On Monday, I emailed Brandon and Preservation Planner Heather Bailey to say that I agreed with staff recommendation for referral at Landmarks and due to Covid-19 crisis, I was cancelling the neighborhood meeting and asked that the referral be indefinite until I could conduct a proper neighborhood meeting. I will share that email with all of you.

Marsha

Austin Carl’s Canopy Nightclub Still Not Ready For Prime Time

This blog has already weighed in why Austin Carl’s idea for a large dance club in a residential Madison neighborhood was met with much concern.

Seriously, who would make the case for being a business owner in this way?

Carl (age 25) said while he doesn’t have a business background, he had positions in the Army which have prepared him to operate a club. He ran and maintained an arms room in a secure facility, where he said he had to track hundreds of millions of dollars worth of equipment.

There have been news stories aplenty about Carl’s idea–including one that made for a national late-night comedy show–that underscores why there is no enthusiasm among the locals for his plan.

But like every process in governing, there are avenues where bridges can be attempted and new presentations made to garner support.  That was to have been the case this week for a meeting with the local neighborhood association committee which oversees these issues.   Carl was on the agenda and folks wondered for days what new proposal was about to unfold.

Carl showed up on Tuesday to a meeting of MNA’s Preservation and Development Committee and made one final pitch for public support.

It didn’t work.

Carl did not bring sufficient documentation detailing changes to his business plan to satisfy anyone in attendance and, therefore, he will not have the influential neighborhood association’s support in seeking ALRC approval next week. 

The committee was unable to vote because no one in attendance thought any information Carl presented was any different than what they had seen at previous meetings.

(Alderwoman Marsha)Rummel said Carl appeared to be vastly unprepared for this venture.

Then to make sure the meeting was not a total bust for those attending there was some humor added.  There is no way to make this up–so let us return to the reporter’s account.

In one of the most striking moments of Tuesday’s meeting, a resident detailed the frustrations neighbors experienced during the Plan B/Prism era and asked Carl what his plan was for dealing with neighbors who may be bothered by loud music coming from his business.

“I have two assistant general managers that I have on the security plan, I believe, and they will be open to phone calls,” Carl said. “I put Mrs. Rummel’s phone number on there, Ald. Rummel. I will be posting those phone numbers on the window so people can, if they have any complaints, I found it important that they can contact her.”

Rummel sat flabbergasted as other residents let out audible gasps and chuckles.

Near the end of his presentation, Carl excitedly invited the attendees to check out Canopy at the open house on Sunday. He offered to turn on some music and pour everyone a drink.

“How are you going to pour us a drink, Austin?” one resident exclaimed. “You don’t have a license!”

“I will happily pour you a cup of soda then!” Carl replied cheerfully. 

I wish to reiterate what I wrote weeks ago about Carl.  It still holds true as he seems like a nice guy.  

I like to always support the dreams and aspirations of others.  We all have dreams and need encouragement. But the lack of Carl having any of the needed background and experience to operate a nightclub where alcohol will be sold as fast as drinkers swallow means the needs of the neighborhood must rise above his current wishes.

And so it goes.