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Several patrons wearing stickers that read "I Support Bluefoot" crammed into a meeting room in city hall on March 10. They were there to ask San Diego's planning commission to uphold the neighborhood use permit granted last December to North Park bar the Bluefoot Lounge.

Days after the city issued the permit, North Park resident Jaime Rosales filed an appeal.

Rosales claimed that the bar should not have a permit to serve distilled spirits because of zoning requirements, that Bluefoot negatively affects the health, safety, and welfare of the neighborhood, and that the owners failed to mitigate any negative impacts to the local residents.

The issues are not new and have been fermenting since the bar opened in 2006.

Neighbors say the bar's owners, Adam Cook and Cuong Nguyen, don't do enough to keep the drunken revelry from spilling out into their neighborhood. Cook, Nguyen, and their supporters say neighbors are targeting the bar and its patrons and are unwilling to work with them to find a solution.

Both sides stated their case throughout the six-hour hearing.

During public testimony, North Park resident Mark Nail, who lives near the corner of Upas and 30th Street, played commissioners a video of a fight between bar staff and unruly patrons that had poured out into the neighborhood one night.

"If you ask [Bluefoot's owners], there is no problem," Nail told commissioners. "In the past two years, Bluefoot's owners have made no effort to meet and improve this situation. Late at night, drunk patrons loiter in our neighborhood, smoke pot in our driveways, and urinate and defecate on our lawns."

Bluefoot's owners, Cook and Nguyen, say efforts to reduce the impacts to the neighborhood have gone unnoticed. They gave examples such as setting up late-night noise patrols and a hotline for neighbors to call with noise complaints.

"We've been here five years and they’ve done everything to try and shut us down," said Nguyen. "If our hours are reduced, it would be detrimental...we would have to shut down. We couldn't compete with the other bars."

The planning commissioners understood both sides but expressed frustration that nothing had been done to resolve the issues.

"Here we are two years later and we're having a similar meeting, hearing similar statements from the same people. I find it really disappointing," said Eric Naslund, chair of San Diego's planning commission.

In the end, the planning commission voted to amend the permit, allowing the bar to keep its current hours while reducing their permit to two years. Commissioners also recommended that neighbors and bar owners conduct meetings to find a solution before their permit expires in 2012.

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Founder March 11, 2011 @ 12:58 p.m.

Bluefoot Bar and Lounge will not be allowed in stay open later on Thursday nights until 2 AM, or to increase their hours of service on their sidewalk area as they requested. That was a partial "win" for local residents, who had urged the Commissioners to roll back the Bluefoot's hours to midnight every night of the week or at least keep their hours as they were...

The Owners also know now know that they will be under increased scrutiny, so they must step up their Late Night security, meet with local residents to discuss local issues, and do a much better job of running their business or the next Planning Commission Hearing may really go against them and that is only about 700 days away...

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escortalex March 11, 2011 @ 8:12 p.m.

What's wrong with the Planning Commission? During the ongoing push to expand their hours no matter how it impacts the neighborhood, the bar operators knew they were being watched. They were inspected four times in 2008, had TEN violations. (Look it up. Planning Commission Report PC-08-0112) Ten violations, and the bar continued to be in violation as the report was being prepared. Yet the Commissioners went ahead and rewarded them for multiple violations of their existing permit. Every time they were inspected, they were in violation. Attaboy!! Here's your new permit. I guess the question is, why did they even bother to get a permit, if there's no penalty for ignoring the conditions of same? The cops did their job, city inspectors did their job, the commission staff did their job, and the Planning Commission ignored everything. What the heck's going on here?

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Founder March 11, 2011 @ 9:36 p.m.

A Great question that demands an answer...

Perhaps the Independent Budget Analyst (IBA) can explain to the City Council that all these problems are costing the City BIG money that it doesn't have...

====

Here are 3 more Great questions that demand answers:

  1. Why did the entire question of the permit being granted IN ERROR in the first place, get buried in a bunch of legal mumbo jumbo; if the original permit was in error then why is the Planning Commission doing by allowing it to "stand"?

  2. How did the original mistake get made; (i.e., Who made it, was it "Political" and or how was it made)?

  3. Is the Planning Commission serving the public or just only those that appointed them; (i.e., How poorly does a Bar have to be to get it's hours of operation reduced by ONLY 4 hours a week)?

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ONOuDONT March 13, 2011 @ 2:22 p.m.

The mistake was made by Marsha Kollins, at DSD. You might remember that name--also associated with the Sunroad Building in Kearny Mesa--the one that was granted a permit for three stories higher than zoning allowed? Well, Marsha was the scapegoat for that mess, and thrown under the bus, never to darken DSD's doorway again. Meanwhile, ABC has issued the 48 license relying on wrong information. Marcella Escobar-Eck, and David Vega, both of DSD promised to have this issue resolved in a timely manner. Bluefoot was sent a 'Cease and Desist" order to stop serving distilled spirits, and I was personally told by Robert Vacchi, Director of Code Compliance, that fines would continue to mount until Bluefoot complied with that order. This is sometime in 2007, two years after they opened. That's when the whole NUP application came into play, with DSD to this day defending the erroneous approval of that first NUP in 2008, saying that took care of all the mistakes and cover-ups prior. Oh, and those Code Violation fines that Bluefoot would have to pay no matter what? Those miraculously went away with the approval of their NUP as well. So it has been CYA band-aid after CYA band-aid by every City development department, the Planning Commission, and ABC stands in the clear with it's issuance of a full 48 license because of all those cover-up CYA band-aids the city has defended, renewed, and refused to retract undoubtedly because of the fear of a lawsuit, and because we have a 'Strong Mayor" system now, and the Mayor has basically told every city agency "HANDS OFF THE LIQUOR ENTITY"

Is it any wonder the citizens have no faith in government? When the highest ruling body the people can appeal to ---The Planning Commission --- can view video of 1) the Doorman of Bluefoot beating people to the ground in the street, kicking them in the face, and inviting retaliation with guns by self proclaimed gang members, 2) witness a patron of Bluefoot throwing up repeatedly in front of a residents home, and then return to the bar, 3) patrons smashing a plate glass window just after leaving the bar, and 4) watch as the bar is cleared by security at 1:00 AM--a full hour before regular closing--and lock the doors and leave the crowd to finish their revelry in front of residents homes---- 5)have in-hand a petition signed by 150+ residents-- all in close proximity of the bar-- asking for a mere 4 hours a week that the bar close---Midnight on Friday and Saturday--- and they are completely disregarded, and the ruling is in favor of Bluefoot---because they wouldn't want to hurt their business----

Something is dreadfully wrong with our system and those that we trust to represent us.

I wonder what Jay Turner will have to say about the fantastic influence and draw that Bluefoot has had on this formerly 'horrible' end of 30th St. when the party atmosphere fostered by bars such as Bluefoot sends the area back into the blighted conditions of 20 years ago?

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BlueSouthPark March 13, 2011 @ 6:13 p.m.

All of the Planing Commissioners are appointed by Sanders. They are all in unity with Sanders and his business interests to do no harm to any business owners. Neighborhood residential complainers are to be ignored and considered as powerless morons, who do not know what is good for them. You can easily look at online resumes and profiles of the PC appointees. Most would view the old inner-city commercial-strip neighborhoods as slums and targets for infill, compared to the neighborhoods, distant from commercial areas, if not totally removed, in sterile cookie-cutter burbs (e.g., Commander Smiley, age 67), where they live. Most have aspirations to enhance their business and commercial interests with the city, or head orgs that are about development. One member is on the redistricting committee and blatantly profiles himself as hoping to redivide our council districts to enhance the Republican strength in elections. Losers. Sycophants. What right do they have to decide that bar owners can ruin neighborhoods? Go puke on their lawns.

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deserttrat March 13, 2011 @ 6:15 p.m.

Commissioner Smiley's daughter was there in support of Bluefoot. How crazy is that. He should have recused himself from the case. This is crazy. The community will not get any reprieve from this terrible situation until something terrible happens at the Bluefoot and the Planning Commissioners, except for Griswald, will have to blame themselves.

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BlueSouthPark March 14, 2011 @ 10:46 a.m.

deserttrat: If the Smiley daughter present at the hearing was Elizabeth (Beth), she's a CPA at Squar Milner. Squar Milner always has employees at the Urban Land Institute events for businesses and is very connected to the San Diego real estate development world. ULI's Executive Director, Mary McLellan Lydon, sits on the Planning Commission. OK?

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BlueSouthPark March 13, 2011 @ 6:33 p.m.

Wow, deserttrat. Why on Earth was his daughter there? That bears looking into. And I forgot to mention that the entire building is just so ugly I could puke. Ugly! Nothing in Nature was ever that color of dingy muck blue.

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SaferSanDiego March 13, 2011 @ 6:46 p.m.

These planning commissioners seem to be in the hip pocket of Sander's business interests. 6 months ago a convenience store was moving in PB in the worst census tract for alcohol crime in the city where there are already 65 alcohol licenses where only 10 are allowed and where DUIs are 4 times more than any other community in the city. The "convenience store" needed a conditional use permit to sell alcohol. The community wanted two conditions. 1 - no alcohol sales after midnight and 2 only 10% of the shelf space devoted to alcohol. The commissioners denied an appeal for those two conditions. Now the "convenience store" is filled to the brim with alcohol and sells it to 2 am in PB business district where drunk in public is a daily occurance. These planning commissioners don't know their responsibility to public safety. They need to be shamed.

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BlueSouthPark March 13, 2011 @ 7:29 p.m.

Well, they won't be ashamed; shamed...maybe, if enough people could be motivated to act. They are far too insulated for shame by The People and wouldn't be taking time away from their fundraisers and business get-togethers to read The Reader. And as you know, the Sanders regime flunkies don't usually talk to The Reader, just to the U-T and VoSD. So... what to do?

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BlueSouthPark March 13, 2011 @ 11:08 p.m.

Well, here's a start: The officers of Bluefoot are listed on the ABC license as CUONG PHU NGUYEN (Pres), MIRA RUOTSALAINEN-COOK (Secy/Asst Secy), and ADAM SCOTT COOK (Vice-Pres).

Mira is Adams' spouse, presumably, or otherwise related. And with a name as unique as MIRA RUOTSALAINEN-COOK, it's unlikely that it happens to be another Mira with the same name who works as an Environmental Planner for a company that has prepared Environmental Impact Reports for the City of San Diego Redevelopment Agency.

In one Oct 2002 Crossroads Redevelopment Project she is listed as working for Cotton/Bridges/Associates as Primary Preparer of the EIR. Well-known Planning Department employees Tracy Reed and Myra Herrmann are listed as members of the contributing City staff.

Small world of connected people. Planning people have worked professionally with one of the bar owners.

It's a clue, a small start?

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Founder March 14, 2011 @ 8:20 a.m.

BSP Great clue!

Here is possibly another:

Someone that has been around for a long time, emailed me that Toni Atkins got this zoning "change" pushed through DSD, through her "Old Girl" contacts in DSD but I have no direct knowledge of that myself, although the timing seems correct. If this is indeed correct, it would account for the reason for the "mistake" and why it was never really addressed by the City Council or the City Attorney...

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BlueSouthPark March 14, 2011 @ 8:52 a.m.

Further: A past House of Finland (one of the Balboa Park organizations) newsletter promoted the bars and businesses of Cook and Nguyen. "Ruotsalainen" is a Finnish name, and Adam and Mira Cook are HoF members.

Small world of insider-San-Diego gets smaller.

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BlueSouthPark March 14, 2011 @ 8:31 a.m.

Clue #2 as to why clueless Planning Commissioners won't touch Adam Cook and Cuong Nguyen:

Cook and Nguyen, as members and darlings of the Business Improvement Association (BIA) set, have solid ties to City Planning and to the Economic Development division. They will never lose any fight between residents and Planning officials.

BIAs make up the Business Improvement District (BID) loyalists, and come together as the BID Council. This program is very important to Sanders and William Anderson, Planning head. It cultivates Planning loyalists, giving them insider perks in return.

The BIAs are basically a third-party, tax- and assessment-collecting, private arm of San Diego goverment. Not only are BIAs allowed to collect and keep a tax on each business inside Association boundaries, on top of the City's business license tax, but they are also allowed to impose and keep property tax assessments on residences inside their boundaries.

What's more, as "hipster"-age business entrepreneurs, buying up decrepid properties and turning them into profitable decrepid drinking spots that get lauded in Citybeat, for example, Nguyen and Cook are immune from censure. They also own Café La Maze in National City, and have been written up as "young and aggressive business partners" and real estate investors in the U-T. A past Reader story about dive bars, which mentioned Cook and Nguyen (who would not return calls), began with a quote on economic realities: “No matter what happens,”... “no matter if the economy’s good or bad, you’ve got to drink.” The economy is bad. The City will not touch these shining young entrepreneurs.

Here's the glowing write-up from the El Cajon BIA newsletter, Fall 2009: "Adam Cook and Cuong Nguyen, owners of the Soda Bar, were both born and raised in San Diego and have a background in real estate. With the recent downturn in the economy, the two business partners saw an opportunity to diversify their assets by investing in small retail establishments in the up and coming neighborhoods of San Diego.

A few years back, they started off by opening the Bluefoot Bar and Lounge in North Park. The staff at the Bluefoot are made up of mostly local artists and musicians who have stuck with them since day one. ...

With the transition from Chasers, the dive bar which occupied the space where the Soda Bar is now located, Adam and Cuong wanted to keep prices low and retain that neighborhood bar feel. ... They also support the local art scene by featuring different artwork on their walls every month.

With the right staff, a great renovation, affordable prices, community dedication and excellent music, Adam and Cuong are applying all the right tools for long-term success."

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BlueSouthPark March 14, 2011 @ 9:02 a.m.

Also, from the Fall 2007 North Park Main Street (BIA) newsletter:

"The Woolworths Building (formerly the African Alliance) is undergoing remodeling. Owners Adam Cook and Cuong Nyugen intend to maintain most of the historic facade and hope to accommodate five new businesses."

That's curious. As of Sep 2010, the U-T reported:

"The old F.W. Woolworth Co. building that has sat vacant on University Avenue for two years could soon undergo a makeover.

The San Diego Redevelopment Agency is seeking proposals from developers to repurpose the 15,600-square-foot structure that it acquired last month for $1.95 million. The structure was identified as contributing to the historic character of the University Avenue commercial corridor by North Park Main Street, a nonprofit charged with revitalizing the area’s business improvement district and the historic heart of the community. The building had been purchased in early 2007 by owners who wanted to open a restaurant, but those plans never came to fruition."

Wonder how much Cook and Nguyen made or lost by selling to the RA for $1.95 million?

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BlueSouthPark March 14, 2011 @ 10:18 a.m.

This is a sidebar (no pun intended) to the bad bar issue...but... bottom line, Cook and Nguyen play with the big boys:

They lost a bit on their Woolworth bldg investment, on paper, anyway (tax-loss write-offs probably cover it)...Woolworth Bldg, 3067 University, was sold on 3/22 07 to Partage LLC/Partage Ventures LLC for $2 mill. The LLC is registered to wealthy Richard K Huang (also of Appletree Educational, with ties to a Nguyen family member).

The private ownership generated paltry taxes...is this because of Historic Designation? A paltry $2800/year on a $2.08 mill assessment. Sweet deal. But now, if you look at the SD Treasurer website for the parcel's APN, 4531520300, you'll see what happens when the Redev Agency owns a property. The county now collects zero taxes...bye-bye tax revenue, even if paltry.

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ONOuDONT March 14, 2011 @ 3:24 p.m.

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

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InOmbra March 14, 2011 @ 4:41 p.m.

Well, sort of sad. I'm not in the hipster-insider loop, but Adam, lovely Mira, and baby-face Cuong do have public pages showing their prettiness, coolness, and their beautiful-people friends, including Ms Studebaker.

You'd think they would have at least made the exterior of the ratty Bluefoot look like a place where they would be seen hanging out. Cook and his wife had lived in a beautiful, large house out in La Mesa since 2001, far, far, far from ugly puke bars, but defaulted last year and the house was sold at a trustee sale. Bad karma, bad luck, bad something....

Back to the bar wars, though: Cook and Nguyen will be very supportive of Studebaker's latest project, to re-ballot the NP MAD and impose new, bigger assessments on residential properties inside her NPMS commercial boundary. The NP MAD, under co-control of Park and Recreation and various community overseers, already GAVE Studebaker $10,000, and loaned her another $10,000, of NP MAD money for this purpose. That money is money straight from the local property owners' pockets. If you own a typical residential property, you now pay about $18/year on your property tax to the NP MAD. NPMS wants some of that action, for themselves. And it'll be more than $18/year. Pay attention. It's coming.

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Founder March 14, 2011 @ 5:49 p.m.

The second "overlay MAD dubbed "Safe & Clean" (which sounds like a douche) by NPMS without any input from residents, will be another money grab like the original MAD where the Business's get about 80% of the benefit but only pay in 20%...

That is why they do not want to scrap the original MAD and just re-ballot the entire thing, it is too good a deal to pass up.

Unless the Residential areas have their own Board watching their money I predict that most of the benefit will again go toward business as usual!

Here is another thought, perhaps the Business District should pay 100% of the new assessment since they are the ones that create the problems that the residents must be made "Clean & Safe" from...

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InOmbra March 15, 2011 @ 9:52 a.m.

Safe & Clean is creepy! But seriously, I think that Andy Field needs to be sure he is on solid legal ground, giving Studebaker $10K of the NP property assessment, and loaning another $10K that doesn't have to be repaid if the reballoting vote fails.

A reballoting of the entire NP district property owners failed in 2008, and the money spent on implementing that balloting and PR was wasteful. Phyllis Shess was devastated at the loss; she had appeared before Council to speak in favor of the reballoting, claiming that ~80% of the property owners were in favor of paying a higher, new assessment. Nowhere near that, when the vote went down.

Is Studebaker targeting ALL of the properties inside her BID area? I'm not hearing that she is targeting only properties in which a business is located. The assumption is that her NPMS will oversee the money. I don't know if Park and Rec will be involved, as in the NP MAD. Perhaps the Planning Dept group under Beth Murray, Economic Development, will be the City interface, with NPMS determining how the money is spent, and paying themselves 15-20% to do so.

I think there are issues here that could lead to lawsuits. Of course, Goldsmith will write a memo saying it's all legal. But. Just saying. Keep an eye on this.

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InOmbra March 14, 2011 @ 5:51 p.m.

Curious, ONO: if you were at the hearing, were there lots of people there? The Facebook page for Bluefoot posted this, and paid for a van, I guess:


THIS Thursday, March 10th, at 9am--Bluefoot is facing its FINAL hearing in the battle to renew our Neighborhood Use Permit! The support we had at the last meeting was incredible, and this is the final decision--PLEASE come to this meeting if you can!!

We've arranged for a van to take supporters downtown--there will be shuttles leaving...


What kind of van and how many people?

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ONOuDONT March 14, 2011 @ 3:49 p.m.

Another clue (maybe 1/2 a clue) re: North Park Main Street (BID)-Executive Director Liz Studebaker. That automatically puts her on the North Park Planning Committee Board, who DID recommend against Bluefoot's requested changes to their NUP renewal in November, but did so reluctantly, and only after residents introduced a letter from Vice Sergeant Linda Griffin stating that SDPD Vice was against any change in Bluefoot's operating conditions. She apologized to the Bluefoot gang that she really had to go along with the Police recommendation. She undoubtedly would have voted in their favor otherwise.

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Fred Williams March 14, 2011 @ 10:42 p.m.

I'm very impressed with the research here.

Why don't you write this all up and submit it for publication? It would make an interesting Cover Story for the Reader.

Best,

Fred

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RodneyK March 15, 2011 @ 11:01 a.m.

I was under the impression that the neighbors and the bar owners are supposed to be working together over the next 2 years. How is any of this contributing to that end?

How is Adams personal life any part of this? Very shameful. (at ONOuDONT)

And No Founder.... I am not a phoblogger or whatever you call newbie's. I've been watching the back and forth between the 2 issues for a very long time.

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Founder March 15, 2011 @ 1:37 p.m.

Never crossed my mind and I'm glad you have been following these issues, we need more interested folks watching out for NP!

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InOmbra March 15, 2011 @ 2:43 p.m.

RodneyK, personal lives should be private. But when business owners use the power of the government to negatively impact the personal lives of residents near the business, .... then the business owners have made it personal.

Much unfairness comes down from the top in our local government and people are angry. We all know how powerless we are if we aren't backed by the "decision-makers" because we lack personal connections, money, and influence. Try influencing a Council member without a big, powerful, connected group behind you. Why is that? Isn't a small, local issue as deserving of the right, ethical decision as a huge issue is?

No one here wishes ill on the bar owners, who could have done much more than they have done to act like good neighbors. Instead, these bar owners act like bullies. They make their living by coming into the neighborhood, as outsiders, and bring in unwelcome behavior. They could control it if they really cared to. Are they uncaring? Is their profit margin really so fragile that they have to do what they've done or their lives will fall apart? Or are they just greedy? I don't know.

Given everything, what you read here is the normal reaction of the e-villagers to the presence in their village of an unruly and disruptive neighbor. It's normal venting, probing, and gossiping, and to be expected. It's also informative, as to who has success, and how they do it, in getting what they want from the decision-makers.

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RodneyK March 15, 2011 @ 3:37 p.m.

InOmbra,

The point of my comment was not to get a lesson on how bad villagers behave. We all need to work together to get to a point were all of the "villagers" get along.

I respect the "villagers" in my "village" (whether I get along with them or not.)

You can't choose your neighbors. You can work with them to make the neighborhood better.

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Founder March 15, 2011 @ 5:06 p.m.

RE: You can't choose your neighbors. You can work with them to make the neighborhood better.

But what happens if you try and your "neighbors" don't and or make it worse; what them?

That has been the current situation for almost 4 YEARS and that is not acceptable. That is why the local neighbors are now mobilized and this issue is in the news (over 4 hours of Late Night operation a week) and it will continue to be in the NEWS until the problems are solved fairly...

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InOmbra March 15, 2011 @ 5:08 p.m.

RodneyK, Excuse me, sorry. I wasn't giving a lesson. I think I got your point; not sure you got mine.

The weight of "getting along," what constitutes "better," and for whom, and the concept of "respect," ... the burden of these issues is too often placed singularly on the little guys, in the most lopsided, unfair way.

In this case it is clearly up to the bar owners to get along and respect the neighborhood. They DID choose to come here, because it was cheap, easy, ...why? They are NOT making the neighborhood better. They could, if they really wanted to. But ...why not? Money? Selfishness? Greed? Maybe you could find out?

Thanks to their money and connections, these bar owners have a disproportional advantage in the disagreement of what is acceptable in the adjacent residential area.

Where the bar owners live, and comments and speculations on their lifestyle, which they publicly display, serve well to illustrate how unlikely it is that they, or any of the Planning Commission members, would accept in their own neighborhoods the type of disruption their bar brings to North Park. And they would win that battle, too.

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RodneyK March 15, 2011 @ 6:58 p.m.

OK OK I give I give.

I do understand your point. I do hope that getting along is possible at some point in time. That the "us" against "you" turns into a "we". My intention in posting was not to cause more conflict.

Thank you for listening.

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InOmbra March 16, 2011 @ 9:50 a.m.

Thanks, RodneyK. Seems like I would enjoy having you as a neighbor.

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eyeheartnorthpark March 15, 2011 @ 2:57 p.m.

I have also been following this issue for a long time. Liz is not in charge of the BID. She acts at the direction of the Board of Directors, which is composed of local merchants who volunteer their time. The dedicated efforts of the North Park Main Street BID have resulted in a Renaissance in the commercial district around University Avenue and along 30th street. Just look at the quality restaurants in the BID, which did not exist even a decade ago.

Business Improvement Districts do not tax anyone. North Park Main Street is a non-profit management corporation which contracts with the City of San Diego to administer the BID. All assessments (which are not a tax or fee) collected from the business owners is fully returned to the benefit of the commercial district as determined by the Board of Directors. The BOD meetings are open to the public, and anyone may attend and express their opinion.

The Maintenance Assessment District is a different group with a different agenda. The MAD collects on the property tax assessment from all property owners in the Greater North Park area, which is huge. Currently, the MAD expenses are limited to those activities which are in the engineer's report, and that is very restrictive.

There is a need to update the MAD since the neighborhood has changed in the past decade, but the engineer's report does not allow for changes without a new ballot. The efforts to ballot a revised MAD failed, since it was not possible to get all the property owners in the Greater North Park area to agree on what to do.

The purpose of an additional property assessment district, which is currently being proposed as North Park Clean and Safe, is to make it possible for the current problems (like at Blue Foot, True North and other bars) to be resolved.

The Clean and Safe assessment district, if it is passed, will be paid almost entirely by the commercial property owners (80%) and a small amount by residential property owners (20%), in contrast to what Founder says. The goal is to require the commercial property owners to contribute to the efforts which will clean up the impact of these new patrons and make it safe for all residents to live and work in North Park.

If you like the situation now, do not support the proposed Clean and Safe assessment district. Without the commercial property owners paying to clean up the district, nothing will change. If you think things can be better than you should support the proposal to add an assessment district which will benefit all of us.

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Founder March 15, 2011 @ 5:14 p.m.

RE: The dedicated efforts of the North Park Main Street BID have resulted in a Renaissance in the commercial district around University Avenue and along 30th street.

Say what you want, but this corner of 30th street has not changed for the better LATE NIGHT after those other business's have closed; that is what is causing the problems and speaking about other areas of NP and or other issues only sidetracks the issue that the nearby residents face:

  1. The zoning should NEVER have allowed a bar to get a 2 AM closing time or a full alcohol license.

  2. The Planning Comm. dropped the ball because they did not enforce their own rules but just avoided that issue entirely.

  3. Putting off the review period to 5 or 10 years (like the NPPC suggested) only benefits the Owner of the Bluefoot, not the residents.

  4. I bet you do not live anywhere near this intersection because if you did you would not be so cavalier about what your neighbors are having to deal with! Talk is easy when you are not impacted at 2 AM!

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InOmbra March 15, 2011 @ 5:21 p.m.

Dear eyeheart: You really need to study the State Law governing how MAD property assessments can be spent. Legally.

The money assessed on property owners will not, cannot, resolve the late-night noise and disruption of a bad bar's clients. Not legally, anyway. This is San Diego, however...

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Founder March 15, 2011 @ 6:05 p.m.

Actually part of the "Overlay" MAD money is to hire a private patrol to "police" those making the noise and or other problematic situations... I'm pretty sure it would be allowed if the Engineers report included it, so I don't think you are accurate.

That said, I'm frustrated that those speaking to the Engineer to give them direction as to what to put into the report (and of course the costing) did not include those outside of NPMS; that to me signals additional "Business as usual" thinking...

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Founder March 16, 2011 @ 8:12 a.m.

FYI: Security is indeed one of the suggested options in the overlay MAD as discussed last night at the North Park Planning Comm.

The next Overlay MAD meeting of the North Park Clean & Safe Maintenance District - 5:30 Monday, March 21st at Queen Bee in NP...

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InOmbra March 16, 2011 @ 9:39 a.m.

Founder, What is allowed to be included in an Engineer's Report is limited to what Maintenance Assessment law allows.

Security is not a legally allowed activity of a MAD. If you want property owners to pay for security, you need to form a PBID or a BID. State law is very specific and it has been settled at the Cal Supreme Court level (Silicon Valley Taxpayers Association, Inc. v. Santa Clara County Open Space Authority).

If Park and Rec and Andy Field want to risk embroiling the City in a lawsuit, then they will allow this to go forward with an illegal Engineer's Report. In recent years there has been much intentional obfuscation of the MAD law, thanks in large part to influence by Ben Hueso and Marco LiMandri, and their friends in City Planning.

By the way, has anyone asked the owner of the property that Bluefoot leases (APN 4534150700) whether he would like to pay an even larger assessment because his tenants need policing? Mr. Mohtadi, like other property owners, might not want to be forced to pay for the trouble that their tenants bring to the neighborhood.

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InOmbra March 16, 2011 @ 10:13 a.m.

eyeheart, As I suggested below to Founder, why should property owners be expected to foot the bill to police bad business owners? The only property owners that should pay would be those that rent or lease their buildings to bad business owners.

The Bluefoot twosome do not own the property in which they run their bar, so a MAD property assessment costs them not one penny! They will love it if they get free security, courtesy of the unhappy residents and other property owners! You know that they should pick up all of the costs related to their business themselves. They can charge the drinkers more, if that's what it takes, and maybe the drinkers will go home, broke, a little earlier. Sounds good!

I feel like you should be earning part of the $20K-worth of propaganda that will be coming the way of NP property owners. Before you say anything else, please report back on the opinion of the owner of the property where Bluefoot does business. How much more does he want to pay into a new NP MAD (he already pays $194/year)? Does he think that Bluefoot's security costs should be paid for by him? Does he think that the neighbors around the bar should pay for security for his tenants?

PBIDs and BIDs posing as MADs are a fraud, and one more unfair blow to the little guys, the individual property owners.

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EastGirl March 16, 2011 @ 9:41 p.m.

When I read about the problems that North Park residents are experiencing with the Bluefoot Bar, it reminds me of what I experienced living across the street from the Universal Bar on University Avenue in Hillcrest in 2008.

I owned a condo directly across the street from the now closed Universal Bar/Restaurant. On the opening night for Universal, from my patio balcony, I observed Mayor Sanders arrive with his body guards to attend. A third of the street was blocked off for private parking of special guests to attend the opening of Universal. This was all monitored by uniformed police officers..

From my condo windows, I saw men and women urinate in the street or on the curb. I saw vomiting. People stagger down the street to get into cars and drive away.

People yelling and screaming outside my bedroom at all hours of the night.

I saw fights, multiple fights,one ending on the steps to my condo.

After Universal opened, vandalism began to increase at my condo complex.Condo homeowners or renters no longer wanted to be in the parking garage at night. Cars were broken in to.

Then there was the music from Universal. It was so loud that it made my condo building vibrate ! My condo building vibrated every Friday and Saturday night.

Every week I emailed Mayor Sanders Office, the DA's Office, the community service officer, the vice squad, the City councilwoman, Toni Atkins, , and my neighbors.

I called the police every time there was a problem. Sometimes I got put on hold, but I made a complaint as much as I could and I always insisted the police give me an incident number. These incident numbers seem to be important as a way to add reports up to the police.

I hope North Park residents are persistent in calling the police and getting incident numbers for every time they call to report Bluefoot.

The bottom line is this: Mayor Sanders wouldn't have lived in my condo with what was going on across the street at Universal. But he could go to the opening. Obviously something political was happening ! He wouldn't want to live across the street from the Blue Foot Bar either.

What happened in Hillcrest with Universal would never be allowed to happen in La Jolla. What is happening in North Park with Bluefoot would never be allowed in La Jolla.

Do any of the Planning Commissioners live close to Bluefoot ? I bet they don't.

I wrote this in the hope to show that there is a pattern here with the City of SD and it isn't just with Bluefoot. Universal was forced to close because the owner had money problems. Now there is a new establishment where Universal was. I don't know if the new business is causing problems, because I rented my condo and moved to an area in the county, where that sort of problem doesn't happen.

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Founder March 17, 2011 @ 9:10 a.m.

You are correct, this is an alarming pattern for anyone that lives within walking distance to a problematic business, since that business's customers will be nearby since they will be parking in your neighborhood! This is especially true for Late Night business's like Bars, Clubs and Restaurants that "morph" into Bars after the Dinner hour is over. These problems continue until Midnight or worse, until 2 AM when they close and the patrons noisily stumble back to their parked cars dropping trash, bottles and worse...

Who wants to be awakened at 2 AM and have to deal with folks that have been drinking at that hour?

This is not about drinking a beer with friends or enjoying a bottle of wine or drinking with Dinner; this is about having to deal with all the issues surrounding these folks that have had lots to drink and are "Still Partying" on the way back to their cars after these Late Night Business's close at 2 AM.

San Diego has the most DUI's in California and everyone knows only a small fraction of those that are driving impaired are actually caught, so our alcohol related problem is HUGE...

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EastGirl March 16, 2011 @ 11:38 p.m.

How about writing to Liquor Licensing Board ? Have NP residents sent their complaints to the Liquor Licensing Board ?

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Founder March 17, 2011 @ 8:28 a.m.

California ABC (Alcohol Beverage Control) allows new licenses on a self regulated set of rules that can easily be "gamed" by those wanting to open new business's or to modify an existing business and essentially run a different type of business in the same location...

See how this is handled in Ventura CA: . http://www.pbspirits.com/wp-content/uploads/pbcpc/alrc/20100614_ventura_San%20Diego%20Presentation.pdf .

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ONOuDONT March 18, 2011 @ 1:38 a.m.

If I got "personal" with Adam Cook, it was only because he has gotten "personal" with the neighbors who have complained about his bar from the very start of the problem his bar has created. Despite the overwhelming number of residents who live in the area DIRECTLY AROUND BLUEFOOT BAR---read that statement again---(I'm not talking about people six blocks away, I'm not talking about people on 30th ST, which is a commercial corridor, I'm talking about people whose property abuts the Bluefoot property, those within visual distance, and those within the block or two of residential areas where the Bluefoot patrons park)--despite the fact that nearly all of them have come together and said there's a problem with this bar---Adam has singled out a handful of the most vocal of these and "personalized" his defense and any public testimony, calling them out by name, and doing his best to discredit them and make them look like nothing more than crabby complainers with nothing better to do. His patrons know where these "complainers" live, and there are harrassing shouts from these gutless patrons when they're safely speeding by in their cars.

If you watched the Channel 10 news coverage of the planning Commission hearing, you saw Adam claiming "there's no proof these are my customers". Well, excuse me, but when every other business that serves or sells alcohol in that entire area are closed by midnight, most by 11:00 PM, just where are these Pukers, pissers, screamers, shouters, fighters, and inebriated drivers returning to their cars in front of all these neighbor's houses coming from?

Get together and "talk" about how to solve problems? First, the bar owners are going to have to claim some of their crap and stop the denial.

If you want to see some compelling video - the one that the Planning Commission didn't think was important enough to cut Bluefoot's hours a mere two hours, two nights a week, to comply with existing zoning, follow this link. It's a mere sampling of what the neighbors deal with now that Bluefoot has brought this self proclaimed wonderful change to this end of 30th St.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N4rVDmw00jA

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ONOuDONT March 18, 2011 @ 1:56 a.m.

EastGirl, Thanks for weighing in on this---only somebody that has experienced this kind of existence can truly relate---and although I understand you moving to quieter pastures (pun intended) that, to me, is the untimate defeat. That this kind of disturbance to everyday citizen's lives can drive us out of the homes we have worked hard for, paid a LOT of momey for, and love. Here by Bluefoot, and as a direct result of the lousy drunks they turn out, we have already lost one great neighbor, and after the disgustingly pro-business dedision of the Planning Commission, there are now two more families that are planning to leave. How tragically sad.

And yes, we have written to Alcohol Beverage Control, local and state. They make a TON of money from liquor licenses, and are none to excited to investigate, or especially change policy. So they just continue to issue more and more licenses, no matter how concentrated the area is with them, and then claim that they're so understaffed that investigation is difficult, but they'll get back to you...... Meanwhile it's another Friday night coming up----more fun and games with Bluefoot!!

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Founder March 18, 2011 @ 8:33 a.m.

Consider:

Since the Planning Commission Hearing:

  1. Several different folks offered to meet with the Owners in good faith and guess what, their offers were not accepted!

  2. Both SDPD Vice and the CD3 Council office suggested "everyone wait" for a professional mediation person to be selected... Why must the nearby residents always be the ones to wait? More waiting is not the answer, as Bluefoot continues to do business as usual!

  3. The North Park Planning Comm. has held it annual elections and guess what, NP Mainstreet now controls the NPPC, so just like in PB, the Pro-Business folks have taken over that organization. BTW: One of the Bluefoot Owners ran but did not get elected.

  4. Bluefoot's Complaint line (619) 414-0865 was not being answered as they promised it would be (which is a requirement to their license and to stay in business)! When neighbors called to complain about loud base music Late Night, again nothing happened and no enforcement...

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HerePiggyPiggy March 18, 2011 @ 9:17 a.m.

The Bluefoot is rapidly becoming the armpit of North Park. The Bluefoot owners do not care about the neighborhood or the late night crowd that they attract. It's a scary place at night. I don't think it will be long before you see another business open there. Hopefully a nice Mexican restaurant. Let's keep North Park a safe, respectful walking district without late night bars and the crowds that they attract.

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Founder March 18, 2011 @ 1:40 p.m.

HerePiggyPiggy, I agree.

With some nearby neighbors now planning on moving (see above) North Park homeowners that live near 30th St. are very concerned and if they start moving out and renting their houses then this part of NP will rapidly become like the Grand Garnet Area of Pacific Beach...

Time will tell, but one thing is certain, the quality of life for nearby residents will not improve any time soon, thanks to the recent decision by the Mayor's appointed Planning Commission who accept "business as usual" over residential rights to peace and quiet..!

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