Tag Archives: Winchester Goose liquor license

Ann Schwab and Kirk Trostle out to protect their own bottom lines – liquor ordinance just a revenue grab

25 Jul

In between gardening and putting up tomato sauce and peaches, I spent yesterday going back and forth to city meetings, a special Internal Affairs meeting at 8am and “economic development,” or at least, talking about it, at 4pm.

The Internal Affairs discussion was about what amounts to a money grab being attempted by Chico PD chief Kirk Trostle. Trostle, as you may recall from an earlier post,  was trying to get the ACE (Alcohol Compliance and Education) ordinance on an upcoming ballot, and told me at a Police Advisory Board meeting that he hoped it would result in at least $100,000 worth of (new) fees with which he could hire another officer. But, he admitted, the officer would not necessarily be dedicated to alcohol compliance or problems, he wouldn’t guarantee that.

Well, at a subsequent meeting, city attorney Lori Barker shot it down, informing Trostle that the “fee” amounted to a “tax”, and the city is not allowed to tax the sales of alcohol. So, Scott Gruendl moved for staff to work on an ordinance that would allow the city to collect some sort of fee without it being construed legally as a tax.  What a creep that guy is, a regular goniff.

Mary Goloff, Ann Schwab and Scott Gruendl are attempting to dress it up as the city’s plan to handle our “community alcohol problem.” Goloff and Gruendl are up for re-election, and Schwab is not only on the defense lately, she’s looking out for her interests at the college and her Downtown business.

Schwab has been hung out to dry, stripped of her former stately power. Lately she seems constantly to have been crying about something, and tears up at the slightest criticism or correction. She’s fallen back on her job at the college – an administrative fluff position that adds another $80,000 + in salary and benefits to tuition – and is desperate to show herself as champion for the college. She also needs to worry about her bike store – Downtown business is in trouble, and she has taken the tack of blaming the bars and other liquor-related establishments. She says “the university is doing what they can do.” Well, she sure knows who butters her bread.

She also made some questionable statements regarding liquor licenses, how they’re issued, and what happens when a business sells a liquor license. “Once a permit is issued,” she piped up, sounding like a character from “Th Music Man,” it’s ISSUED!” She went on to describe her nightmare scenario: a place could start out “respectable and low-key,” but that business might fail, and be sold to somebody else!  “It can change to PITCHER NIGHT  with no approval from council,” she concluded, setting her lips firmly and looking around the room for an “AMEN!

(…and that starts with ‘P’ and that rhymes with ‘T’ and that stands for TROUBLE! Right here in River City!)

Well, just like that pile of hooey she rolled out in support of Measure J, her statement above doesn’t turn out to be exactly true. Officer George Laver, who seems to be the guy in charge of liquor at the cop shop, informed all of us of the actual function of the state department of Alcoholic Beverage Control. It turns out that “conditions can be placed by the ABC – such as hours of sale of alcohol and other specifics…” And, even if the business comes under completely different ownership, the new owner cannot make “significant changes to the business model” without a hearing from the ABC that includes input from the cops and other local agencies.

In fact, Laver went on to describe a “very good working relationship with the ABC.” The ABC allows local agencies to have input and set conditions, and according to Laver, Chico PD and the city of Chico have been “very successful” in getting what they want out of the ABC.

Later, the owner of the Winchester Goose also corrected erroneous statements Ann made. First, he told everybody that the ABC has a very complete process for input,  everything needed to make a complaint or check on a business’s license is on their website.  Ann had also bitchily asked, in direct reference to the Winchester Goose,  “why would anybody put so much investment into a business without getting the liquor license first?” The guy from the Goose told his story – last November, he’d received “the green light” from Chief Trostle as well as the planning commission. It was only recently that they’d been talking about denying his license, after he’d already spent a bunch of money. Ann hates being corrected, she’s testy and combative with anybody who disagrees with or questions her. But she sure didn’t have anything to say in response.  As usual, her eyes turned red and got watery, she just sat there like a spoiled brat being called on the carpet. 

Everything Laver said confirmed that the ABC is competent and willing to work locally.  But, Chief Kirk Trostle seems to have a different view of the ABC, which he says, “is working with staff levels from the 1950’s…just pushing paper.” He says there are only two agents for 16 counties.

Well, I just dropped off a note to the Redding office, which Laver described as being so cooperative, and asked them about  that. I’ll keep you posted.

What both Schwab and Trostle want is more control than the ABC is willing to give them in making demands upon businesses that sell alcohol. According to Laver, a local land use permit process would allow the city “to create whatever kind of language you think is reasonable.

For example, the ABC says stop serving at 2am, Schwab and Trostle want it over at midnight. They want serving to stop at 10pm on certain holidays, historically troublesome dates like Halloween and St Paddy’s. Laver reported, in past, they’ve just asked the problem establishments, like Rileys, to stop opening up with cheap booze at 6am, and they’ve complied. But Trostle and Schwab just want to be able to demand. They don’t want to work it out, they don’t want to discuss.

I think they want to be able to demand more money out of businesses, using this ordinance as a wedge, but that’s just my guess.

There are two camps here that want this new permits process – those who are freaked out about Chico’s perceived reputation as a druggy town that kills college kids with booze, and then there’s Chief Trostle, who wants the money. This is a revenue grab, plain and simple, a shakedown. Ask the guy from The Screwed Goose.

Later yesterday I went to the Economic Development committee meeting, and that was a hoot too, I’ll fill you in later. Now I am off to get some pasta dough going, with which I am going to serve homemade tomato sauce with dinky meatballs.  Ciao Babeee!

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