by Earl Williamson
As previously reported, the complaints relative to Kirkwood Bar & Grill's application for an alcohol permit centered first on public safety issues and secondly on quality of life.
During the three and one-half months the establishment had a temporary alcohol permit, there were felony arrests, gunfire, repeated fights, evidence of on-site crack-cocaine use, and multiple 911 calls to levels well above those before and since the temporary permit. In addition to the obvious public safety issues, quality of life for the residents of the complex was severely impacted by a "restaurant" operating as an active, noisy, and sometimes violent bar until as late as 3:00 am.
In addition, the business owner misrepresented himself and his business to the Kirkwood Neighbors Organization, Neighborhood Planning Unit-O, his condominium association, and in information given to the Atlanta Police Department on his application for alcohol permit. During the time the applicant held a temporary permit, he had many 2-for-1 drink specials (illegal), frequent free drink promotions and alcohol giveaways (both illegal) and unpermitted live entertainment.
We challenge anyone to make something racial about the community's well justified opposition to this alcohol permit application. In the same complex as the applicant are successful businesses operated and owned by African Americans, Asians, gays, lesbians, whites, females and males. In the larger Kirkwood Business District are two of the oldest African American-owned businesses of Atlanta-in-Dekalb — and — a successful Pakistani-owned and operated service station
and convenience store and several white-owned businesses. Kirkwood spends its GREEN dollars at all of these businesses because they provide good service, reliable product and share together in the greater neighborhood.
It is no coincidence that the applicant's garage door was racially tagged — 25 miles away — on the same day he was notified officially that the Mayor had remanded his alcohol application back to the License Review Board for re-hearing. It is consistent with his actions throughout the process of neighborhood, NPU-O, and City oversight over his alcohol permit application that he once again has elected to play the "race card" rather than respond to the very real and concrete reasons Kirkwood and NPU-O denied his application to begin with.
Mr. Williamson, a registered nurse, is chairman of NPU-O, which represents the interests of the Edgewood, Kirkwood and East Lake communities.