Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Troublesome Salemtown Market Has Beer License Suspended

On the heels of another neighborhood association meeting filled with residential complaints about continuing problems at a beer market at 7th and Garfield, Salemtown Neighbors President Freddie O'Connell followed up with Council Member Erica Gilmore, School Board Member Sharon Gentry (minors loiter by the store during school hours), Metro Police, and Beer Board Member Jackie Eslick.

Ms. Eslick was the first to respond to Freddie with some positive news:
inspectors got direct evidence of drinking on the premises, which is prohibited. As a result, Volcano Discount Tobacco (the new operating name for K&M Market) has had its beer license suspended for 14 days effective Dec. 1st. Weakening their case, the owner of the market did not respond to a subpoena to come before the board to represent himself.
This property is owned by well-placed Nashvillian Kenny Norman, and the store seemed to be the subject of a recent Tennessean article that suggested it is the focus of frivolous, race-based phone calls to the police. Tennessean reporter and Germantown resident Janell Ross interviewed a man outside the market who told her that police had been called against him because he was black and merely talking about the weather and politics while standing outside the market.  Maybe Ms. Ross can make amends by doing a follow-up on how law-breaking public consumption on the premises translates to innocent conversations about the weather and politics.

Police reported to SNNA last night that the market operator was arrested two weeks ago for reckless endangerment after he shot a gun at his own bulletproof glass while customers were in the store just to see if it would work. The officer also told neighbors that the Women's Rescue Mission around the corner on Rosa Parks Boulevard does not help the situation since many of the women staying that the mission have been involved already with alcohol, drugs, and prostitution, and the recidivism rate among the mission's population is probably high.

Salemtown truly needs Ms. Gilmore, Ms. Gentry, the police, and Ms. Eslick to work together to change the poor conditions at 7th and Garfield.  I don't know how much influence property owner Kenny Norman has in keeping conditions as they are in Salemtown, but Metro officials have to do more for the sake of the community.  Also, neighors need to keep in mind that the Women's Mission owns several vacant lots on 7th behind their mission and across the street from the market.  There has been talk of plans to expand the mission in the future.  That is a prospect to which we should strenuously object, given the current conditions.

1 comment:

  1. The reason I included Member Gentry in the letter is that corners immediately opposite the market serve as bus stops. Witnessing alcohol consumption in the wee hours of the morning while waiting for a school bus is not a sight that, in my mind, is particularly conducive to community strength or a good form of community education.