Saturday, April 25, 2009

Speaking of red tape

When I last wrote, we were waiting for the permits for the bar. Specifically, we were waiting for the permits from Jefferson Parish, and I was bemoaning the red tape we would have to hurdle.

Turns out, my fears were completely justified. We received a zoning revocation from the Director of Code Enforcement, Debbie Villio, claiming that we didn't have adequate parking for the zoning. No matter that the bar has always been a bar, apparently she was of the opinion it can no longer be a bar because of the zoning.

It boils down to a city councilman's constituent who lives in the neighborhood and does not want the bar to reopen there. This city councilman is obviously pulling the puppet strings, and couldn't care less that we were already advised by Code Enforcement that we could in fact reopen a bar there.

I'm a lawyer- I'll fight this to the end of time if I have to, because it only costs me the filing fee at court. What bothers me is all the people who suffer through this who are not attorneys, and who don't have attorney friends to work with them, and who have to perhaps give up their businesses because of political bullshit in Jefferson Parish.

Elton Lagasse is the city council member who, to my understanding, advised Ms. Villio to revoke the zoning. Mr. Lagasse visited the location of the bar room when my husband ran for sheriff and put a sign up on the building, and was asking about it at the Code Enforcement Office. Obviously, someone complained to him early on, while the roof of the building was still being repaired from Hurricane Katrina, and Mr. Lagasse takes his voters, or perhaps his voters' contributions, very seriously.

This is a building that was damaged by Katrina. The owner lost his will to continue running his bar and did not have the building repaired. The building was purchased, repaired, and is now ready to go back into commerce. Instead of being happy that the once-blighted, damaged building is now serving a function, the political powers that be would rather the hoi polloi work , I suppose, at jobs run by the politicians. If John Young, another council member, wanted a bar there, the bar would be there, and constituents be damned.

So now we are fighting the political machine once again, just to open a neighborhood bar on a street that already has several neighborhood bars, in an area zoned C-2, just because some people can't handle the little bit of power they've been able to grab.

Don't be surprised when my husband runs against Elton Lagasse in the next city council election.

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