Fueling the Feud

A new report suggests that Clubland needs a serious crackdown

Teir insists that club owners deserve to be called whiners. In March, when the city issued late-night orders to four clubs to begin serving food within 30 days or else close down, owners became irate. Before that directive, many clubs had operated for years without kitchen facilities. Teir has no sympathy. "They sought licenses to operate clubs and those licenses stipulate they have to serve food," says Teir. "If they have gotten away for six years or more without doing it, that's good for them. But it doesn't mean they are entitled to get away with it forever. Complaining about it is whining."

Jeff Bechdel, marketing director of the MBCDC, helped arrange financial support for the Teir report. "We felt he had a good urban perspective and a good understanding of our community," says Bechdel. "I agree he shouldn't have titled the whole section on club owners 'Whining.' When they don't want to follow the laws, that's one thing, but we recognize they have other complaints."

Bechdel also admitted that Teir made some mistakes, largely because he spent only four days on the Beach researching the report, two days in April and and two in May. But Bechdel backs its general conclusions.

Assistant Police Chief Scarberry says he doesn't believe the report was slanted in favor of the police department and the MBCDC solely because they paid for it. He and Bechdel point out that Teir took the city to task for not keeping Washington Avenue clean, fixing sidewalks, or carrying out other beautification projects that club owners have requested. Teir also criticized the city for granting too many club and bar licenses on Washington Avenue -- 36 in all -- without also providing the needed auxiliary services, such as extra police officers.

But Polisar says those criticisms are insufficient: "The city has gotten smug. They are forgetting who brought them to the dance, who invested the money that brought people back here in the first place. It wasn't anybody who came for a few days from Washington.

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