Podcast: The Triumvirate on the liquor store, neighborhood associations, and fluff galore

It was just us co-hosts yesterday, wasting valuable airtime on community fluff before launching into arguments about Tracy’s neighborhood association blog post, followed by a (um) very polite discussion (again) about the liquor store land proposals.

Click play to listen. 30 minutes. You can also subscribe to the podcast feed, or subscribe directly with iTunes.

Our radio show/podcast, Locally Grown, usually airs Wednesdays at 5:30 PM on KYMN 1080 AM and on Fridays at 4 PM on KRLX 88.1 FM.


  1. Anne Bretts said:

    This may go in the liquor store thread, but it pertains to your on air discussion. If the city wants to consider the two offers that didn’t meet the criteria set out in the proposal, the city needs to toss all the proposals and start over with the broader criteria. There may be other good proposals that weren’t submitted because the owners knew they weren’t in the area to be considered.
    The staff did nothing wrong by disqualifying the two proposals that weren’t in the downtown area, knowing that was the key consideration. If they had suggested broadening the scope of the discussion by including Hwy. 3 sites, I’m sure they would have been pilloried for that.
    This is a no-win situation for the staff, and a clear example why limiting the discussion to downtown was wrong. The city should have written the RFP to consider all proposals, and if the council chooses to subsidize a more costly downtown location, then the council and NDDC should make the case to the taxpayers.

    December 4, 2008
  2. Ross Currier said:

    Anne –

    I believe that you have made a number of incorrect assumptions in your comment. However, I will focus on only three.

    First, your cost analysis appears to be based solely on your personal prejudices. In fact, I think it is reasonable to conclude that putting a liquor store in an existing building downtown could be $2 to 4 million cheaper than creating a new building on a flood fringe near Dundas.

    Second, to my knowledge, the NDDC has had absolutely no involvement in the liquor store site selection process, from establishing the criteria, through evaluating the potential economic impacts, to quantitative ranking of the five or seven sites. Although the NDDC Board has written two letters thanking the City Council for considering sites in the downtown (first when they were considering, apparently, several sites on both sides of the 600 Block of Division Street and then when they were, apparently, moving forward on one or more sites on the west side of the 600 Block of Divison Street), the organization has never been invited to participate in the process.

    Finally, I think that the most important “case” to be made to the taxpayers is the financial cost and potential benefits of, apparently, doubling the size of the liquor store. At least in my opinion, that independent analysis and procedural step should be completed to the satisfaction of the taxpayers long before individual sites are evaluated, compared and, apparently, selected.

    – Ross

    December 4, 2008
  3. Anne Bretts said:

    Ross, I’m sorry. It seems I was unclear. I admit I think liquor sales are better left to the private sector, but given that sales will be public, I don’t have any prejudices about the location. I am even open to the idea of choosing downtown site that is slightly less cost effective if it can be shown the new store will have a measurable effect on the economic health of downtown. I haven’t seen convincing data on that to date.
    I am not assuming that a downtown site will be less cost effective. I do find it odd that the criteria wasn’t that a proposal meet minimum cost effectiveness standards, but that it fit in a geographic area. It lends credence to the idea that being downtown is more important than being profitable.
    I simply said that if the process were opened up to include all proposals in town and the city chose a more expensive proposal because it was downtown, it should have to explain its reasoning. It has to do the same thing whenever it chooses to go with a bidder who doesn’t offer the cheapest bid for government job.
    Finally, I didn’t say the NDDC was involved in the past, just that it should have to make a strong argument if it advocates for a downtown site that is more expensive than one in another part of town.
    Hope this helps.

    December 4, 2008
  4. Jane McWilliams said:

    Ross – I was disappointed that NDDC wasn’t represented in the site selection process, particularly since the council established a downtown location as one of the 4 criteria. Who decided on which groups would do the rating, I wonder? Staff? EDA?

    Kiffi – didn’t the city have a consultant do the kind of study Ross mentions – to determine the cost/benefit of a larger store quite a while ago?

    December 4, 2008
  5. kiffi summa said:

    Jane: I believe it was the staff who decided who would do the “rating”; Mr. Walinski could verify that. Those players kept changing also(indeed from the first rating session scheduled, to the time two days later when it was actually done; see minutes of 11.20 EDA meeting) as well as the sites to be rated.

    As far as the study you mentioned there have been so many … six at least, I think … and I think the size of the store was a component of more than one study. I can’t tell you which specifically, as I don’t have copies of all. Again, staff could verify, if you want to look at that part of the ‘story’.

    December 5, 2008

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