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Thursday, March 22, 2012

City's Real Goal in Food Cart Booze Fight? Getting Salem to Override OLCC

Posted by Denis C. Theriault on Thu, Mar 22, 2012 at 2:29 PM

Hall Monitor this week is all about the ongoing contretemps over the Oregon Liquor Control Commission's decision to give a full-on liquor license to the Cartlandia food cart pod out on SE 82nd—the first in the state.

Emails (pdf) that landed in my hands today, through a public records request, shed more light on the city's strategizing. Turns out the city is doing more than just talking with its attorneys about a legal challenge of the OLCC's decision: It also spent months trying to lobby sympathetic Oregon legislators to change the law preventing the OLCC from discriminating against carts. The emails also reveal that the city, despite its public pronouncements, isn't really going to be content with stricter rules for carts: It doesn't want ongoing alcohol service at carts at all.

In a somewhat surly note sent last month, Tom Bizeau, Commissioner Amanda Fritz's chief of staff, chided the city's liquor licensing guru, Theresa Marchetti, for even exploring a proposal for those stricter rules—because it didn't hew to the city's more extreme goal. Bizeau also wrote he wanted to "stall this just like the OLCC stalls us."

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And here's an email from Andy Smith, one of the city's lobbyists, sent to Marchetti in January that touches on his efforts to rally lawmakers to the city's side. That was before the session that just ended... and, well, Cartlandia has its license and the OLCC has at least two more in the pipeline to consider.

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