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  • Can anyone take this Sones guy seriously? He should have recused himself given his whopping conflict on interest. What a joke.

  • I guess people are entitled to their own lay opinions of what constitutes a conflict of interest. However, Conflicts of Interest Board Opinion 2003-2 is pretty conclusive about what it considers a conflict in situations like this. Let me make it easy for you:

    “Community board members will violate Chapter 68 if they simultaneously have an interest in a licensed liquor facility and chair a community board committee responsible for considering liquor license applications. Community board members will not violate Chapter 68 if they have an interest in a licensed liquor facility and vote on matters involving liquor license applications of others, but, consistent with Charter Section 2604(b)(1)(b), they may not vote on their own license applications or those of persons with whom they are associated.”

  • I can’t believe people would oppose such a great bar. this is a business that employs people, people depend on Union Hall for their jobs. This is ridiculous that they could lose their liquor lic.

  • This is infuriating. I do take some comfort in the knowledge that renewals do not require community board input. All these smug a-holes trying to shut down a reputable establishment…they should be ashamed of themselves. So annoying that they don’t recognize Union St as mixed use all the way from the waterfront to GAP. The conflict of interest issue should also not be overlooked.

    12:55 – Does that mean that Sones is or is not violating Chapter 68? Is he “chairing” or just voting? If he’s chairing, he’s got a serious backlash headed his way…

    If anything, the board’s vote, if it holds any sway in a non-renewal, could get thrown out on that alone…couldn’t it?

  • Sones is going to go down if he thinks he can pull BS like this

  • Sones just pretty much ensured that anyone who frequents both his place and either Floyd, Last Exit, Magnetic Field, will lose his business. That’s a pretty tight knit group of bargoers who know each other and who chatter and the chatter right now is, they’ll never go back there under any circumstances.

  • Sones is not the chair of the Landmarks/Land Use Committee, so he is not in violation of Chapter 68 (“Conflicts of Interest”) of the New York City Charter.

    I do believe that he is technically incorrect when he states that Union Street is not a commercial street. The first 100′ back from Fifth Avenue are in the commercial overlay.

  • I’m sending an email now to the promoters of Floyds letting them know about this. I plan to shut Lou down.

    Any writers out there want to do a story on this??!!

    RUN LOU OUT OF TOWN!!!!

  • I was at the meeting last night, too. And something that really depressed me was that the committee seemed to ignore all the great things Union Hall has done for the community. It’s not just the desperately needed infusion of culture–music, comedy, literary readings, science nights–that Union Hall gives this neighborhood. They also host all kinds of benefits and fundraisers. One supporter said his group, Neighbors Helping Neighbors (http://www.nhnhome.org/index.html), had raised $60,000 in one night with Union Hall’s help. I hope when the full board votes on this next week they’ll take all this into account.

    Lou Sones–the committee member who made the motion to nuke Union Hall–made a comment saying something like a “bar is a bar.” That is not true of Union Hall. This place is unique, and it’s become an important cultural center. The members of the Community Board need to pay Union Hall and the street a visit to see what’s really going on there, before they take sides.

  • Yeah, if I were the neighbors right now, I’d be trying to play nice with Union Hall. It’s a place that will exist there for a very long time. Even if they don’t drink (and they act like they don’t), they should recognize it for the culturally rich impact it’s made on Park Slope. Arguably, more than any other venue/performance space in the history of Park Slope!

    Otherwise, I’d bet you could find some budding yuppies from Manhattan who would LOVE to be neighbors with Union Hall, should they want to sell their cherished Brownstones and move to the country.

  • daveinbedstuy

    Here they are if you want to see their faces:

    http://gothamist.com/2008/05/09/cb6_votes_again.php

    I’ll comment on them later after this thread really gets going!!!!

  • “Sones just pretty much ensured that anyone who frequents both his place and either Floyd, Last Exit, Magnetic Field, will lose his business. That’s a pretty tight knit group of bargoers who know each other and who chatter and the chatter right now is, they’ll never go back there under any circumstances.”

    You are absolutely right about this, 1:17. As a patron of all those establishments, I can assure you that word will get out and it travels fast. The Brazen Head is going to be loud this summer, all right…loud with the sound of crickets chirping.

  • Does anyone have the address of the people pictured on gothamist?

    Publish the info!!

  • Biff Champion

    Gabby, for some reason I can’t view the video (I’ve had no problems with other videos on this blog). Has anyone else had problems with this one?

  • Worked fine for me, and while I’m on the subject, I had a hard time getting what I saw with my own eyes to jibe with the earlier (other thread) descriptions of Sones’ behavior.

  • Could you elaborate, 4:03?

  • Biff Champion

    Thanks Gabby!

  • The first speaker is wrong. Union Hall is in a commercially zoned area – it’s not like they’re running an illegal speakeasy out of their living room on a residential street. Watching this video, I feel like only one side of an argument was heard last night. And that side appears to be biased and if I’m not mistaken, also appears to have a HUGE conflict of interest.

  • Are you guys saying Sones owns Floyd as well as Brazen Head or that Floyd is his competitior.

  • I’m saying the people who own Union Hall Own Floyd and Floyd is in direct competition with Brazen Head which Lou owns.

  • Floyd is owned by the people who own Union Hall. Sones owns the Brazen Head, which is one of Floyd’s competitors. So Sones is trying to get his direct competition’s sister bar shut down.

    Hm.

  • it’s a bar people
    some people don’t like the noise
    whatever

  • It’s worth pointing out that the Landmarks/Land Use Committee barely had a quorum at this public hearing–only 10 of 20 members were in attendance. Also, the vote wasn’t exactly unananimous: Only 6 committee members actually voted against Union Hall.

    Looking at minutes of previous meetings, it appears unusual for this committee to be so divided.

    Hopefully, when the vote goes to the full board, the debate will be less one-sided and cooler heads will prevail. Mediation is the way to go.

    Meanwhile, check out the “Insider Report” on this blog for a different view of the noise level: http://edlevineeats.seriouseats.com/2008/05/union-hall-bar-park-slope-brooklyn-noise-bloody-marys.html

  • Utterly ridiculous. Clearly this bar exists in a commercial zone, otherwise it wouldn’t have been approved to open. Lou Sones’ comments at the beginning are either ignorant or just plain stupid. You can’t just tell a bar to shut down and move because it exists 200 feet from what he and some local cranks arbitrarily consider to be the commercial zone.

    And as someone who does occasionally drink at Sones’ bar, he can be assured that he has lost my patronage as well as many others’ in the area.

  • “some people don’t like the noise”

    Well then some people should not move onto one of the largest, longest mixed use streets in Brooklyn.

    Union Hall is an amazing place that treats artists very well who play there, and that is a huge contribution to the culture, economy, hipness and flat out relevance of Park Slope. Any Slopers trying to shut it down are idiots. Park Slope is over if they succeed. It will have officially become the most uncool neighborhood in NYC. The neighborhood will have jumped the shark. If it hasn’t already. There are great new bars and growing communities of young hip residents in other neighborhoods. The shift has begun.

  • Union Hall is a *huge* contributor the economy of Park Slope?!

  • Fortunately CBs have little influence over the Liquor Board, especially in cases of license renewals for establishments with few or no serious violations such as Union Hall. I’ve been involved in bar-related buseness in NYC for over 20 years and I have seen all this unnecessary hot air stirred up by some bored and lonely CB members many times and each time the licenses were renewed. Can’t these people devote their time to something useful, such as taking care of trees, street garbage, playgrounds, etc.? What a huge misdirection of time and energy!

  • As word spread this past weekend of what went down at the meeting, it’s been made clear that Brazen Head will lose a LOT of customers due to Lou’s behavior (customers that frequented his bar as well as all of the others on Atlantic Avenue). It’s really a shame as the Brazen Head has a delicious beer selection and a lovely bar staff. Regardless, I will never step foot in there again… Incidentally, is it true that Lou doesn’t even live in Park Slope, but in Red Hook?

  • Does anyone have Lou Sone’s e-mail address so we can e-mail him and let him know how outraged we are at his clear conflict of interest and pushing for something that will clearly benefit his own business. Shame on you Lou!

  • Union street between 4th and 7th Avenues are not residential blocks. They are mixed use blocks. They are two way thorough fairs on which commerical truck traffic is directed to and a bus route runs along. As such, people living on those three blocks must assume they are going to have to live with higher noise decibel levels than if they were living on a true residential block.

    Lou Sones clearly has a serious conflict of interest. He is opening himself up to litigation by not recusing himself from this issue. It’s no different than if he were a restaurant owner denying another restaurant owner int he same community a license to operate.

  • This is a really tricky issue and i’m afraid there is no clear cut solution to it. I can see very convincing points on either side, so I’m going to limit my comment here to address what I feel is an unfair misrepresentation.

    I am a native to Brooklyn, and have lived in this community for many years now. I know both Lou Sones and the owners of Floyd/Union Hall personally, and very truly like both parties as people and business owners. While I am not choosing sides in the struggle itself, I think it is ignorant and unfair to make this into an attack on Lou personally. While it may seem clear on the surface to simply say that it is a conflict of interest for him to be taking this position, I am convinced that it is not. First of all, Floyd and The Brazen Head are in no way competitors — anyone living in that part of the neighborhood can tell you that. If I were to hazard a guess, I would say that O’Keefe’s on Court St. caters to the same law-heavy clientele that Brazen Head does. There truly is little to no overlap with Floyd. That being said, bar owners generally want there to be other successful bars around them – it generates more business for all. Just the fact that there is such a vitriolic backlash against him speaking his opinion, and voicing the opinions of the community, shows how wrongheaded everyone has gotten. In fact, I would be inclined to trust a bar owner MORE in this instance, as it takes more courage knowing that he is leaving his own business up to scrutiny.

    I’ve just reread that and realized that it probably seems like I am standing behind Lou and am in support of shutting down Union Hall. This is not true at all. But I think we all need to be careful about where we hang our misguided ire.