April 28, 2010

Meeting underway...

The meeting began with city Councilor Kevin McCauley reviewing the legal process for 15 minutes.
Resident Sam Alkas is the first up.
Alkas, a Frederick Street resident, said that if there is no firm plan on the former mall site, officials "shouldn't take away the free enterprise" system.
"Don't throw 'em all out because you need the business down here," he said.
John O'Sullivan said there is no problem with health on the carts.
"The real issue here is profitability," he said. "Buildings want to take away the business" from the vendors.
O'Sullivan said the vendors have been here longer.
Tim Lapierre, another resident, said that if parking is a major issue, you need more downtown than just government buildings.
One issue not brought up so far is that the vendors own property and businesses in Bristol. They pay taxes in Bristol.
"The whole thing is being blown out of proportion," Lapierre said.
He said the vendors offer good food at good prices. Building owners also have the option of running a cart. They don't have a valid reason for their push to restrict carts.
Al Cianchetti, a resident, said he wants the panel to be upfront and should not breach the basics of free enterprise.
"The gentleman who owns the restaurant is all wrong," Cianchetti said. He pointed out that lots of businesses in town have competitors next door or across the street.
He said he loves the food at Ken's Grill "and I don't want to see him move anyplace."
Larry Niek, another resident, thanked the committee for its public service. He said he appreciates the city's strong sense of community.
"Bristol is unique," he said, in its tolerance for all and for standing up for the little guy.
He said he favors letting the vendors alone. He said there are no health and safety issues, according to news stories in the Press.
Niek said that he hopes "there will always be a place for the vendors. They do contribute to a certain ambience" and culture.
Tom Doyle, another resident, said he favors vendors. "It's a convenient way to get a bite to eat," Doyle said.
He said that customers are always right. If a person picks a stand or cart, "that is their right."
Doyle recalled a peanut vendor who used to meet the train in Plainville.
Vendors belong in an urban area, he said. He said taxes are too high and "our priorities are out of whack."
Doyle said he'd rather see the mayors on their toes than the citizens on their knees so don't lengthen their their term of office.
Mike Clawson, who runs a vending truck, said there have been vendors in the city for 30 years or more. He said he's been in business for three years and offered a good meal at a fair price, quickly.
"We do provide food to a very different clientele"than the restaurants, Clawson said. "We're doing a very good service for them."
Ann Marie Meehan, a resident, who is married to Clawson, said there are no health or safety issues.
She said she has a petition with nearly 2,300 signatures from citizens who support the vendors, which she handed in.
Luis Medina, a resident, said the vendors "are trying to make a living." He said he wants to support vendors who are his friends.
John Rudnick, a resident, said there is a big feeling of support for the food vendors.
"Everyone is for the food vendor" for good reasons, Rudnick said. He said the city can't ignore the hard workers.
"The heart of Bristol" and the hard-wrking people, want to get a hot dog when they're dirty and sweaty and don't want to go to a restaurant, he said.
He said the vendors are working hard, too. Build on what's working, he said, don't try to change.
City Councilor Cliff Block said there's no attempt to ban vendors. "I'm pretty sure we're all in favor of keeping vendors," he said, but there may be new rules they would have to comply with.
City Councilor Kevin McCauley said he doesn't want to take a position. "We have to consider everything," said McCauley, who heads the ordinance panel.
Copyright 2010. All rights reserved. Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com


Anonymous said...

Clean up the DOWN TOWN they must go

Anonymous said...

Choose any restaurant in Downtown Bristol, even one that is closed: They pay more property taxes than all of the food vendors combined.

Look at other towns and how they regulate these vendors. Towns like Plainville, Southington, West Hartford, Avon and Farmington have viable restaurants in the center city. Bristol does not.

The vendors take up parking spaces, pay minuscule permit fees and pay zero taxes as a business. They may pay property taxes if the reside in Bristol, but so do the owners of restaurants as well as their business property taxes.

These vendors should be on private property and pay permit fees of at least $2500 per year to operate. If they can't afford the fees, so be it.

Anonymous said...

The vendors really need to go. Let's take our downtown back!

Anonymous said...

you all must be obama-maniacs! more socialism! let's control everything and everyone around us and bend them to our will. Well, I frankly prefer the capitalist way, which incorporates competition in the mix. someone wrote before about the super natural not making a stink about what's happening. they are doing a booming business regardless of the vendors. perhaps the other restaurants should look at how they do things and follow their lead.

Anonymous said...

8:02, This isn't about competition or about the way the other restaurants run their business. It's about bringing our downtown back to life. Ever see a hot dog cart in downtown Simsbury? We need to make our city as attractive as possible to atract retailers and investors. The hot dog carts don't belong in that equation.

Anonymous said...

Where will Artie boy go for his hot dogs? I think Ward made a deal with them - check it out Steve Ward is not trustworthy!

Snookums said...

9:12, Sweetie, you really need some professional help. Your trust issues and delusions are more than a little unsettling. Talk to someone (other than us)...pleeze!

proven said...

9:12 - seems to me that the only HOT DOG here is you and it is quite obvious the you CAN'T CUT THE MUSTARD whether you RELISH it or not so KETCHUP and get rid of your ONION breath mentality because you have proven that you have not BUN anything other than stupid, stupid.

Anonymous said...

Proven...You nailed it! LMAO!