Senator Squadron Brings SLA Chair Rosen and CEO Mead to 25th Senate District for Nightlife Discussion with Community

Daniel L. Squadron

October 14, 2009

Squadron Brings Community Concerns Directly to New SLA Leaders

New York, NY – State Senator Daniel Squadron hosted a discussion on nightlife concerns yesterday, bringing together State Liquor Authority (SLA) Chairman Dennis Rosen, SLA CEO Trina Mead, SLA Deputy Commissioner of Licensing Kerri O’Brien, SLA Deputy CEO for New York City Michael Jones, Councilmember Rosie Mendez, Margaret Chin, representatives from the offices of Assembly Members Silver, Kavanagh, and Glick, and leaders from district community boards. The discussion, proposed by Senator Squadron this summer during the State Senate's confirmation process, provided a forum for community leaders to speak directly with SLA leadership about community concerns regarding nightlife, including overcrowding of bars, high noise levels, and other quality of life issues.

Senator Squadron said, “I organized this meeting because I know how important it is that the top-level leaders of the SLA hear directly from our community about the unique challenges we face. When I voted to confirm Chairman Rosen, I made it clear how important it is that he make understanding community concerns a priority. Last night’s meeting was an important step towards the SLA showing a true commitment to engaging with the community, and I look forward to continuing to work with Chairman Rosen and the community to facilitate an ongoing dialogue.”

"It is essential for the SLA and community members to communicate openly and frequently, and I thank Senator Squadron for initiating this process," said Chairman Rosen.  "Last night's discussion was constructive and a good start to an important and ongoing dialogue.  As the SLA moves forward, we will do so mindful that streamlining application procedures and providing communities with a voice in the process are not mutually exclusive.  Working together, we can make informed licensing decisions, intelligent enforcement actions, and safer communities."

“To improve Lower Manhattan’s quality of life, it is essential that our community has real input into the licensing of new drinking establishments. That’s why I joined Senator Squadron in co-sponsoring a new law that requires a hearing before a drinking establishment can move in next to existing nightspots,” said Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver.  “And I look forward to working with Chairman Rosen to ensure that the public interest is always heard before new licenses are issued in our community.”

"Problems that fall within the purview of the State Liquor Authority have been a chronic concern in our neighborhoods. We thank the agency's new leadership for making dialogue with our community a priority at the outset of their tenure," said Assemblymember Brian Kavanagh, who has previously called for New York City to have greater control over liquor licensing and increased funding for investigators and other oversight staff.

"Respectful neighbors make strong communities.   I look forward to working with the new commissioner to enforce the law and ensure that the bars and restaurants in New York City are not only good neighbors and but also contributing members of our communities," said Assemblyman Joe Lentol.

Assembly Member Joan Millman said, “I want to thank to SLA Chair Rosen and CEO Mead for coming into the community to meet with the local boards and leaders.  We wish them the best of luck and hope that they continue to reach out so we can all work together.”

Councilmember Rosie Mendez said, "The residents of my district know all too well that bars and restaurants add to the community's vibrancy and attractiveness, but these establishments have to be well run and well regulated.  The new administration at the SLA must understand the concerns of the citizens who live in a district where nightlife
establishments proliferate.  Last night's meeting was an important step in developing good communication. " 

Margaret Chin, Democratic City Council nominee for the First District, said, "I appreciate the Senator inviting me to participate in yesterday's informative and interesting meeting. I was impressed by the candor of the conversation, and look forward to making real progress for our communities on the quality of life issues we all face every day (and mostly every night)."

Attending the discussion were representatives from five community boards in Senator Squadron’s district – Manhattan Community Boards 1, 2, and 3, and Brooklyn Community Boards 2 and 6 – and other community organizations.

“Late night noise from bars and nightclubs is one of the problems that people complain about most frequently to Community Board One.  We are grateful to Senator Squadron for initiating a meeting where community board and local leaders could meet the new leadership of the State Liquor Authority and begin to work together to reduce these disruptions to the quality of life in our community,” said Noah Pfefferblit, District Manager of Manhattan Community Board 1.

“I’m very grateful to Senator Squadron for putting this meeting together. Community Boards throughout the district continue to struggle with issues such as on-premise liquor license applications, which is why it is so important to be able to meet with the SLA representatives who both make decisions on applications and enforce the code,” said Bob Gormley, District Manager of Manhattan Community Board 2.

"The meeting put together by Sen. Daniel Squadron to discuss SLA procedures with the new SLA Chair Dennis Rosen and CEO Trina Mead was exceptionally productive and allowed for a very honest discussion. I hope the proposed changes presented by the SLA officials are successful and will benefit both residents and license holders over the next year. Continuing this dialogue will help the Community Boards effectively deal with complex licensing issues and thus allow us to better serve the residents and applicants who make up our community," said Dominic Pisciotta, Chair of Manhattan Community Board 3.

 “Senator Squadron’s meeting for his district with the new SLA Chair, Dennis Rosen, and his top staff  was both productive and reassuring. It was important to discuss efficiencies  and  to establish a good line of communication.  This will allow us all to  work together in the most constructive manner.  Community Board 3 appreciates that Senator Squadron called the meeting and that the SLA came to our community to meet with us,” said Susan Stetzer, District Manager of Manhattan Community Board 3.

“Last night’s meeting was a good first step toward opening the channels of communication between the SLA and Brooklyn communities. I hope to continue to engage in a productive dialogue with SLA leadership as we work to address the particular issues facing our community,” said John Dew, Chair of Brooklyn Community Board 2.

“Senator Squadron’s meeting was both eye-opening and valuable, and most importantly helped to establish a dialogue between the SLA and community boards about the difficult issues we all face. We appreciate the opportunity to hear directly from SLA Chairman Rosen and look forward to continuing to work with him and his staff  to balance economic development and quality of life in our community,” said Daniel Kummer, Chair of the Permits and Licenses Committee for Brooklyn Community Board 6.

"We do feel threatened by the invasion of bars in our neighborhood, and it was very nice of Senator Squadron to put together the meeting with the SLA.  I think they got a much better sense of the community's issues," said Justin Yu, President of the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association.

“It is gratifying that the new SLA chair, Dennis Rosen, and his staff have met with Senator Squadron and community leaders who represent neighborhoods beleaguered with oversaturation of liquor licenses.  Such dialogue will only serve to foster understanding and cooperation.  Further, we respectfully urge the chair and the commissioners to tour the hotspots one evening to witness if the public interest has been served by past SLA decisions regarding the 500-Foot Law,” said Sean Sweeney, director of the Soho Alliance.

As a follow-up to the meeting, Senator Squadron, Assembly Member Kavanagh, and Councilmember Mendez plan to co-host a town hall meeting on nightlife issues as the next step in bringing together SLA officials and the community.