Tri Lakes Tribue Editorial - Beer and Nipples

The opinions contained in the post below are not the opinion of this media outlet but rather the opinion of Gary Groman aka "The Old Seagull" as published in the Tri-Lakes Tribune Sunday July 13, 2008. The Op-Ed article is in response to the Branson Landing Chicago Hot Dog Stand post last week.

In terms of availability and volume, the internet is a wonderful source of news and information. The world of blogging and internet message boards,

Note: After winning "Best News Blogger" two years in a row, Groman asked the members of his website to start identifying themselves as bloggers.
where anyone can post what they want when they want,

Note: Gary Groman's Message Board is highly moderated; often the entire body of work of specific authors are altered long after they are posted. As a result I rarely visit the site unless I want cookie recipies and reprints of stories written by authors other than the posters.

present the sometimes daunting challenge of separating the wheat from the chaff. The posting of just one post from one blogger this week, about the city of Branson’s proposed new regulations, illustrates that challenge.

On July 8 a blogger said, “Branson Mayor Raeanne Presley and the Chamber of Branson's Merry Politicians will introduce an amendment to Branson's Charter relating to alcohol.”

Note: The important word in the paragraph below is the word "If". Of course we weren't talking about the meeting Groman cites. There were a number of meetings most of which Gary Groman didn't attend.

If the blogger was talking about the meeting held on July 8 starting at 5:30 p.m. in the city of Branson’s council chambers and the official posted agenda for the meeting was accurate, it was a meeting of the Branson Liquor Task Force Committee (the Committee) for the purpose of the “Discussion of proposed changes to the liquor ordinances.”

Note: Gary Groman is a politician. He served as a TIF commissioner where he vigorously worked to stop the Branson Landing development. His efforts failed and he spent years as a thorn in the side of Branson's City Administration with a small column published in the Branson Daily Independent. Groman regularly issued attacks on the city administration and Chamber of Commerce. The thrust peaked in 1993 where a battle between the paper and the Chamber resulted in written responses drafted by Chamber CEO Ross Summers. When I say Politician, I include Gary Groman.

Obviously the Ole Seagull has no idea of what the blogger was referring to by the term “Branson’s Merry Politicians.” He does know the Committee was composed of at least Branson Mayor Raeanne Presley, Alderwoman Sandra Williams, past Alderman Jack Purvis, Captain Ron Key, Salvation Army, Chris Lucchi, MG Hospitality - American Bandstand, Steve Scherer, Grand Hospitality, and Chris Vinton, Weiss Commercial Reality.

The proposed ordinance, based on the recommendations and desires of the Committee, was drafted by Attorney, Richard Bryant from Kansas City, who was retained by the city to work with the Committee and provide specialized legal knowledge and expertise in the area of liquor control law. During the meeting, while introducing the amendment to the community, through an overview of the ordinance, Bryant said, “The underlying goal was to give the city the ability to effectively regulate liquor.” Interestingly, contrary to what citizens had previously been told, he pointed out that the city has the right to regulate how liquor is sold and consumed within its city limits.

Note: Gary Groman hasn't criticized or scrutinized any action taken by the current administration. In fact, when a solicitation ordinance was passed criticized for its limitations on free speech Ward II Alderman Cris Bohinc asked Groman's permission begging, "Will this ordincance hurt your newspaper?" Groman recently joined the Tri-Lakes Tribune a month old startup publication.

The blog goes on to state, “The 100 something page document…” Both copies of the draft ordinance, available at the meeting and a copy on the city of Branson’s web site, show, including the signature page, the document is only 49 pages long.

Note: Branson Mayor Raeanne Presley admitted in an open meeting that there were in fact more pages distributed in meetings that we attended but Gary Groman did not. We asked the Mayor to send Groman the missing documents.

Note: Groman has been criticized for failing to follow the Professional Journalistic Code of Ethics. His failure to cite sources is a direct attack and blatant failure to follow minimal ethical standards.

The blogger says the document “covers everything from how nipples of nude dancers can be displayed…” Actually Section 10-55 of the proposed change doesn’t contain the word “nipple” or anything else that a reasonable person could construe to say how the “nipples of nude dancers can be displayed.” In addition, subsection 10-55(b) contains verbiage virtually eliminating “nude dancers” from the equation.

Note: The section Groman cites does in fact regulate nude dancing and verbage relating to breasts. The City of Branson's Attorney promises to issue a response.

The blog goes on to state that the ordinance regulates “how late underage citizens can spend in establishments serving alcohol.” Section 10-71 entitled “Sales-by-drink premises; minors on premises” contains no restriction on how late any person, under age, citizen or otherwise, can be on the premises of establishments covered by that section if that person is accompanied by a parent or lawful guardian, the premises is an establishment such as a golf course, bowling alley, or a theatre, or the person is providing or assisting in providing entertainment upon the licensed premises. The only restriction in the section is a person under 21 may not be in one of the covered sales-by-drink premises after 12:00 midnight unless accompanied by a parent or lawful guardian.

Note: As Groman's article states, "how late underage citizens can spend..." is covered in the document. The circular argument is meant to confuse the reader and to issue an unnecessary attack.

The blog nears conclusion by stating “The amended liquor ordinance came as a result of Chicago Hot Dogs selling Beer at the Branson Landing.” May an Ole Seagull suggest the Chicago Hot Dog incident might be what triggered public reaction this time, but the proposed ordinance is the result of factors transcending the Chicago Hot Dog situation.

Note: The ordinance came under Branson City Council's scrutiny after the Mayor attended a Branson Landing concert where alcohol was being served.

If an Ole Seagull were a betting Seagull he’d bet the ordinance is the result of situations going back years. One that comes to mind was when citizens complained to their elected and unelected leaders, in the previous administration, about the incursion of the serving of alcoholic beverages into Branson family friendly theatres and the city’s senior unelected leadership told them nothing could be done because the state regulated alcohol. If nothing else, the proposed ordinance and its development process prove the fallacy of that logic.

Note: Alcohol in theaters has been brought up numerous times and does in fact transcend the legislation spurned in response to the Chicago Hot Dogs Stand selling beer. Some believe Branson needs to enact ordinances to help brand Branson as a "family friendly" city.

Blogs and bloggers are like an Ole Seagull and his column. Readers should recognize them for what they are, the opinions of the writer,

Note: We don't prescribe to the writing methods of Gary Groman and have repeatedly asked him to add ethical approach to his liberal sprinklings. Our post was based on fact - not opinion.

and give those opinions only the credibility that their common sense, intellect, experience and knowledge deems appropriate.

Note: We're really not sure what Gary Groman is getting at here; however, we have logged more hours in city meetings; government hearings and political functions than "The Old Seagull" if a comparison is being made.