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Reader Input: Selective enforcement

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When The Station Bistro & Lounge opened, the Roseville Redevelopment Agency director had forced the previous occupant, The Station Nightclub, to close its doors by taking away their “grandfathered” right to operate as a nightclub. As their property manager, I was a witness in the landlord’s suit to regain that right. Knowing the importance of the new tenant’s compliance with city ordinances pertaining to restaurant operations, I took over as their managing partner, obtaining a business license as a “restaurant with evening entertainment” in October 2008.

Our restaurant, located outside the agency’s redevelopment zone, has offered casual dining with “themed” dancing (blues, swing, country, salsa, classic hits and Latin), complying with Roseville’s ordinances since its opening. We have generated over $1.5 million in food and beverage sales and have paid over $155,000 in taxes. We operated without incident until April 13, 2011, when the Press Tribune published a photo of our banner supporting Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposal eliminating redevelopment agencies.

The agency immediately retaliated, ordering Roseville Police Department enforcement of an ordinance its director introduced, exempting redevelopment properties from enforcement, written to “protect” redevelopment properties, “intended” to make redevelopment properties “... the place ... to dance,” and that redefined restaurants as “nightclubs” if they had “space for dancing” but promising it would not affect “existing” restaurants.

Sixty citations were issued until the Supreme Court upheld the governor’s order. Now after the agency’s dismantling, its director has spent an additional $1.5 million in taxpayer dollars subsidizing special interests, while continuing selective enforcement of the order he wrote – and the taxpayer is again footing the bill.

Len Travis, managing member Steel Train Partners in Roseville