Luke, AMS, Attorney, City, Businesses Mix It Up Over OysterFence

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Kevin L. Hoover

Eye Editor

PLAZA – Luke Patterson, owner of Luke’s Joint, is spearheading a last-minute drive to prevent Arcata Main Street (AMS) from fencing off the Plaza for this Saturday’s Arcata Bay Oyster Festival. Late this afternoon, though, it appeared Patterson was modifying his demands.

This afternoon, AMS received an e-mail message from Chris Johnson Hamer warning that she and her client, Luke’s Joint, will be applying for a temporary restraining order (TRO) on Friday. This is the message, from which e-mail addresses and phone numbers have been removed:

Luke Patterson works on his anti-OysterFence petition at Luke's Joint. Photos by KLH | Eye

Luke Patterson works on his anti-OysterFence petition at Luke’s Joint. Photos by KLH | Eye

“From: Chris Hamer

Subject: Ex Parte Notice of Application for Temporary Restraining Order
 
David Neyra, Nick Matthews, Jennifer Koopman
 
This is notice that tomorrow morning we will be applying, ex parte, for a temporary restraining order to prevent Arcata Main Street from erecting a fence which blocks access to Luke’s Joint, Simply Macintosh, Art Center, All Under Heaven, Delilah’s Hairstyling, Essence of Humboldt, People’s Records, Eden and Fabric Temptations, by anyone other than persons paying a $10 fee to enter the Oyster Festival.
 
If you would like to resolve this matter informally by altering the location of the fence, allowing entry to reach businesses only with validation or some other mechanism, please contact me.
 
Chris Johnson Hamer
Stokes, Hamer, Kaufman & Kirk, LLP”
Arcata Main Street Director Jennifer Koopman works out OysterFest details in her AMS office.

Arcata Main Street Director Jennifer Koopman works out OysterFest details in her AMS office.

Hamer made clear that the letter doesn’t claim all of the cited businesses are supporters of the restraining order demand, but simply notes that they will be affected by the fencing off of the Plaza.

She said the TRO is necessary as a legal adjunct to the filing of a lawsuit, which she and her client, Luke’s Joint, may proceed with but wish to avert.

“We’re attempting to work it out,” Hamer said, with AMS and the City of Arcata.

Some of the businesses cited in the letter support the TRO action, some don’t.

“I’m good with that,” said Brenda Williams, owner of Delilah’s Hair Salon on G Street, which would be enclosed within the fence surrounding the Plaza. “I don’t like having my town closed off from having commerce. It should be open for everyone.”

“I hope the best for them, but I don’t like the way they are closing off the Plaza from businesses,” said Steve Lovett, owner of People’s Records. “It’s a fundraiser, but at whose expense?”

Lovett, whose store would be outside the fence but only accessible via a narrow sidewalk corridor between the fence and his shop, said that despite AMS President David Neyra’s publicly stated claim that he’s visited all affected Plaza businesses at least twice, said that “I never saw him.”

“The whole thing is just bonkers,” said Lennie Daggett, owner of Fabric Temptations of the Plaza fencing plan. “It should not be. It’s so wrong.”

Though her store would be outside the fence, she said Fabric Temptations would be negatively impacted by the change in downtown traffic circulation. “We are definitely affected and the powers that be forget that.”

“Move it to the Community Center, where people can be free,” Daggett suggested, echoing the opinion of many fence skeptics.

Mary Lou Bertolini, owner of the Art Center on H Street, which would be enclosed within the fence, said she was “not thrilled,” with the fence concept. She said the Art Center will be closed during the event, as it is during other Plaza events such as the Fourth of July Jubilee. She hadn’t been aware of the letter from Hamer, though.

Simeon Tauber, co-owner of Simply Macintosh, was shocked to hear that his business had been mentioned in the letter. “I am no party to that,” he insisted. He said he had signed a petition opposing the fence in principle, but that “I didn’t assign anyone to represent me.”

Characterizing Patterson’s anti-fence drive as a “fatwa,” Tauber described Patterson as “acting like a ranting little child.” Said Tauber, “I fully intend to keep my agreement with MS [Main Street].”

All Under Heaven owner Gail Rossi was not available for comment. The import shop, located next to People’s Records, would be outside the Plaza fence, which begins at the west end of All Under Heaven, where Willow and Rags begins. That shop, a clothing store, will be within the OysterFest fence.

Patterson was angry about the letter from his attorney. “I did not authorize or ask for those names to be used,” he said of Hamer’s letter. “I don’t even know where she got those names.”

“Luke asserts that the letter sent to MS was done without his knowledge,” Tauber said. “I do not find that to be a credible comment.”

Patterson said he had changed his mind on two counts: he plans to keep Luke’s Joint open during the event ”as a case study, to mine data.” He had previously stated that it would be closed.

Also, he said, he would not pursue the TRO on the condition that AMS work out some means by which patrons could access his restaurant during the OysterFest, such as a free “validation” system.

The front of the cards patterson delivered to Koopman at her Arcata Main Street office yesterday.

The front of the cards patterson delivered to Koopman at her Arcata Main Street office yesterday.

Yesterday, prior to today’s e-mail message from his attorney, Patterson had personally delivered some other materials to AMS Director Jennifer Koopman – a greeting card, a postcard and a thick packet of internal AMS documents, including financial statements and e-mail messages he said he obtained from an undisclosed former AMS boardmember .

The greeting card depicts a rat in an overcoat exposing itself like a flasher, displaying a sign that says, “VERMIN LIKE SEX TOO.” Inside, Patterson has written “…but nonconsensual sex is called something else…”

The postcard is one put out by the Onion satire magazine, and depicts a crying child who has used “Nothing But Tears” shampoo. On the back, Patterson has written, “‘always forgive your enemies – nothing annoys them so much.’ – Oscar Wilde. i forgive you.”

Patterson said the cards are “just a reference to my tax dollars. The cards are not a reference to anything to do with the fence. It’s an entirely separate issue.”

He noted that the City of Arcata provides AMS with a subsidy – some $18,000 annually for the last two years, according to a detailed North Coast Journal report on AMS and OysterFest finances headlined “Oysters, Beer and Cash,” written by Grant Scott-Goforth.

Patterson said that he doesn’t regard Koopman as his personal enemy, but rather, “She is the enemy of the taxpayer, it could be argued.”

As for the “i forgive you” message, Patterson said, “I forgave her. That’s what I meant by that.”

Asked how he might feel if he was a professional woman on the receiving end of a card bearing a cryptic message about “nonconsensual sex”  – rape, in other words – Patterson said, “I can make a joke.”

Koopman reported the cards to Arcata Police for documentation. Police Chief Tom Chapman discussed the matter with her at AMS’s Jacoby’s Storehouse office this afternoon. Chapman could not immediately be reached for comment.

The backs of the cards, with messages to Koopman from Patterson.

The backs of the cards, with messages to Koopman from Patterson.

Patterson suggested that the AMS financial data he had received, and had distributed to a number of individuals, contained questionable information.

“I’m interested in what a CPA says about those statements,” he said. But he said, he hadn’t yet hired a CPA to look the material over.

He said he had had a pleasant meeting with Acting City Manager Mark Andre this afternoon. Details aren’t known, as Andre didn’t immediately return a message.

This afternoon, Patterson posted a template for a proposed customer validation system online. The Draft text reads as follows:

“Oyster Festival, June 15, 2013
Arcata Main Street
MERCHANT VALIDATION FORM
I hereby represent that I am entering the Oyster Festival only for the purpose of visiting the business circled below, which is accessible only by entering the Oyster Festival because other access is blocked by fencing. I will leave the Festival promptly after visiting the business or will pay the entry fee. I understand that I must pay the Oyster Festival entry fee on leaving the Festival if the Business stamp or signature does not appear on this form.
The stamp or signature of the Business is set forth below:
___________________
Business Stamp or Signature 
____________________
Customer Name
Eligible businesses: (insert any/all effected business names here).”

“I was born a fighter,” Patterson said. “I fight for what I believe is right.”

 

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22 Responses to “Luke, AMS, Attorney, City, Businesses Mix It Up Over OysterFence”

  1. It seems to me the incredibly unprofessional and inappropriate reference to rape deserves a bit more than just a passing mention here, editor. I was entirely behind his effort to oppose the fence, but I don't think I'll be spending my money in his establishments any time soon as a result of his comments. Perhaps he meant the rat to be AMS and the nonconsensual sex referenced was metaphorical for the fence, but however he meant it, I am sure he could have found a less disturbing, menacing and entirely inappropriate way to express it.

    #69274
  2. Boycott oyester fest! You go Luke.

    #69275
  3. Edith Mattson Fritzsche

    I hope I don't need anything downtown this weekend, or I will have to drive to Eureka for it.

    #69276
  4. [...] Luke, AMS, Attorney, City, Businesses Mix It Up Over OysterFence Hamer made clear that the letter doesn't claim all of the cited businesses are supporters of the restraining order demand, but simply notes that they will be affected by the fencing off of the Plaza. She said the TRO is necessary as a legal adjunct to … Read more on Arcata Eye [...]

    #69283
  5. Gray Dee

    The city council voted 4-1 in favor of fencing off the plaza – I can't wait to see how they want to handle the 4th of July fair, North Country Fair, Kinetic Sculpture race, etc. Why not just make the fence permanent, and charge admission everyday? Then Arcata Main Street could put up halloween lights & hang thanksgiving bunting & light solstice candles & give out Kwaanza candies! Now that is what I call "supporting local businesses."
    Jeesh, how sad.

    #69284
  6. As a business owner I can totally understand why Luke is doing this. Being forced to close for a day so the city can profit is a horrible idea. I thought the City and Arcata Main Street we're supposed to be "small business owner friendly"…Its apparent their NOT.

    Saturday, for most, is our busiest of business days. We could easily lose a weeks worth of revenue being forced to close.

    This can easily be solved by moving Oysterfest to the area behind the Community Center. Its HUGE, fenced and has ample parking. Businesses can stay open, Farmers Market can happen for non-festival go-ers and no-one has to be inconvenienced. Not to mention the city will "double" its tax revenue on that day.
    Anyone wanna 2nd that notion???

    #69288
  7. Koobecaf Skcus

    I'll second the notion of using the Community Center as a viable location for the Oysterfest, it seems to solve all of issues being raised.

    Luke's statement 'As for the “i forgive you” message, Patterson said, “I forgave her. That’s what I meant by that.”' does seem rather disingenuous in the context of the Wilde quote.

    I find the Merchant Validation Form laughable because I'm not going to engage in a contractual agreement so that I can visit a business on a particular day. I would simply visit on another day and I suspect many other people would react similarly.

    I don't see fencing off the plaza for this event leading to more events being similarly treated. The fencing is clearly controversial and our community is much too vocal. As stated by Ms. Patterson, the profits from the Oysterfest (fence or no fence) pay for the many other public events that cost money but don't generate a profit. If that statement was shown to be false (can you use a past particle in a reference to the future? I'm just not sure) down the road there would be quite the brouhaha.

    It would be interesting to see an estimated economic impact of all businesses directly effected by the fence in terms of profit (not gross) loss and an extrapolated tax loss to the city.

    #69291
  8. Koobecaf Skcus

    I'll second the notion of using the Community Center as a viable location for the Oysterfest, it seems to solve all of issues being raised.

    Luke's statement 'As for the “i forgive you” message, Patterson said, “I forgave her. That’s what I meant by that.”' does seem rather disingenuous in the context of the Wilde quote.

    I find the Merchant Validation Form laughable because I'm not going to engage in a contractual agreement so that I can visit a business on a particular day. I would simply visit on another day and I suspect many other people would react similarly.

    I don't see fencing off the plaza for this event leading to more events being similarly treated. The fencing is clearly controversial and our community is much too vocal. As stated by Ms. Patterson, the profits from the Oysterfest (fence or no fence) pay for the many other public events that cost money but don't generate a profit. If that statement was shown to be false (can you use a past particle in a reference to the future? I'm just not sure) down the road there would be quite the brouhaha.

    It would be interesting to see an estimated economic impact of all businesses directly effected by the fence in terms of profit (not gross) loss and an extrapolated tax loss to the city.

    #69292
  9. wow, patterson is now officially the crazy cat lady of the plaza. a tro? really? this world is full of conflict and those that take actions to escalate conflict are not helping us find affinity with each other. in his earlier actions, I feigned that he might bring litigation. but, I did not think that his ego was actually so inflated that he would do this. I thought, this is arcata, we do not do this sort of thing. apparently, I was incorrect.

    i don't go to oysterfest anymore because I just cannot stand the gross smell of the cooking oysters,,, gives me nausea. all this conflict about the fence and fee seem to me to be more about drama. it would be better if it were free, or if there were some form of donation scheme, but things are not perfect and we need to find compromise in order to live in a more peaceful world. if only people sought opportunities to find cooperation and joyful community, rather than conflict, life would be much easier for everyone. ams may not be perfect, but patterson is escalating conflict and that seems to be a form of adolescent resolution.

    time to cast aside our egos for the betterment of our community. people so easily choose conflict (all the "i am boycotting oysterfest now") these days. so dramatic. I am imperfect too, but I seek to make things better rather than the opposite. tro's and litigation are not peaceful actions.

    #69293
  10. paragraph 2, typo AMD vs AMS? d and s are right next to each other… ;-P

    #69294
  11. don't forget to use your hashtags about #oysterfest and #fencegate.

    #69295
  12. Katherine Fish Lee

    #crazycatlady

    #69296
  13. Fixed, thanks.

    #69297
  14. I am the owner of The Alibi and I have never been asked about the fence by anyone from Mainstreet. They lied to the City Council, the media and to the public when they made the statement concerning asking everyone on the Plaza about the fence. I asked every business on 9th Street if anyone from Mainstreet had contacted them, the reply was no by every business. Shame on Mainstreet for lying to the City Council, the media and the business which they are supposed to encourage and support in the city of Arcata.

    #69300
  15. Tiffany St.Claire

    I don't like this.

    #69301
  16. [...]  cards – one a greeting card, the other a postcard – mention “nonconsensual sex,” a [...]

    #69303
  17. Good for you Justin!

    #69304
  18. Jim Szujewski

    It seems quite shellfish of AMS to set up the fence, someone needs to mussel up the courage and do something about it!!

    #69308
  19. That is a very weird card.

    #69309
  20. Tami Lou Beavers Castillo

    Well done Justin!

    #69310
  21. [...] Hamer, sent Main Street an e-mail message stating that a temporary restraining order (TRO) would be sought to halt the fence plan. The TRO was part of a planned lawsuit against Main Street, Hamer [...]

    #69329

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