Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Art House Cinemas, Golf Courses, Wine and Cheese

So pretty much the entire 6/21 Select Board meeting was taken up by a "public hearing" required by the state to issue yet another alcohol permit to a highly regarded--and some would would argue PC--business here in the People's Republic.

A few weeks back it was Atkins Farm Country Market (much to the regret of a local package store located nearby) and now the Amherst Cinema "art house" in downtown Amherst.

Many years ago the town created the "seasonal license" (April-to-January) strictly for the town owned Cherry Hill Golf Course as a means of increasing anemic revenues, and although it carried a value/price tag of $700 (a tad below the year round beer/wine license of $1,000) the Golf Course never actually paid it since it was a municipal tax exempt operation and losing taxpayer money hand over fist. But of course town officials don't want you to know that.

The Amherst Cinema is also tax exempt but not municipally owned (but that crazy idea was actually floated about ten years ago). Interestingly Select Board member Alisa "seems logical" Brewer dares to question the cost of the license and the Town Manager tells her it will be the same $700 "charged" Cherry Hill.

But Cherry Hill has never paid that charge, so you gotta wonder if the Town Manager will ever actually bill the Amherst Cinema? Although safe to say their gross annual revenues far exceed our lackluster golf business.
video

48 comments:

Anonymous said...

Could a legal complaint can be brought against town manager for not billing Chery Hill Gold Course or Amherst Cinema?

Enough Kabuki!

LarryK4 said...

Probably not (the town attorney appointed by him may not want to take that on).

Although the town manager makes a tad over $125-K annually, so maybe we could just bill him the $700 times 2.

Anonymous said...

First of all, you can't file a complaint for something that hasn't even happened. The AC just requested permission to get a license on Monday so get a grip.

As for Cherry Hill, the town is paying itself. It's not actually out any revenue from not charging CH because it would be just moving money on paper.

LarryK4 said...

But in the real world that some of inhabit it is called the "cost of doing business".

Cherry Hill also shirks paying property taxes to the town (which if it were privately owned would come to close to $10,000 annually).

And even tax exempt Amherst College pays property taxes on their 9-hole Golf Course.

So if Cherry Hill were privately operated (and we did had the opportunity to lease it to the private sector for $30,000 per year for three years) it would generate additional revenues from being treated like a real business and dealing with all those pressures of the real world.

Anonymous said...

What offends me is not your slagging on Cherry Hill but your dragging the Amherst Cinema into it. They don't have anything to do with your decades long grudge.

LarryK4 said...

You take offense easily--but then, many Anons do.

Anonymous said...

They don't shirk paying property tax any more than the schools or fire and police station do. It's owned by the town. It's an asset. If it was privately owned it would pay taxes but it's not privately owned, we all own it.

Anonymous said...

An article written about the liquor license being granted to the Amherst Cinema stated that the employees of the Cinema would be "trained" in monitoring the who/what/where/when/ and how the liquor is served. That's a joke. Anyone who's ever gone to the Amherst Cinema knows that the employees (or, at least the ones I've come across most of the time) are careless enough in their jobs to not even check your tickets. Half the time you can walk into one of the theaters without even buying one. Personally I've never done that but have seen firsthand how it's possible because no one monitors the doors. So, regarding serving liquor? Dumb idea folks. Dumb idea. Don't we have enough trouble in this town with alcohol?

250th fiasco said...

ahhh carol johnson, such a great supporter of 250th legacy gifts

"Committee Chair - Adrienne Terrizzi

The subcommittee's objectives were to represent the town's rich cultural and historical resources in the written, visual and performing arts. We are collaborating with Amherst museums, libraries, galleries, art centers, and cultural groups to provide programming for all ages. A town-wide celebration during Founder's Day Weekend, February 13-15, 2009, invited the entire community to exhibits, lectures, open houses and receptions. Additionally, we planned a weekly literary series, an evening dedicated to the poetry, life and times of Robert Francis, a concert celebrating our neighborhood cultures, children's activities, and during the year, events to showcase the vibrant and creative energies of Amherst's established and emerging artists. "


NOTICE NO MENTION OF THE LEGACY GIFT FIASCO.

Anonymous said...

The Sore Loser resurfaces. Climb back under your rock.

LarryK4 said...

Anon 10:18 PM
When the took took Cherry Hill under an "emergency measure" Town Meeting was told the golf business would not only be "self sustaining" but would also help pay back the $2.2 million expenditure.

That of course never happened.

But because of that naive promise Town Meeting made Cherry Hill an "Enterprise Fund" in year 3 of ownership meaning it had to cover all the normal expenses--like property taxes--as if it were a private business.

Five years ago the town gave up on that (with the operation losses having hit the $1 million mark) and returned it back to just part of the Community Services budget where they can hide things like insurance costs,employee benefits, and equipment purchases.

So this July, the town manager and LSSE will issue a press release about how great it did but the balance sheet is tilted in its favor because they fail to calculate those hidden costs.

Anonymous said...

"The Sore Loser resurfaces. Climb back under your rock."

that is where salamanders live. if the game was fair, i wouldn't be sore...and maybe i would still have my house.

so to you i say.....fuck you asshole amherstian, where only the h is silent. heartless turd you are.

so when is barry roberts going to develop it into overpriced commercial space?

Anonymous said...

and complete the circle of conflict of interest.

Anonymous said...

Picture it:

"A LOVELY SUNDAY AFTERNOON AND MR.SHAFFER GETS UP EARLY AND HEADS TO CHERRY HILL FOR A "FREE" GAME OF GOLF WITH HIS BUDDIES. AFTER A FULL DAY OF GAME AND SUN, THEY HEAD FOR AMHERST CINEMA TO TAKE IN A MOVIE AND FEW "FREE" DRINKS. A PERFECT ENDING TO A WONDERFUL DAY AND CAREER." thanks tax-payers!

LarryK4 said...

Now, now.

I just saw Mr. Shaffer last night and he's lost weight and looks good, so I think he's given up the beer and probably embraces exercise a tad more vigorous than golf.

Anonymous said...

I'm amazed how quickly those in the loop get a license. If the Subway or Antonio's wanted a license I don't think it would be so easy. Larry maybe before you closed shop you should have applied for a liquor license. I've meet people from England who are offended by we American's eating popcorn and opening candy wrapers during a film. Wait till they go to a movie now.

Ed said...

0rwell said it best: "Everyone is equal, some are more equal than others."

The Amherst Cinema caters to a certain clientele and thus, of course, it is entitled to have the parking meters reset to its needs (those using the Library and/or attempting to patronize tax-paying downtown businesses be damned), of course it is entitled to an alcohol license, it is entitled to anything it wants because the important people go there.

Why is it that the "Taste of Amherst" can have a beer tent while there can't be Champagne at UMass Graduate Commencement -- because some people are more equal than others.

And when you inevitably get a real riot, when the UM students finally rise up in a real revolt like, well, the people running this town did on May 4, 1970 -- well, when that inevitably happens, you can all dust off the old reports discussing the "campus unrest" and think about the consequences of some people being more equal than others....

Of course the golf course and theater have liquor licenses - it is the same reason why they left that lodge on the island in Quabbin (the intent was to have a private club only for politicians).

Anonymous said...

Ed,

I'm still waiting for your nonexistent student revolt to begin. What time or century do you expect it to start?

Anonymous said...

The Mullin's Center serves alcohol so why shouldn't the AC? Get over it you naysayers.

Anonymous said...

"so when is barry roberts going to develop it into overpriced commercial space?"

Sorry, Sore Loser, but Barry Roberts is good to artists, so you will have to pedal your tale of woe elsewhere. Gallery A3 gets space at below market rates.

Anonymous said...

Mullins Center is in Hadley.

LarryK4 said...

And I believe the Mullins, a tax exempt, collects a fifty cent tax per ticket to give to Hadley for police/fire protection.

Anonymous said...

The same people that are bemoaning the loss of a bar (Charlie's) have suddenly turned into Puritans when the AC wants a license to sell a handful of beers and wine a night.

LarryK4 said...

And don't you think maybe there's a connection there?

Sure, when products compete they get better but it helps if the competition takes place on a level playing field.

Anonymous said...

Um, exactly who is the AC competing with? There is no other cinema in Amherst.

LarryK4 said...

I was thinking of small businesses that serve beer and wine.

Anonymous said...

In response to anon 9:06 Charlies was a bar,Amherst Cinema is a movie theater. Maybe Ren's can get a liquor license if the gas biz slows down. However he would have to know the right people

Anonymous said...

"Sorry, Sore Loser, but Barry Roberts is good to artists, so you will have to pedal your tale of woe elsewhere. Gallery A3 gets space at below market rates."

is that why he never got back to me concerning the 250th legacy piece, and instead dropped the whole idea as chair of the committee, after he said to me " i want to see you get paid"? that is really supporting the arts.

so he discounts an inflated rent, what else has he done?

endorement said...

http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4098/4739547318_c2277b215b_b.jpg

unanimous said...

http://www.amherstma.gov/archives/78/HC%2002-04-2008.pdf

Anonymous said...

AC got a license because they applied for one, not because they know anyone. They went before the Selectboard just like anyone else can choose to. As for unfair competition, I don't see it. They are selling beer and wine to people watching the movies. They are not competing with other sellers of beer and wine to sell to the general non-moviegoing customer.

Anonymous said...

"what else has he done?"

Let's see the list is long, here's just a few:

He donates his horses for charitable events.

He built the Amherst Cinema at cost.

He's spearheading the development of a Business Improvement District (which will cost him tens of thousands each year) so there is more money to promote and improve downtown.

coffeshopmetalart said...

then why did he not just fund the spirit frame proposal...he could have helped an artist save his home?

instead, as it played out, they cancelled it without reason, and left me high and dry. seems i am the 250th's legacy piece.

crossroads salamander
mill canal newt
minuteman crossing
spirit frame fiasco sinks local public artist

......................
"He built the Amherst Cinema at cost. " with "special" permits i bet most out of the loop would not get. how much rent does he make off the building now?

"He's spearheading the development of a Business Improvement District "

I know he's got his eye on the amherst academy block for his business improvements.

hey, if you have enough money for that many horses, you do what you want in amherst.

http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4138/4740436927_bb4485f573_b.jpg

Anonymous said...

I love losers that proclaim to be pro business and free market and then get jealous when other people succeed. Especailly when they succeed through old fashioned hard work.

Anonymous said...

You're out there on the limb all by yourself. You don't see Larry bashing Barry Roberts. It's because he knows he is a person of excellent character that does a lot for the town.

Anonymous said...

if he is so great, why did he let my ship sink, after assuring he wanted to see things work out? i have always had a feeling it goes much deeper than what appears on the surface. i am not on the inside, so i guess i'll never know. perhaps it has to do with my former abutter cinda, whom i had problems with concerning her polluting lumberyard, now defunct, (hooray) and who openly rejected any participation in public art by her rich family. or maybe it was the brestrup/thompson/cardasis connection to the inner circle.

btw, i have never seen larry bash me either.

Anonymous said...

People get their homes foreclosed on when they don't make their payments, multiple payments. Mucho payments. You needed to do less whining and more working.

bach art lives on said...

the 7 grand they owe me would have gotten me out of that, don't you think?

is it true that the 250th parade got like 25 g's from insurance because it rained a little that day?

sounds like silverstein

Anonymous said...

Yeah, it seems like every decision they made generated money. You, not so much.

Anonymous said...

In response to anon 7:13. So anyone can go before the board and get a permit? I doubt they would get one so quickly even if they were highly qualified. They are not competing with anyone, BS. So a couple goes to the movie buys a few glasses of wine. So now they don't go to Amherst Coffee they don't go to ABC after the show because they already bought their drinks. They are competing and I might further add they are competing unfaily. They are subsidized with a large grant, they have donations, fund raisers, subscribers and they charge for admission like most business. A completing business like ABC doesn't get a grant, doesn't get donations. If the AC has a successful business model why do they need alcohol? What's next slot machines, X-rated movies, burlesque show? Actually doesn't sound all that bad on second thought.

Anonymous said...

You folks are looking at the world too closely. This is nothing out of the ordinary. I went to see the New Century Theatre in Northampton the other night and during intermission they sold wine. How many beers do you think the cinema is going to sell? A hanfdful a day probably or less. It's not a big deal. I don't think that's going to put ABC out of business. They already sell coffee and that doesn't seem to driving Amherst Coffee out of business.

Anonymous said...

Most likely I will not be buying a glass of wine at the Amherst Cinema. I can't afford their coffee or their popcorn or anything else they sell after I've paid for a couple of their movie tickets. Besides which, drinking a glass of wine with folks you're hanging with is a social event. I more or less reserve that for either going to a bar with friends or having a drink with dinner, not going to the movies. For me personally, this is a non-issue but of course this is Amherst, where everything is an issue. Get a life people.

Anonymous said...

I'm not losing any sleep over the AC permit issue. Some may say it's no big deal. But these "little things" add up over time. To say they got the permit fair and square I don't think so. Again I doubt Subway on the corner would get a permit so quickly if ever. There didn't appear to be much debate. To say it doesn't effect other business in the area. Well it won't put them out of business but it does effect them over time. Say AC sells 20 glasses a night six days a week at $3 a glass. That's $360 per week that's not going somewhere else, the Pub, ABC, Amherst Coffee, tappas bar, etc. Not a big deal but a little here a little there adds up over time.

Anonymous said...

First of all, just because you buy a glass of wine at AC doesn't mean you would have bought a glass of wine somewhere else. You are just choosing a different refreshement option while going to a movie. And as for whether "There didn't appear to be much debate"; if you objected to the idea you should have spoken up at the hearing. No one stopped you.

Anonymous said...

This blog has a fear of success. After many years of trying, the delapidated AC building was saved. Before it was an abandonded building that had been closed for years. Now it is filled with successful business including the cinema. There are lots of new employees getting paid during these tough times, dollars being spent downtown instead of out of town. You guys should be cheering.

Anonymous said...

Don't get me wrong. The AC building is a great addition for Amherst. The building is beautiful and I love and frequent the cinema. I've eaten and enjoyed the restaurant. The debate is about who should be able to sell alcohol and the approval process. I also question when grant and public money is mixed with private business. I'm all for success especially when it is the result of hard honest work and PRIVATE risk taking. I have a problem with private success with taxpayer money as we have recently seen.

Anonymous said...

Nonprofit arts centers, such as the Bing in Springfield, Mahaiwe Theater in Great Barrington, and the soon to be developed The First National Bank Building in Greenfield and Victory Theatre in Holyoke, enable blighted buildings to turn into economic and cultural engines for their communities. They deserve public money because they bring economic development to the public.

The trade-off in taking this money is that they have to be nonprofits so they can't profit the way other for profit businesses do. The main difference is that they can't be sold for a profit the way a private business can. Their success is for the benefit of the community, not private owners who can cash out.

Anonymous said...

The Amherst Cinema is alright with me. It sure beat the old dump of a cinema that was in the center of town. No heat and dirty.