ANC6B Beats Back Attempt to Defund Protest of Handle-19 Sports Book Liquor License
by Larry Janezich
Last night, ANC6B voted 6 – 4 to defeat a motion by Commissioner Corey Holman to rescind a previous ANC decision to authorize spending $14,000 for lawyer’s fees to represent the ANC in its protest of a liquor license for Handle – 19 – a sports betting establishment trying to open at 319 Pennsylvania Avenue, SE.
As reported earlier on CHC, ANC6B is joining nearby residents to protest a liquor license before ABRA for the gambling venue which the neighbors view as an existential threat to their neighborhood and quality of life. Handle – 19 has the right to open up in the 300 block of Pennsylvania Avenue, but neighbors are gambling they won’t if a liquor license is denied.
Holman said that the ANC represents itself on a regular basis and has the ability to represent itself before ABRA. He said” the money seems too much and not enough at the same time” and amounted to one half of the ANC’s annual budget allocation. He added that if the motion was agreed to, he would move to use the funding to reestablish ANC6B COVID relief programs.
Former commissioner Chander Jayraman said that rescinding the funding “would be like going to a gunfight with blanks. The ANC will be going up against a giant corporation with lots of money. If we do vote to defund, why bother to protest?” Jayaraman, following his unsuccessful run for city council, remains an active participant in community affairs, especially on matters related to liquor licenses. In addition to chairing the Commission, he chaired the 6B Alcohol Beverage Control Committee during his tenure.
Commissioner Kirsten Oldenburg, agreed with Jayaraman, saying that if the ANC goes in front of ABRA to protest without a lawyer it sends the message that we’re caving on this. She added, “we can’t go to a protest hearing without legal expertise.” She later said that she would prefer to have an absolute cap on the amount of money the ANC could spend in legal fees.
Late in the debate, Holman seemed resigned to seeing his motion defeated, saying that he could see which way this was going, and concluded his remarks observing that “the ANC did not make a good faith effort to reach a settlement agreement” limiting Handle-19’s operations.
The breakdown of the vote is as follows:
Those opposed to the motion to rescind funding: Commissioners Samolyk, Sroufe, Ready, Holtzman, Wright, and Krepp.
Those in support of the motion to rescind funding: Oldenburg, Holman, Ryder, and Horn.