Ten greatest hits from the anti- Tiki Barge complaint petition
At around 4:30 today at City Hall, a handful of cranky, loud critics and supporters of the Tiki Barge will speak before the Baltimore Liquor Board to discuss the floating barge's future.
It was so long ago that they crammed #215 at City Hall to argue for four mind-numbing hours, that it's hard to remember what exactly they were arguing about that March 3.
Before I checked in with the petition that some of the barge's neighbors filed with the board, all I remembered was the phrase "public urination" being uttered every ten minutes.
So, because I hadn't posted it before, below are the ten most egregious complaints from the Tiki Barge liquor board petition.
At the last hearing, the liquor board ordered critics and supporters to come to an agreement about the bar's future. If they haven't by today, the liquor board will make a decision about renewing the bar's liquor license. The hearing today is not expected to be as contested as the last, which could easily be qualified a clusterflux.
The Tiki Barge has not been fazed by the criticism. It has already planned on re-opening Friday.
The petition against the Tiki Barge is a phone book-thick trapper keeper that meticulously documents activity at the floating barge since it first opened last Memorial Day. It was filed last year and co-signed by 14 neighbors, mostly residents on Harbor Island Walk. Eventually, 40 other neighbors had joined the petition.
Their complaints range from the innocuous to the bizarre. Most are simply attributed to anonymous residents.
At the March 3 hearing, Mel Kodenski, representing Tiki Barge license holder and part-owner* Richard Swirnow, argued some if not all the complaints were isolated incidents.
Here are the ten greatest hits, presented verbatim:
Paragraph 28: "An example of the type of lewd and unruly behavior at the Tiki Barge was shown on a video posted on YouTube. There is abusive and swear language used and there also is partial nudity shown on the video where a patron dropped his shorts while being filmed." Petition included video screenshot, as well a CD copy of the Youtube video.
Par. 31, point 1: "One resident at the August Harborview Community meeting had observed departing Tiki Barge patrons leave the marina area, walk along Harborview Drive and participate in a drug transaction outside the Harborview Towers." Presumably, the writer does not mean that a resident saw patrons leave the community meeting to conduct a drug trade, but rather that the resident told the community meeting about what he or she had seen previously.
Par. 31, point 2: "Several residents observed six visually intoxicated patrons leaving the Tiki Barge steal a golf cart belonging to one of the boat owners in the Marina and drive the golf cart through the Harborview Community and out onto Key Highway." A marina police log is attached. Dan Naor, the marina's chief operating office, told me later the golf cart was driven 100 feet before being stopped by one of the marina's officers. Naor said it never left the marina, and speculated it was someone playing a prank.
Par. 31, point five: "There were numerous instances where people observed Tiki Barge patrons destroying property in the Harborview Community. On one occasion, a Harborview resident walking his dog and observed several intoxicated Tiki Barge patrons trampling a flower bed."
Par. 31, point six: "On one occasion an intoxicated Tiki Barge patron simulated sex with a potted palm tree at the entrance to Sorso Cafe while her girlfriend took her photograph." ["see Ex. 10 photos which show palm tree at Sorso Cafe entrance]."
Par. 31, point 7: "A Tiki Barge patron dropped her pants and urinated on a transformer in the residential area. Another Tiki Barge patron urinated on a tree next to the marina's parking lot."
Par. 31, point 8: "Another resident of Harborview, while sitting at the Tiki Barge bar, was told by the bartender (who used a proud tone of voice) that numerous women would flash their breasts at each other at the Tiki Barge."
Par. 34. "One one occasion a "bachelorette party" tour bus picked up dozens of obviously intoxicated by stopping at a driveway, causing the women to gather in a resident's driveway in order to get to the bus; the women cursed the residents who were watching them."
Par. 37: "The problems caused by the Tiki Barge have turned the residential Harborview Community into a police state, where there is a constant police presence, and still the constant police presence does not eliminate the offensive and abusive behavior caused by the Patrons of the Tiki Barge." In an interview, police spokesman Donny Moses said Southern District describes the area as generally "quiet," with car stops as their main concern.
Par. 42, letter from Tiki Barge patron Paul Quinn: "The Tiki Barge had a wild, drunken atmosphere, and by mid-afternoon it was out of control. To be honest, many of the patrons and their behavior reminded me of the characters on the reality show "Jersey Shore." Attached are two photos of a woman baring her breasts; it is unclear who, a bartender or a customer, is handing her beads. "This bead process appeared to be set up as a regular routine." In a later interview, Quinn said he wasn't sure if what he saw the Saturday he visited was routine. He doesn't live in the area, and has only been to the barge three times.
Clarification: Richard Swirnow is not the only owner of the Tiki Barge.