The Beer Board Story

You may have heard of convenience stores in some of the more troubled parts of town selling little roses in a vial and chore boys because together they can make a crack pipe. Some businesses on Dickerson Road went a step further. They sold little baggies with a rose vial, PART of a chore boy (yes, they actually cut it up) and a lighter. Just call it a crack pipe craft kit.

Community members were fed up with these practices. Their complaints to the business owners fell on deaf ears. The issue was brought up at more than one neighborhood association meeting (note: Pam Murray was not at these meetings). The police collaborated with residents to address the situation. Undercover police busted the stores selling crack pipes in February of 2007. A local neighborhood association contacted the Beer Board and filed complaints. Under TN state law, a business selling drug paraphernalia can lose its beer license.

There was considerable delay and frustration simply getting to the hearings for these cases. Attorneys representing the businesses kept filing motions for continuance at the last minute. On two occasions, this left a hearing room full of residents and police officers prepared to testify who had to go home and wait for another month.

Eventually, each side said its piece and the beer board deliberated. After considerable discussion, the decision was made to sanction some of the businesses involved in selling crack pipes. The BP located at 701 Dickerson Pike had its license suspended. The owner (at the time—it has changed hands within the same family) requested reconsideration and enlisted Council Member Pam Murray to argue on his behalf at the Beer Board. Interestingly, the owner also told neighbors that he had contributed to Ms. Murray’s re-election campaign (her financial records do not reflect said contribution).

And so it was that residents of the 5th District sat in yet another beer board meeting and watched their own Council Member tell the beer board that their decision was too harsh. When her constituents disagreed, she turned on them and chastised them for hurting business in the district.

If you are a member of the press, we encourage you to investigate this story. Talk to the Beer Board. Talk to the East Precinct Police. Please.

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2 Responses to “The Beer Board Story”

  1. District 5 Neighbor Says:

    Council Member Murray also tried to get neighbors to not follow through with their complaints to the Beer Board on the night the matters were finally heard. She told us that the Beer Board would not hear our complaints since there had not been a community meeting with the store owners. It felt like she was pressuring us to leave the hearing so we would not be there to testify against the store owners. Thankfully, we were smart enough to have actually read the Beer Board laws and regulations and knew that this was an untrue statement.

    Some of these markets that she defended were selling “crack pipes” by their own admission. The officer that conducted the undercover buys testified that one market’s cash register actually rang up “crack pipe”.

    It was very disappointing that Council Member Murray took the side of the store owners that were/are hurting our neighborhood. Thankfully, Metro Police and Commander Nash took the neigbhorhood complaints seriously enough to investigate them.

  2. Pam Murray Supporters and Public Safety « Districtfive Blog Says:

    […] Murray Supporters and Public Safety By district5five As you may remember, a prior post, The Beer Board Story, referenced the BP located at 701 Dickerson. In that post, the owner enlisted Ms. Murray to assist […]

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