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snoogit

Is it just me?

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I don't know where the rest of the forum stands on this issue, but something to me about this kind of move stinks. I'm more of a "as long as it doesnt hurt me" kind of person. From what I can tell, this never affected me:

Gay bar gets county for landlord

Friday, March 25, 2005

By Kyla King

The Grand Rapids Press

GRAND RAPIDS -- Kent County Commissioner Harold Voorhees questioned Thursday whether Kent County should be the landlord to a downtown Grand Rapids nightclub that welcomes gays and lesbians.

But breaking the 10-year lease with Diversions Video Bar &Grill could cost up to a half-million dollars, based on the annual rent. Voorhees, R-Wyoming, a fiscal conservative and outspoken critic of homosexuality, said he favors looking into breaking the lease, despite the cost.

"It's not a family-oriented type of business," Voorhees said. "I question the county being a landlord of a business with these type of activities."   

The issue surfaced Thursday, at the first full board meeting since the county took ownership of the building, as part of a discussion about maintenance.

No other commissioners weighed in.

Diversions has been operating in the 73-year-old building for 11 years. County Administrator Daryl Delabbio said the county, which has rented a portion of the 82 Ionia Ave. NW building since 1998, had an option to buy it and did not have a choice in the matter.

"We were hoping that things would just work out to everyone's benefit," he said. "Which meant that either they would find a different location, or they would just remain a tenant until the lease expired."

But Delabbio said he is not willing to spend a large amount of taxpayer money to break the lease. And he said he does not have a problem with the fact that it is a gay bar. His concern is being the landlord of an after-business-hours drinking establishment. Diversions is open from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m.

"From my perspective, it's the liability issue," Delabbio said.

Robb Wiersum, who owns the club, said he has been a good tenant and community member, raising more than $500,000 for charity since opening. He said he has told county officials he is willing to address any security concerns and look at offering food at lunch for employees in the building.

"We're not the rough-'em-up kind of bar that have police at them every weekend," Wiersum said. "They haven't had any problems with us."

Wiersum said he does not intend to leave, at this point.

"I've got a great location and I've got a great lease," he said. "But everything has a price. That's just how business is. If they came with a reasonable offer, I'd have to consider it."

As part of a longtime plan, Kent County took ownership earlier this month of the former Furniture Building at 82 Ionia Ave. NW from Sibsco LLC, a real-estate development company controlled by Grand Rapids businessman Peter Secchia

County officials were leasing space in the building for the prosecutor's office, Friend of the Court, and Circuit Court probation.

Under the $5.4 million deal, the county inherited five tenants: Diversions, the National Labor Relations Board, Grand Rapids 61st District Court drug testing, and two telecommunications companies.

I'm not a gay person, but I'm still ticked to see county politicians trying to squeeze their way into other people's buisness. I guess what really got to me was this:

But breaking the 10-year lease with Diversions Video Bar &Grill could cost up to a half-million dollars, based on the annual rent. Voorhees, R-Wyoming, a fiscal conservative and outspoken critic of homosexuality, said he favors looking into breaking the lease, despite the cost.

If there was one person I'd love to see leave the county, leave the entire state is Voorhees. He is really starting to put a BAD image on Grand Rapids. Hes not even in Grand Rapids, hes in Wyoming He shouldn't even have a voice in the matter. As much as I love Grand Rapids, its politicians like this that make me step back and wonder what direction is this place really going?

Some of you might disagree with me. Thats ok, and if this isn;t the right forum for this, feel free to remove it, but I saw this article, and I had to comment on it.

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Not nearly as offensive as what Voorhees is trying to do, but also worth noting is the irony that the National Labor Relations Board has been paying rent all this time to the adamantly anti-union Peter Secchia!

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Voorhees is a putz. He probably didn't even know what Diversions was until somebody told him. The county needs to realize diversity in many different ways and to even waste the taxpayers time and money to study whether they should give the boot to a paying tenant should get him thrown out of office.

Joe

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I wasn't keeping track of this whole thing. That the county should get itself involved in a costly revenue divestment while grand rapids is in the middle of a budget crisis is unbelievable. When school bus service is going bankrupt because there's no budget money available for it, here comes a suburbanite trying to cash out on a property bringing revenue to the city and downtown. all washed in the language of morality of course - if only they considered the implications of their actions.

this waste makes me sick.

Voorhees is a putz. He probably didn't even know what Diversions was until somebody told him. The county needs to realize diversity in many different ways and to even waste the taxpayers time and money to study whether they should give the boot to a paying tenant should get him thrown out of office.

Joe

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

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only time i was in there was when a good friend of mine was dj'ing there....seen alot of older mid 40's men....dancing with their shirts off, pen club overflow i'm sure....the biggest haters are the biggest homosexuals....imo. damn pen club, is full of gay i bet, taking peeks into the locker rooms at lunch....i never felt right there.... thats whay i dont go anymore...i know my privates are on some cd-rom somewhere in a vault...

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I wrote voorhees and passed the address on to my GVSU friend.

I said it my letter: "It saddens me that as the city school district is cutting jobs, you are trying to come up with the money to buy out a legitimate bar business downtown. I'm no expert but I know this isn't right. Signed DF."

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yeah, being a resident of wyoming wasnt something i was proud of when i read this assinide bunch of junk from vorhees. It is really saddening of the stand he took, and hopefully he gets the message that what he said was totally out of line.

thanks for the email address, i will email him shortly as well

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