First, let me thank all of you for your heartfelt good wishes for us. It’s been wonderfully overwhelming, and we’re grateful to all of you for your support.
The media called me yesterday to comment on the statement released by Chicago Dept of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (BACP–btw, you need a shorter name) about LSK’s closure. Here’s what the City said:
"We are sorry to hear that an innovative, neighborhood business such as Logan Square Kitchen is closing. From Day 1, BACP worked with Logan Square kitchen to properly license their facility – just as other businesses with the same activities require – and even helped them with their state liquor license. BACP has not had any issues with LSK or issued any citations since assisting them through the permitting process. The City wants to help businesses while also ensuring that they are safe, sanitary, and operating legally. This is why we now have an emerging business permit to help new business models get up and running while we determine how to license and regulate."
As many times as I’ve heard these statements of deep denial, I’m blown away every time. I imagine that BACP Commissioner Rosemary Krimbel approved this statement for release. And you can see her standing behind the Mayor in the video of the press conference at our place (she’s the blond in the black jacket.) So how does she reconcile this statement with the statements the Mayor made, as she nods away? About 9 minutes in to the video, the Mayor describes how the proliferation of licenses and burdensome process has "small businesses focused on City Hall and not on their customer. And that is wrong." As I said yesterday, we are BACP’s collateral damage. Yet here we are, staring at BACP’s statement that my experience is required and BACP conduct was normal.
The Mayor said he believes that "small businesses are the lifeblood of economic activity and job creation" in Chicago. Unfortunately, too many of us leave too much blood on the 8th floor of City Hall.
Here’s the real problem that the BACP statement illustrates. The same people and culture are still in place. Many BACP bureaucrats said NO to LSK to relieve themselves of the responsibility of YES. And plenty more watched silently while we twisted in the wind. We are all responsible for our conduct. And our conduct defines our character. We must hold our public servants accountable for their actions– otherwise we give tacit approval to their behavior, and on it goes.
In the green world, we would describe BACP’s behavior as unsustainable– it is destroying the resources upon which it depends. It’s a pretty short walk from vital business activity to the salaries, benefits and pensions of our public servants. BACP, your choices have consequences, and the LSK closure is the tip of the iceberg. I hope you can begin to connect the dots, cause we don’t get out of this mess unless we work together.