Shirley Warren, 44, has lived with her husband just around the corner from the J and Y Liquor Store for nearly 14 years. The Pacific Bell facilities administrator is a member of the Community Coalition for Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment, a federally funded drug and alcohol project. She was interviewed by Karen E. Klein.
I am opposed to the J and Y Liquor Store being reopened.
It has nothing to do with race, and I have nothing against the owner personally. I don't care who wants to put a liquor store around the corner from me, I don't want one there. If my sister wanted to put one there, I'd petition against her.
There are so many other liquor stores in this neighborhood, it's a shame. In a half-mile radius of my home I can count four or five stores right off the top of my head that are still open. In some cases, there are liquor stores on every corner or right across the street from each other. There are just too many in our neighborhood.
There are numerous things that would benefit the community that could be opened there. Maybe even a self-storage warehouse where you could store furniture.
I did not frequent the store when it was open, but there were people hanging out in the parking lot all day and all night, loitering, drinking, cussing and using the telephone there for their drug business.
Any time you have people around a parking lot, that in itself is unsafe. One time, a lady went into the liquor store to purchase an item and when she came out, her car had been stolen.
People who catch the bus had to walk right past that parking lot every day and put up with verbal abuse from the punks who hung around there. They made comments to the women and children. There are churches nearby, and the pastors and churchgoers had to hear all that. It's not good for the children to hear the language that went on there.
This still is a residential area, even though Arlington may be considered a main street. We can't all pick up and move just because the liquor store is there, but it really made life difficult.
My house is off an alley that went behind the liquor store, and all the vagrants that hung out at the liquor store would come down the alley and past our back yard.
We had fires in the alley and vagrants who drank outside the liquor store and then went into the alley to relieve themselves. The liquor store caused all kinds of problems. Now that it is gone, some of the problems have died down.
Last year, when they started to talk about the liquor store coming back, it began to really stress me out, every time I thought about it coming back and all the problems it was going to bring.
I've gotten more involved since then. I voiced my opinion starting last year and went down to City Hall to a couple of hearings.
My neighbors and lots of other people in the neighborhood feel the same way I do. It has felt very much safer since that store has been gone. You don't even hear the shooting and stuff as we used to.
Maybe if the owner had tried to use a security guard there, maybe that would have helped some. There is a neighborhood grocery store about half a block away, and they have a guard and a parking lot that is for customers only. They don't have very many problems.
If a person needs to buy alcohol, there are a lot of other places they can go. I don't see any reason that liquor store should reopen.