After dropping off my letters yesterday I spoke with two county commissioners. First, Bill Brown called me to let me know he read my letter and wanted me to clarify exactly what I was advocating for. I informed him that I wanted an explanation for why this happened and I wanted the ordinance changed so restaurants could cook outside 7 days a week if they wished. He then asked me a few questions and let me know that he didn't have all the facts from the health department at that time. He said a good way to advocate for changing the ordinance would be to turn in a petition at his office.
Later in the afternoon I spoke with Nelson Peters who presented to me a vastly different story than the one put forth by Frank Gray. Peters started by saying that several months ago he was brought in to mediate a meeting between 7 or 8 city and county departments regarding Bruce Marshall and his business. He said most of the issues were minor and they worked them out. He said the only outstanding issue was an unpaid sign permit and after Bruce informed Peters that he didn't have the money to pay it Peters offered to pay for it out of his own pocket.
Peters said that at no time was Bruce Marshall limited in the number of days he could cook. He said they sent a letter to the state board of health trying to help Bruce and they were awaiting a ruling back from the state on the issue. He said during this time there was absolutely no enforcement of the 10 day limit and that Bruce was free to cook everyday if he wished. He also said that he was cooking every day and that all of this was well documented by the health department.
Obviously this story contradicts the two columns by Frank Gray. I asked Peters, if the health department wasn't enforcing the ordinance and local government was bending over backwards to help him, then why would Bruce feel like they were harassing him? Peters responded by saying that he thought that Bruce understandably didn't follow the intricacies of local government and once he ran into a little bit of resistance he kind of just threw up and his hands and decided they were out to get him. Peters felt like the media has only portrayed one side of the story and that story was not completely accurate.
Obviously this needs a little more digging because these two stories don't add up and I think we all need to agree on what the facts are before we can move forward. Peters gave some information on two individuals that were involved in negotiations between the county and Bruce so I'm going to try and follow up with them. If any readers have info to share then feel free or if you'd rather do so anonymously then send me an e-mail at JPksu@hotmail.com
Pending new information I am also considering filing a request via the state's open records law to acquire any and all information regarding the health department's interaction with Bruce Marshall and Chuckwagon bbq...