My name is Jesse Pablo and I am a 3 year Columbia City resident. I am posting this to let my community aware of my intentions on the 2 businesses I have proposed to open in the old TAF location located on the corner of Rainier and Edmunds. I am having a dispute with Pioneer Human Services who have rejected my business based on the name. I am looking for the support and feedback of the community, and be visible on this struggle.
There was an email that was sent to Pioneer Human Services that many of you were bcc'd. I want to express my deepest sincere apologies to those who perceived it as spam. I sent it out with good intentions on letting my community visible on this issue. I am passionate about these 2 businesses, and my community. There will be no more communications sent out in that form (email) going forward. This my first time posting here, and I was unaware of this forum. Thank you for your tolerance of my lack of internet graces. ;-)
Here is the communication that was sent out to Pioneer Human Services:
Greetings Pioneer Human Service Board Members!
My name is Jesse Pablo, and I am a resident of the Columbia City neighborhood in Seattle. First and foremost, I want to express my utmost respect and gratitude towards your positive involvement throughout the city of Seattle, and Western Washington. I am reaching out to you in regards to the retail space for lease located at 4850 Rainier Avenue South/ 3803 South Edmunds St in Seattle, WA, owned by Pioneer Human Services.
I am interested in leasing the space to open and establish a small ethnic eatery that represents my culture of Guam called Leilani’s Lumpia Land, and a non-profit café that supports the local Columbia City community and other charitable causes.
Primarily, I want to focus the discussion around the non-profit café concept in mind. This café plans on serving coffee based beverages using strictly hemp milk, and a food offering that is strictly vegan and hemp based. Lastly, the café plans on retailing branded merchandise, and other hemp products for sale.
Hemp has been negatively associated with the illegal schedule 1 drug, marijuana. In contrast, hemp is in the same family as marijuana, but contains only a trace amount of THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol). THC is the psycho-active substance in marijuana that makes it illegal. Hemp is now sold throughout many specialty health food stores today. Food manufacturers ensure that the trace THC found in hemp is removed from their food products. Hemp has tremendous health benefits that offer:
• The most edible and usable protein in the plant kingdom
• All 21 known amino acids, including all 8 essential amino acids
• An optimal ratio of essential fatty acids 3:1 (omega 6 and omega 3)
The name proposed for the business will be dubbed “Cannabis City Café”. Upon my informal presentation, the name was not well received by staff members of your organization. The first staff member I had met was John Chandler, who gave me an inside tour of the retail space. Mr. Chandler indicated to me that my business would most likely be rejected because of the name, and that Pioneer Human Services’ mission statement indicates that they are a “clean and sober” establishment. I had argued that Cannabis City Café is in fact a “clean and sober” business. There will be no sales of, any type of illicit drugs, alcohol, and tobacco products. We are a healthy alternative café. Mr. Chandler had told me that he would follow up with his supervisor, and would let me know the next day.
Upon the next day, I did not receive a call from Mr. Chandler, and called him back to ask of the status. He told me that his supervisor “rejected the business and it is not going to happen.” I had passionately argued back that I wanted to speak to his supervisor, and articulate the business to her myself. Unwilling to give a name, he told me that he would relay the message, and that she would get back to me. Perceiving this as an obvious brush off, I took it upon me to find out who is his supervisor.
The receptionist connected me to Marla Gese, Vice President of Real Estate. I had asked Ms. Gese if she was aware of the business that I had pitched to Mr. Chandler. She asked me to clarify the business. When I had reached to the punch line about the name of the business, I was stopped dead in my tracks. Ms. Gese, stated that it will not work because of the “perception” of the name. She also stated that the business is “contradictory” to the mission statement of the organization. I argued the same points that I expressed to Mr. Chandler. She indicated that she had discussed the business with the CEO, and that “there is no possibility; they are looking at other opportunities presented to them.” She told me that she needed to go to a meeting and hung up from there.
Based on these conversations, I believe that my business opportunity is unfairly discriminated against, and feel that I deserve a fair shake in presenting the business to the board of your organization. I am also asking my community business leaders and neighbors for their buy in of the business as well. As stated before, Cannabis City Café is a “clean and sober” non-profit business, and is compatible with the mission statement of Pioneer Human Services. The business will follow strict Washington state guidelines that are applicable to restaurants.
In reference to Ms. Gese’s statement of “perception” relative to cannabis, this is one of the main contributing factors that have manifested this debacle on the war on drugs. Many of your clients (i.e. my neighbors/community) are the direct victims of the war on drugs, and are struggling to transition away from the pathological penal and judicial system that oppresses them. Denying the possibility of this business is contradictory to the core values of your organization: Respect, Accountability, Positive Change, Innovation, Relationship, and Balance. Your clients are not second class citizens. They are human, and deserve the same rights as the rest of community! This is an excellent opportunity for your business to stand by the very name of your organization. Pioneer: Being a pioneer organization that thinks outside of the box, strives to understand cannabis through proper education, and embraces cannabis as a viable commodity that can create opportunities for your clients in multiple industries. Human: Human or humane as an organization that has empathy for those who are ailing and are truly in need of its medicinal and health benefits of cannabis, and those who are victims of the war on drugs.
Cannabis City Café and Leilani's Lumpia Land will be on the agenda for the monthly Columbia City Business Association meeting that will be held at Tutta Bella, 4918 Rainier Avenue South, in Columbia City, on Tuesday, 9:00am August 4th, 2009. The Association and I would appreciate senior level management/board representation from your firm to have an open and intelligent forum to discuss the possibility of ushering Cannabis City Café and Leilani’s Lumpia Land as tenants into the 4850 Rainier Avenue South and 3803 South Edmunds St location. We look forward to meeting and seeing the representation of your organization at this meeting. Thank you for your time and consideration!
Cannabis City Café, Owner and Founder
Leilani’s Lumpia Land, Owner and Founder
"Make the most of the Indian hemp seed, and sow it everywhere!" -George Washington, The Writings of George Washington Volume 33, page 270 (Library of Congress), 1794
I would appreciate the support and feedback from the community. I am considering on organizing a meeting in the area to engage the community on this business.
Thank you very much!