Racism Alleged in Mexican Restaurant Fight

August 27, 2011

The mayor of a small Washington town has denied a routine application for a new Mexican restaurant to open and critics believe racism may be involved. 

Bud Norris of Mount Vernon wrote a letter to the State Liquor Board objecting to a proposed taco and tequila business. Calle Tacos Tequila hoped to open in September, but now cannot due to the mayor's objection. Last year, Norris denied a similar application for a Mexican restaurant as well.

Norris objects to the proposed location of the restaurant and says too many 911 calls have come from the area. However, analysis of 911 calls shows that 16 calls have originated from the proposed location of the restaurant, compared to 471 from the sports bar across the street in the same time. He also claims that granting this license would cause downtown Mount Vernon to be "over served" by restaurants. Perhaps coincidentally, the bar across the street happened to be one of the biggest donors to his election campaign. 

The mayor has fought to have English recognized as the official language of Mount Vernon, having the Spanish sign in the library taken down and removing Spanish options from government phone calls. Norris denies the calls of racism, "I have many Mexican friends."

The State Liquor Board can still overrule the decision. What do you think? 



Image Sources: