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Grant Super Arcade its minor use permit

This petition had 4,380 supporters

An open letter from Gootecks with options for more direct action:

To the City of Azusa, it’s Planning Committee, and all of its citizens, and members of the FGC:

On Wednesday, June 24th, 2015 the Asuza Planning Committee voted 3-1 against granting Mike Watson and Super Arcade a minor use permit to open his arcade on a particular plot the city wishes to be leased for retail purposes. The main concerns were its noncompliance with city planning and concerns over quality of life for the surrounding neighborhood. The decision stings for us in the fighting game community. This is a community that transcends racial, geographic, and economic borders. Of course, the council’s responsibility is to the City of Azusa. And respectfully, the council didn’t live up to that responsibility due to a lack of pertinent information and firsthand experience.

My name is Shanley and I am not a citizen of Azusa nor do I speak for Mike Watson. He’s a very honest, principled man. I’ve had a few interactions with him and I’ve seen firsthand the kind of business Super Arcade is. On the surface, it’s a place where people pay to play video games. At the core of it, it’s an important institution for a burgeoning community. Every day, more and more people join the ranks of the fighting game community. Every year the major tournaments obliterate attendance and viewership records from the year before. The prize money is getting closer to a point where the top players can actually make an entire living out of being the best. In fact, entire countries like Taiwan and Singapore have lauded their fighting game players for being among the best in the world. Before its closing, Super Arcade played host to players traveling from all over the world to a tiny city called called Walnut. And with arcades dying out, Super Arcade was a mecca of types for many. I personally met people who took long road trips just to play on the classic arcade machines. But what does that mean for Azusa?

From what it sounds like, Azusa has run up against a certain limit for variances and minor use establishments under its current plan. I can only assume that the plan is there to improve the city by generating tax revenue and generally bettering the lives of its citizens. Super Arcade can help do those things.

At face value, an arcade doesn’t seem like the most solid choice. But what exactly are you holding out for? If ! had a retail business I wouldn’t want to open in a place where there are vagrants and public urination and little to no foot traffic. All of those things will definitely improve immediately upon Super Arcade opening its doors. There is precedent in other cities across the world that light and foot traffic cuts down on vagrancy all the time. What’s more, Super Arcade already has a built-in patronage made up of reputable individuals from all walks of life. White, Black, Asian, Hispanic, lawyers, accountants, doctors, writers, actors, programmers—all with a strong sense of community that needs Mike Watson’s arcade to get back up and running. The strength of that community will only add to the strength of Azusa’s community. It makes the plaza instantly more appealing to potential retailers. A pharmacy would do well for any needs gamers may have, a game store would do well, a Chipotle or In-N-Out would make a killing on a weekly basis.

The fighting game community is no different from the community of Azusa. It’s just normal people who share a common bond. And letting it open AS SOON AS POSSIBLE has real potential upside for the city. I started this petition to do what I could to make this happen. Watson shouldn't fight this fight alone.

To everyone who has something to say, please keep it civil. Let's not give the a reason to affirm their prejudices about our community.

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