Here’s that report from the city manager that was requested by Mayor Mike Sweeney following some incidents at Hayward nightclubs the last weekend in February. And to kill more topics in one post (been busy this week and haven’t had much of a chance to blog), we had a story on the noise ordinance moving forward and another on Caltrans’ preliminary finding regarding the Bunker Hill property it owns. Going back further, had some stuff on HUSD moving toward a qualified status, and here’s a related Katy Murphy overview of what schools are facing.
Back on the topic of nightclubs and downtown, I was talking to Councilman Mark Salinas the other day on unrelated matters, and he mentioned that restaurants down there have been booming on weekends. Said he tried to go to the Kokyo Sushi Buffet, found it packed, went to Buon Appetito, same story, and ended up waiting in a sizable line over at Chef’s Experience. Anyone else been out to eat on a prime night lately and seen an uptick?
Without further adieu, find the nightclub info after the jump… The Discussion section cuts to the chase about what’s going on.
March 11, 2011
TO: Mayor and Council
FROM: City Manager
RE: Review of Incidents Downtown
This memo is to review with you the various incidents that have occurred Downtown in the weekend evenings over the last few weeks. These include incidents on and around B Street and on and around Mission Boulevard.
Saturday, January 15-16, 2011; 2:45 am (Pizza House/Bijou Bar & Restaurant on B Street): HPD officers were called to the Pizza House in response to several 911 calls from the restaurant and from customers. Callers noted that a large fight involving four to five persons had broken out in the restaurant. Officers arrived and found the owner and his cook holding down two persons, who were still fighting just outside the front of the restaurant. The cook was bleeding heavily from his mouth – HFD and an ambulance were called for his injury.
Officers determined that two suspects related to each other began arguing inside the restaurant, which quickly turned into a physical fight: both were highly intoxicated. The restaurant owner and his cook tried to break the fight up and were able to push the two men outside where the fight continued. As they were trying to restrain the two men, a third suspect appeared and punched the cook several times in the face. The blows broke the cook’s jaw in two places. The third suspect (also highly intoxicated) was a friend and associate of the two who were fighting; when he saw the owner and cook struggling with his friends, he came to their aid and punched the cook when he thought the man was assaulting his friends.
The third suspect was still at the scene when HPD arrived and was arrested for Assault and Battery with Great Bodily Injury, which was later upgraded by the District Attorney to Assault with a Deadly weapon/or with Force likely to cause great bodily injury. The two related parties who started the fight were arrested for Drunk in Public. The owner of the Pizza House didn’t want to pursue an arrest for the two fighting in his restaurant…he just wanted them to leave.
All three suspects told officers they had just left the Bijou where they had been drinking all evening, at the bar’s close, they decided to go to the Pizza House for food. All three were local Hayward residents.
Saturday, January 23, 2011; About 1:30 am (B Street): This was a major incident only that it involved multiple HPD resources and an officer was in jeopardy. It involved multiple persons (estimated to be between 30-60 individuals), although started by two adult males getting into a fist fight. HPD officer attempted to break up the fight and ran into resistance, ending up chasing and detaining one suspect who was intoxicated and violent. Once detained by HPD, the suspect incited his friends to come to his aide to begin calling the attending officer names, causing him to call for backup, which arrived quickly. The suspect was arrested.
Officers then focused on dispersing the crowd, which took approximately twenty minutes with several persons attempting to assault officers or refusing to follow directions to clear the area. In one situation, officers became involved in a foot chase with a suspect that had assaulted one officer and then attempted to flee. This suspect was apprehended in Muni Lot #1after he fought with pursuing police. An officer received a laceration to his left elbow as a result of this arrest, which required suturing with a medical bonding solution (glue).
In all the police reports, officers questioned the persons that were arrested asking what they were doing prior to this incident and in each case all persons indicated they had just left Club ME as it had closed for the night. All those arrested were from out of town, but at least four involved to whom officers talked, claimed to be students of local educational institutions.
Saturday, February 26, 2011; 1:37 am (Muni Lot #2): This was an incident apparently precipitated by one of our “regulars” downtown, not a bar or club patron. He was bothering young ladies leaving Club ME and security personnel from that establishment were escorting female patrons to their cars in Muni Lot #2 because of complaints re this man’s persistent and unwanted advances and behavior. The gentleman acted out in the Muni Lot and was subdued by security personnel from Club ME, who had him contained before HPD arrived. As a result, two adult males were arrested for Drunk in Public – the one that was bothering the female patrons and another who came to his “rescue” when he was subdued by Club ME security personnel. Neither individual was deemed to be associated with or a patron of Club ME.
Saturday, February 26, 2011; 1:52 am (Muni Lot #1): This incident involved gun shots. One person clearly intoxicated and belligerent was beaten resulting in a broken nose and facial lacerations. He was transported to Eden Medical, treated and released. Five others were arrested for being Drunk in Public. Spent ammunition casings were found at the scene, and the responsible party shooting the gun or guns apparently fled the scene. HPD has a partial description of the vehicle. This incident occurred within twenty minutes of Club ME closing, but the owner contends they did not come from his establishment; HPD is not certain.
Sunday, February 27, 2011; 12:22 am (Bijou Bar & Restaurant on B Street): This involved a ten to twenty persons involved in a fight inside the Bijou. When HPD arrived they found security personnel had removed a male and female patron from inside the establishment and were standing with them out in front. The female was very intoxicated and had caused a disturbance with another female inside the bar. When security asked her to leave she became confrontational and refused. As they were escorting her outside, her boyfriend got involved and attempted to assault security staff. Both male and female were asked to leave the bar – the female refused and attempted to reenter the bar. Officers arrested the female for Drunk in Public. The male was allowed to leave…he later apologized to the bar bouncers.
Sunday, February 27, 2011; 1:30 am (Karaoke Box on Mission Blvd.): This was the most serious of the incidents. Officers at the scene determined that two males had been assaulted in the parking lot associated with the establishment. One of the victims had been “pistol whipped” with several large lacerations to his head; the second was shot once in the abdomen. Both were transported to Eden Hospital for treatment. HPD then stopped a vehicle seen fleeing from the scene. Inside the vehicle, officers found two handguns (in plain sight on the floor). Both handguns were the same caliber for two sets of shell casings recovered at the scene. A witness identified the vehicle as being the same that was seen fleeing the scene. Three suspects were arrested for being involved in the assault and shooting. The pistol-whipped victim later became uncooperative and refused to provide a statement regarding his assault. HPD determined this was most likely a gang-involved incident. It appears that one of the two victims involved in this case may have been armed and was disarmed in the assault. HPD investigators were able to determine that the parties involved in the fight and shooting were related to the Karaoke Box.
Staff has initiated various actions to the above. Economic Development, Development Services, HPD, and the City Manager have met in City Hall with Joe Thompkins of Club ME. Economic Development and HPD have had on-sight conversations with Phil Chan of the Bijou Bar & Restaurant, as well as with Geoff Harries of Buffalo Bills. HPD is in contact with the State Alcohol Beverage Control agency (ABC) regarding the two most serious incidents involving gun fire. The “shots fired” call to the rear of Club ME and the shooting at the Karaoke Box especially impacted police services affecting the entire city. Officers had to be redirected out of the South end of town to work these two calls, causing a major impact (delay/suspension) on service in other parts of the town.
There is a question from some Council members as to whether or not any of these incidents in or around Club ME violates or calls up their Conditions of Approval, particularly if they “count” toward the maximum number of incidents specified in the CUP. This is currently unclear to me if they do or not, as there is a difference in opinion and perspective between HPD and others as to whether or not the parties involved were patrons of Club ME. However, Mr. Thompkins has been put on verbal notice that the City is concerned about his mode of advertising and target customer; and Economic Development staff is working with him to perhaps try different approaches or advertising sources directed at a slightly older clientele.
Both Phil Chan and Joe Thompkins have related that they are working hard to minimize issues in their respective clubs, and acknowledge that their operations are impacted by persons who hang out in the parking lots, streets, and other public places. HPD has continued to do spot checks on the weekends to assure that security and other control features are up to our standards in these venues. And, when they are not, they have direct conversation with the owners/operators
In many ways, our Downtown is showing signs of the night life and the activity we have been seeking. Geoff Harries of Buffalo Bill’s is ecstatic with the traffic and there are rumors that Buffalo Bill’s has had wait times in excess of an hour on the weekends. Certainly the Sushi Buffet is doing exceedingly well, introducing our Downtown to all kinds of new patrons. One of the impacts of a successful restaurant or entertainment spot is the spill over to other establishments in the area, which is happening among Club ME, Bijou, and Buffalo Bills. The problem is really not that folks are coming to Downtown to dine and seek entertainment, but rather that we are in a “trough” between a few establishments to be attractive to patrons and not enough establishments to productively and positively handle the demand being created.
Currently, it is estimated that on Friday or Saturday nights, Club ME may bring in up to four hundred or more patrons, and can only accommodate two hundred fifty at capacity. The remaining patrons look to go elsewhere to await entrance to the Club or seek food and entertainment. For example, the Stein Room has seen a tripling of their weekend business, mostly folks waiting to gain entrance to Club ME. If they are not in another venue…they are generally not leaving the area and are hanging out in the downtown.
As we move forward, there are several items that require vigilance from all parties:
- Economic Development continuing to work with owners to attract the most economically positive clientele as they build their businesses, while still adding to the positive mix Downtown.
- HPD staying vigilant on spot inspections and assuring tight security measures in each venue.
- HPD continuing to explore and gain experience in managing an active Downtown nightlife.
- All of us working to assure that there is not inappropriate “hanging out” Downtown during or immediately following weekend “entertainment” hours.
- HPD and venue operators must prevent drinking and control acting out in the respective parking lots at all times.
- Constant communication with our Downtown residential community to let them know we are on top of issues and working hard at prevention and mitigation, as well as response when required.
- Alcohol venues measuring their drinks appropriately and taking very firm stances about not serving those having crossed the line of intoxication.
- Owners/Operators taking full responsibility for their establishments and assuring quality operations in full adherence to the guidelines, conditions, regulations, and laws applicable to their businesses.
- The City taking immediate and appropriate action when terms, conditions, and laws are not upheld by owner/operators or when patrons abuse the privilege of dining and drinking in the Downtown.
As the Downtown continues to grow and attract more dining/entertainment venues and their respective customers, other incidents will occur – these events are inevitable when people of all backgrounds and perspectives mix in the same geographic location at the same time, complicated by alcohol intake. However, as demonstrated throughout the Bay Area, California, and the United States, it is possible to manage the situation and provide patrons with a pleasant experience, business owners with solid income, and residents with great choices for dining and entertainment. We are all learning and improving in the above areas as our Downtown comes alive.
 This establishment is not in the immediate Downtown area, and has been a source of concern for HPD in the past.