Council Passes Urgency Ordinance 4-1 to Put Moratorium on New Bars and Clubs

Community Development Director Mike Webb presents the ordinance with Assistant Police Chief Darren Pytel (far right), Harriet Steiner and Dirk Brazil
Community Development Director Mike Webb presents the ordinance with Assistant Police Chief Darren Pytel (far right), City Attorney Harriet Steiner and City Manager Dirk Brazil (far left)

Council voted 4-1 to approve the staff report that establishes a moratorium on the establishment, creation or expansion of any and all bars, nightclubs, restaurants serving distilled spirits and restaurants exceeding 2500 square feet. The moratorium will extend through November 13, but council is offering the one current applicant, Blondie’s Pizza which is proposing to move into the spot formerly occupied by Little Prague, to seek a hardship exception at the next meeting on October 13.

Councilmember Brett Lee noted the change in the atmosphere at the bars. “As a longtime person living in Davis, the bar scene has changed and it has changed very noticeably over the past five years,” he said. He said that, rather than addressing the issue “haphazardly” we need a “comprehensive approach which is not reactionary but actually lays out a plan of what we would like it to be and what we would like it to be in the future so the downtown is vibrant and it’s also an attractive and enjoyable place for people.”

Community Development Director Mike Webb explained that the intent of the moratorium “is to provide an opportunity for the community, for the council, for staff to engage in further dialogue around the issue at hand which is alcohol service establishment and the calls for the service and the incidents that can occur at these facilities if not properly managed and regulated.”

Assistant Chief Darren Pytel explained that, so far, the bar owners have been reluctant to be “that first place that does anything different from the rest – so somehow their business suffers from ways that the others aren’t.” They are looking for uniform ways to deal with the security issues.

He explained, “What’s happening downtown is we have restaurants and they morph into nightclubs at nighttime – so the business model significantly changes. Other cities have regulated how businesses morph – everything from whether music is permitted or whether people have to have seats, types of bottles or cups that are allowed, to hours of service.”

Assistant Chief Darren Pytel addresses council
Assistant Chief Darren Pytel addresses council

City Attorney Harriet Steiner explained some options for the city council, for cases where an establishment is otherwise running a legal business, saying that “if a business is operating as a nuisance so it could be operating not in compliance with existing law both state and local law, it could be what we call a disorderly house, in other words it’s not maintaining decorum with people that come to that business and there’s a history of that, those types of issues are not so much that the use is illegal but the way its operating is not proper those usually get abated through a nuisance process.”

At this time, this moratorium would impact one current applicant – Blondie’s Pizza, which is seeking to come into the space that used to house Little Prague. It would operate as a family-style restaurant until 9:30, at which point it would become a bar.

Bill Kopper, a local attorney and former Mayor of Davis, represented the applicant. He explained to council that they have already leased the site and want to construct a restaurant and sports bar. “Blondie’s is getting a permit to construct improvements and they would have had it weeks ago if not for delays in permit review at the fire department. This is a ministerial act, they have all of the zoning necessary to construct the restaurant.”

He said that Little Prague was a restaurant/bar, and this will be a restaurant/sports bar, so he called it “the exact same business.”

Former Mayor Bill Kopper represented Blondie's
Former Mayor Bill Kopper representing Blondie’s

He expressed condolences for the death of Peter Gonzales, but added that “it should not have any bearing on holding up Blondie’s building permit.”

He noted, “Blondie’s is the only business affected from getting a building permit.” Mr. Kopper continued that his client would enter into a contract with the city to implement any new regulations on the day the business opens. “You don’t have to worry about the amortization issue as to his business,” he said. This “defeats the claim for this particular interim zoning ordinance.”

This issue, he pointed out, came up relatively recently when then City Councilmember Don Saylor attempted to propose an interim ordinance to keep the hookah store at Fifth and G from opening in the city. He stated, “The city council wisely rejected it because it was an illegal spot zone and in fact this is essentially a taking of my client’s property.”

The spot has been vacant for over a year, Mr. Kopper pointed out, and owners have had difficulty leasing it. “The Little Prague space has become a blight frankly,” he said. “It’s only days now before there are going to be boards in the windows – it’s in terrible terrible shape.”

He said they have the zoning and they will agree to any new regulations that are passed.

Jason Ojeda, their marking director, explained to council that this will be a full restaurant that is family style and will be open late on the weekends. He explained that, at their Vacaville place, “there are kids there all the time. Sometimes it feels like Chuck E. Cheese. It’s really good New York Style Pizza and it draws a large family crowd.”

They have all-you-can-eat specials where kids eat free. “Any time before ten o’clock of course, you see kids,” he stated.

However, Mayor Dan Wolk took issue with that assertion. “I get that, but what happens after ten o’clock?” he said.

Mr. Ojeda responded, “Yeah, we do deejays…”

“How late do you stay open?” the mayor asked.

“We stay open till 1:30 in the morning.”

“That doesn’t sound very family friendly,” the mayor retorted.

Mr. Ojeda responded that it was family friendly until ten.

Councilmember Lee didn’t want to single anyone out, but said there are a number of restaurants downtown that “past a certain point they become nightclubs.” He argued this was a much bigger issue that needed to be addressed comprehensively.

He said he was impressed that the applicant would be willing to adhere to the regulations right away, and he asked the city attorney if there was a way they could “allow people to move forward during this period if they could agree to sign onto” any new regulations.

Harriet Steiner noted that the applicant could apply for a hardship situation which would allow people with pending permits to petition the city to recognize that the moratorium constitutes a hardship and the council, after a ten-day notice and hearing, could grant an exception to the moratorium. She believes the council could condition that exception to go forward in a binding manner.

The staff recommendation was moved by Mayor Dan Wolk and seconded by Lucas Frerichs. They agreed to a friendly amendment that would allow the pending applicants to have a hardship hearing on October 13 for an up or down vote by the council.

Robb Davis expressed frustration at the limitations of the discussion under time constraints, as well as discomfort with the moratorium itself.

“I’ve been really uncomfortable with the moratorium partly because whatever we do it does feel like we’re singling out certain applicants,” he said. He argued that this would be a largely symbolic act. “I’m not going to support the motion because I think that we are moving forward and that there are other ways that we can achieve this without creating difficulty for one single applicant who we would hope and would expect would fully participate in what we as a city decide to do going forward in this area.”

Later he would add that he is opposed since we are already going in the right direction, “I’m not in serious opposition to the direction.” He added that “there’s a fairness [issue] to this that bothers me a bit.”

Mayor Wolk explained that, before the city entitles another use, “we strategize at some of these issues that we’ve been having, we need to have that conversation.”

Rochelle Swanson stated, “This moratorium… is about a pause.” She added that it is not the intent of council to make actions that will harm the downtown, rather this is about “recognizing this tragedy that we had in our community and being responsible.”

Brett Lee added that “the good actors will come forth on October 13 and will agree, in principle, to support whatever changes we make. Bad actors, on the other hand, will get their permit and it could be up to a year before the changes actually are required.”

Council approved the action 4-1, with Robb Davis dissenting.

—David M. Greenwald reporting

About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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127 Comments

  1. Davis Progressive

    the exchange by mayor wolk was hilarious.  it’s a sham to call it a family friendly establishment.  that said, i agree with robb davis and see this as a ploy by the mayor to foster his family friendly image.  why do we need this ordinance when there is only one applicant and they are willing do whatever the council needs them to do?

    1. Anon

      It makes perfect sense to pause, and have the necessary discussions, before approving anymore restaurants turned nightclubs.  You must have heard City Atty Harriet Steiner explain that it is much harder to get existing businesses to comply with new city regulations than new businesses.  The fact that this new business said they would comply was murky at best from a legal perspective, as noted by Councilmember Lee.

      One thing the Vanguard did not mention (forgive me if I missed it in quickly scanning this article) was the mention of the type of licenses – 46, 47 or 48 (I think those are the correct numbers).  The restaurants like KetMoRee that are operating under a restaurant/bar license (47) can permit underage individuals in the nightclubs.  To me, this sounds like a slick maneuver that needs to be addressed.  I got the impression some on the City Council thought so too.  When KetMoRee is turned into a nightclub, it is primarily acting as a business that would have to have a specific type of liquor license (48) that would prohibit minors from entering.  Clearly that is only one of many issues in play, but an interesting one.

      1. Frankly

        All restaurants have ABC license type 47 otherwise they would not be able to serve food to people under age 21.  I don’t know if the business is required to have two licenses… for example a type 48 for when they turn into a night club.

        The Graduate used to have an 18-and-over night.  Patrons would get an arm band of a different color for over and under 21, and only those 21 and older could buy and drink alcohol from the bar.  I’m not sure if the Graduate still does this.  But police that I talked to lamented the attraction of the out of town element preying on young naive Davis girls that would have something to drink before coming to the venue… often too much.

        1. Anon

          Yes, this is an interesting issue – it was just not clear to me exactly how the law works in such situations, and to what extent the city has any control over regulating this – or even ABC for that matter.

  2. Frankly

    Bravo Robb Davis for demonstrated consideration for the business impacts.

    Note, businesses in our community are part of our community and deserving of support and consideration.  I will not support any candidate exploiting tragedies and grandstanding at the expense of our community businesses.

    Second, there needs to be consideration for the college students who are also members of our community.  College students have always been attracted to places where they can buy a drink, socialize and dance.  “Night club” is not a phrase that should be demonized by us grumpy old folk that cannot seem to remember what it was like being 20-something.  If Davis does not provide it, then the students will drive to places far less safe and also risk driving under the influence of alcohol.  This then undermines our very interest to help keep our community members safe from harm. Would be be more comfortable seeing one of our own murdered at a Sacramento nightclub just to prevent another statistic in our city?  I certainly hope not.

    Lastly, it isn’t fair to punish certain restaurants and it isn’t fair to punish the students because someone from outside the community came into the community and committed murder.  If someone was killed at a local bank branch ATM by an outsider, I don’t think we would not put a moratorium on banks.

    Assuming KetMoRee followed all the rules, the business is another victim of this crime.  Let’s not heap on more damage on the businesses and damage to our community of college students by over-reacting and turning this tragedy into a political circus.

    1. Anon

      Frankly: “Bravo Robb Davis for demonstrated consideration for the business impacts.”

      I applaud the other four City Council members for standing their ground and voting for the 45 day moratorium.

      Frankly: “Second, there needs to be consideration for the college students who are also members of our community.”

      Yes, the city needs to be concerned about the safety of all those college students in these restaurants turned nightclubs that may have lax oversight or may contribute to the problem of an increase in violence in Davis.

      Frankly: “Lastly, it isn’t fair to punish certain restaurants and it isn’t fair to punish the students because someone from outside the community came into the community and committed murder.

      How many deaths will it take, in your opinion, before you are willing to concede this city has a problem that needs to be addressed with some sort of additional regulations/zoning changes/liquor license review?

      Frankly: “Assuming KetMoRee followed all the rules…

      That is a huge assumption, founded on what?  At least I showed you anecdotal evidence that KetMoRee may not be following the rules.  Apparently ABC and the Davis PD even believe there needs to be a review.  You seem to be about the only one that wants to give KetMoRee a free pass without any investigation… or am I reading your comments incorrectly?

      1. Frankly

        You are all over the place ignoring everything written except what is convenient to your position.  For example,  you failed to acknowledge that closing down bars or restricting their hours will result in students driving to other communities far less safe than Davis.

        Of course I want there to be an investigation.  And if KetMoRee is guilty of breaking rules, then they should be held responsible.

        I’m just not supportive of your lynch mob approach here.

        I too am a conservative and constantly find myself longing for a more moral society where young people drink soda and tea and steer clear of risky behavior and violence… but I am also a realist.

        1. TrueBlueDevil

          So have we tripled, or quadrupled the number of nightclubs downtown the past 2 decades? As I recall, there was one we could drink and dance at, and it was generally well managed and frequented chiefly by locals.

          My guess is that a large chunk of the club goers are out of towners. UCD hasn’t tripled in size. In fact, I wonder if there is a growing segment of the campus student body that doesn’t drink. I went into the noodle shop on Russell which was formerly Giant Hamburger late one weekend, and it was packed with Asian American students who appeared stone sober.

          Along with bathroom requirements (see my below post), maybe we should also look at an officer ratio per drinking capacity. If we add 200 or 400 to the nightclub capacity, we may need to add 1 or 2 additional officers to the core area.

          Outside of policing the downtown, what happens when there is a break in or police call in North or East Davis on a weekend night?

          If Frankly or Robb Davis want to provide the night life for Woodland, Vacaville, West Sac, and Sacramento residents, great, just staff for it and accept the negative externalities.

        2. Frankly

          I just want to provide the venues that the members of our community want and will will support.

          Alan Miller than says “what about strip clubs?”

          First I would say that the members of our community do not want strip clubs and likely would not support them…. unlike nightclubs that the students (members of our community) want and support.

          And by the way Allan Miller and others so appalled over Davis nightclubs, do you remember the West Lane drive-in movie theater?

          Davis has not been so historical pristine as some would romanticize.

        3. TrueBlueDevil

          I’m with you, Frankly, let’s find a place next to Sudwerk’s or Plainfield Station to add a wine bar and bocce ball.

          I also don’t think students, parents, or citizens want knives, guns, gang bangers, or violence. There has to be a way to mellow out the craziness.

        4. Alan Miller

          “Alan Miller says . . . ”

          Frank Lee, and I’m serious about this, stop using my name to quote me from a few days ago, completely out of context to change the meaning of what I said.  Even in the same thread you often misquote me.  I often am being sarcastic or metaphoric, and quoting me literally and out of context is irrational.  Especially as you are supposedly anonymous, even though I know who you are, using my real name in vain is not cool.

          And yes, I remember Westlane. Was not in Davis as such, was a county venue. What a class act that was.

      2. Miwok

        Assuming KetMoRee followed all the rules, the business is another victim of this crime.

        Assuming this is true, then all businesses should be affected by this “moratorium” and shut them all down for a month? It should affect them all or none.

        In another comment the different licenses were discussed, and I think if a Restaurant/bar changes its character so much it becomes something else, then maybe another license is in order?

        And Alan Miller, if you comment sarcastically or otherwise, please signal to Frankly with a Smiley or other symbol so he doesn’t take it seriously. I comment seriously, and then get ridiculed for not knowing I am replaying to sarcasm.

  3. Michelle Millet

    Robb seems to be the voice of reason on this one. I worry that this is a reactionary decision by the council to give the appearance that they are being responsive, when in reality this decision does little to address the underlying issues.

     

    1. Anon

      The problem is that it is much more difficult to impose new regulations on existing businesses than new ones.  The fact that a developer with a new business proposal promises to follow any new regulations is murky from a legal perspective at best.  The City Council will allow this developer to come back in the middle of October to argue their “hardship” case, while the City Council has had at least a modicum of time to discuss the issue with ABC, the Davis PD and representatives of the downtown bars. That seemed to me to be a very responsible position by the 4 City Council members who voted to impose the 45 day moratorium.

      1. Michelle Millet

        The problem I have is that it smacks of political grand standing. It’s a way to give the appearance that our council is responding to a problem, when in reality it doesn’t solve anything, and it throws a business that was in no way responsible for the tragedy that occurred under the bus in the process. This does not reflect strong leadership on our councils part.

        1. Don Shor

          My hope is that now the council will appoint a subcommittee to meet privately and quietly with the owners, other downtown business reps, and police, and maybe a representative from ASUCD, to work out some actual workable policies and practices that make downtown safer late at night.

        2. Barack Palin

          The problem I have is that it smacks of political grand standing. It’s a way to give the appearance that our council is responding to a problem, when in reality it doesn’t solve anything

          Ha, like banning plastic bags and default beverage in kid’s meals?  Our council excels at grandstanding.

        3. Frankly

          My hope is that now the council will appoint a subcommittee to meet privately and quietly with the owners, other downtown business reps, and police, and maybe a representative from ASUCD, to work out some actual workable policies and practices that make downtown safer late at night.

          Agree, but if Anon participates on that one, I am going to have to do the same to balance it out.

        4. Michelle Millet

          I wouldn’t worry to much about it Frankly, from my experiences sub-committees form, spend a year discussing how to solve a problem, then have their recommendations ignored.

          If they actually want to get something accomplished I’d leave the city out of it. I think restaurants should meet with the groups Don recommended, come up with some solutions and let then let the council know how the are going to move forward.

           

        5. Mark West

          MM “The problem I have is that it smacks of political grand standing. It’s a way to give the appearance that our council is responding to a problem, when in reality it doesn’t solve anything”

          “This does not reflect strong leadership on our councils part.”

          This, in a nutshell, is exactly right.

          This moratorium is reactionary, entirely political, and will do absolutely nothing to make the downtown safer. Posturing is what this Council does best, so why should anyone expect anything different from them?

          Kudos to Robb for being the lone rational voice in the discussion.

  4. Davis Progressive

    i guess i just do not see what new regulations they are going to impose in the next 45 days that are going to make a huge difference. We have no idea what any of the stuff is. this is political posturing

  5. TrueBlueDevil

    When is a moratorium not a moratorium?

    When it has more holes that a piece of Swiss cheese.

    I’m glad to see that after multiple stabbings and now one death, the council members can now admit that the downtown has changed the last 5 years, and they can implement their moratorium, which isn’t a moratorium. That’s very bold of them, and gives them cover in case there is another homicide.

    They’re spineless on the budget, spineless on the roads, and now spineless when it comes to safety.

    1. Davis Progressive

      you act as though you hold the monopoly on the correct procedure when in fact we can’t even agree on these pages whether we should act and what to do.  the council is forced to thread a pretty fine needle.  multiple stabbings?  there are places not that far away that’s a good month rather than over a five year period.

      1. Michelle Millet

        multiple stabbings?  there are places not that far away that’s a good month rather than over a five year period.

        I’d prefer we not become one of those places.

        1. Alan Miller

          i don’t think we’re in any danger

          If someone had told you two years ago that there would be a stabbing gang murder inside a restaurant in Davis, an attempt to run someone over in downtown Davis, another stabbing in downtown, a couple fornicating by the railroad tracks that ended up as a quasi-maybe-rape, and another couple from the nightclubs fornicating behind Alan Miller’s side-yard at 1:45am, would you have thought we were in any danger?

        2. TrueBlueDevil

          MM, thank you. I have spent much time in big cities. I like them all for different reasons.

          I like the fact that Davis is a college town, and even with this death we’re safer-than-the-norm. I don’t want us to become Chico, San Luis Obispo, or San Jose. I don’t want 1, or 3, or 5 murders to become “the norm”. Mr. Lee seems to admit that the city has let this problem fester without being properly addressed, so now we may have had a tipping point to focus our attention.

          I’ve recently signed up for a central coast online news outlet … and I am quite surprised by the frequency of violent crime in their area, which includes SLO.

        3. Michelle Millet

          Its not the one tragedy, its the overall trend. I don’t like that police are more frequently removing guns and knives off of drunk people looking for fights downtown.

          Throwing one business under the bus in order to give the appearance of taking action, while accusing them of not being a “family friendly” restaurant because they convert to a 21 and over at night, when most kids are home in bed, does not seem the most effective way to address this.

           

        4. Davis Progressive

          alan: i’d say if that’s all pretty tame.  i thought the double homicide was far more shocking.  the lack of community concern for that talamantes girl compared to the bar stabbing is disturbing.

          fornicating?  does anyone use that term anymore?

        5. TrueBlueDevil

          Alan Miller: I would say that today we are 20x more likely to have a gang member put a cap in multiple college students / citizens than we were 20 years ago.

          There are common-sense measures that can help diminish these odds, and still keep the downtown vibrant.

          You’ll note that the new Blondie’s isn’t a wine bar, tapas restaurant, or bocce ball place. Its a sports pub / night club masquerading as a “family style” Chuck E Cheese restaurant.

          Frankly has been arguing that the core is too cramped, and here we go possibly adding another large venue right in the same area!

        6. Davis Progressive

          ” I would say that today we are 20x more likely to have a gang member put a cap in multiple college students / citizens than we were 20 years ago.”

          why do you write such nonsense, the murder rate today is less than half what it was in 1990.

        7. Alan Miller

          alan: i’d say if that’s all pretty tame.  i thought the double homicide was far more shocking.  the lack of community concern for that talamantes girl compared to the bar stabbing is disturbing.

          I found the double homicide far more disturbing, and also completely outside of anyone’s control.  A caused death between people that know each other, in their own apartment, is quite different than a public assault that results in death at a publicly accessible private venue that requires a series of licenses to operate, within close geographic locale to other similar businesses, resulting in a “scene”.  The atmosphere of a “scene” can be altered and tamed via public policy, the nu-diagnosed terminal mental illness of a single individual cannot.

          fornicating?  does anyone use that term anymore?

          I’m sorry, I meant “f******”.  The couple in the alley were definitely f******.

          [moderator] edited for language. Believe it or not, we actually have language standards here.

    2. TrueBlueDevil

      How many square feet is this new sports pub / nightclub?

      What is the maximum capacity for the nightclub, and how does this compare to KetMo or the Grad?

      Does it provide adequate parking and restrooms? I’ve seen these places shoehorned in without proper ‘facilities’, which leads to more people than normal relieving themselves outside. my guess is that the average nightclub needs a lot more urinals and toilets than the average “family restaurant”.

        1. Frankly

          Nailed it BP.

          The problem with people in this city trying to control what types of businesses go in or don’t go in is that they don’t understand or consider the consequences.

           

        2. TrueBlueDevil

          Frankly, have you considered the risks if we become the night life for Sacramento, Woodland, and Vacaville?

          Have you considered the consequences if we have multiple homicides? or increased rapes?

          You probably know these figures better than I. What are the direct costs associated to Blondies if we have to add one full time police officer to cover the added troubles?

          The city council also sounds naive on their moratorium that isn’t, when they’ll approve smaller venues. Have they heard of “pre-loading”? Have they thought of the overall capacity downtown? Let’s say they also add a taqueria and small brew pub near Blondies. So the kids and outsiders can “pre-load” on booze at these places before they go to KetMo or Blondies, and now we’ve added capacity of 400-500 to the nightlife?

          There are lots of consequences to their decisions, and I’m not sure they’ve even thought most of them through. Bathrooms, parking, officers, trash cans, vomit. Walnut Creek had a similar scenario 4-5 years ago, and one night it “hit the fan” when multiple fights broke out simultaneously at different bars downtown, and they didn’t have the police power to cover what was unfolding, as well as being unable to police law-abiding citizens who were home safe in their beds.

  6. Frankly

    I would like a poll of people that think Davis needs more affordable housing.

    Because if we add more affordable housing, we will have more crime.

    Part of what keeps Davis safer than other communities, is that home prices and rents are high and are not accessible for people in lower income status.

    But all around us are a growing population of low income people.  There are several reasons for this.  One is the crappy enforcement of immigration laws.  Another is the housing price escalation in the Bay Area that has driven more low income people east where housing is cheaper.  Three is the Obama jobless recovery where there are record numbers of discouraged and under-employed people.

    Davis has more crime and will have event more crime from this growing regional demographic of low income people.

    So let’s not punish our local business for this.  It is not their fault.

    Instead let’s accept that we need to hire more cops.

    And by the way… don’t try to make the point that students are low income. They are but only temporarily until the graduate and get a good paying job.

    1. Jim Frame

      “Instead let’s accept that we need to hire more cops”

      How would hiring more police have prevented the KetMoRee stabbing?  It wasn’t the result of enforcement failure.

      1. David Greenwald

        This is a key point in my opinion. I just don’t think we know enough about what happened. It may be that this just wasn’t something we were going to be able to stop. I do in general favor more police as I’ve sat down with the Chief and Assistant Chief and gone over the numbers.

        1. TrueBlueDevil

          Let me guess. Young men were drunk, horny, and filled with testosterone and bravado, some were gang members. Someone bumped into someone, or someone stared at someone, or argued over a girl, fists started flying, the gang members outnumbered the wedding party members, the gentle giant (victim) came to the rescue, and at least one coward gang member used a knife to save face from an a@@ whopping.

      2. Frankly

        Sure, there is no way to know if having more patrol officers on the streets downtown would have prevented this murder.  However, I’m sure that outside thugs thinking about coming to Davis would be dissuaded from coming and/or bringing a weapon to town knowing that Davis has a high concentration of police keeping tabs on things.

        The bad guys from these outside areas know that Davis is a soft target because we have a relatively small number of police officers per capita.

        One thing though… I’m sure if the police had caught one of these guys and cracked a head or two in apprehending them, David would have written a different article about the unjustified use of force on a person of color.

        1. Davis Progressive

          i’ve mainly heard that davis is a soft target for residential burglaries – well to do, a lot of people don’t lock doors and windows, easy on and off from the highway. and guess what it shows it in the above average property crime rate.

          extrapolating it to the bar scene is a bit tortured.  even if there is a climb, davis has a far lower violent crime rate and far fewer even bar incidents than woodland, west sac, or sacramento.  so are outsiders going to skip going to davis if we hire more cops?  do they skip woodland, west sac, or sac?  no.  there is a level of analysis missing here frankly.  if davis had a higher rate of bar incidents you might have a point, but they don’t

        2. TrueBlueDevil

          Well publicized DUI checkpoints might get through their thick skulls. That means plates will be checked, and weapons may be seen (if they pack). Those things don’t hapen when they’re in the club.

    2. Alan Miller

      I would like a poll of people that think Davis needs more affordable housing.

      Actual affordable housing, yes, as in stop tearing it out to put in what the government calls “affordable housing”, which isn’t.

      Instead let’s accept that we need to hire more cops.

       

      Hiring more cops to control the downtown bar scene, that supposedly was economic development.  Too bad hiring more cops will more than suck up the delta of additional taxes from the nightclub scene, just as was found in Fullerton.  Frank Lee, I thought you wanted to see Davis get more money, not subsidize the private night-club security with public police.  That is subsidy of a private business.  But then again, you are also in favor of redevelopment funds, also public subsidy of private business.  So you are consistent in not being a real conservative.  It strikes me as strange that I am more conservative than you in this arena.

  7. Tia Will

    “My hope is that now the council will appoint a subcommittee to meet privately and quietly with the owners, other downtown business reps, and police, and maybe a representative from ASUCD, to work out some actual workable policies and practices that make downtown safer late at night.

    I want to offer my thanks and kudos to all of the council members. I disagree that this is merely political grandstanding. I believe that this is a difficult and multifactorial issue and that buying some time for further evaluation of all of the issues is warranted. I also appreciate Robb’s concerns regarding possible negative impacts on aspiring businesses and the importance of an objective rather than reactionary approach. What is important in my mind is not the moratorium itself, but the recognition that there is a significant problem, that this particular murder is not just a one off but rather may represent an escalation of a pattern of violence including the use of progressively more lethal weapons in our community and that additional time may be necessary to sort out the issues. What will be the most telling is how the city council, staff and legal advisors as well as the downtown business community and other affected groups utilize this time.

    1. Michelle Millet

      What is important in my mind is not the moratorium itself, but the recognition that there is a significant problem, that this particular murder is not just a one off but rather may represent an escalation of a pattern of violence including the use of progressively more lethal weapons in our community and that additional time may be necessary to sort out the issues. 

      I share you concerns, to often I see leaders respond in reactionary ways to appease the masses in the short term, but fail to follow through with long term solutions once the issue is no longer in the spotlight.

      Have we done anything to address the parking issues downtown once the idea to kill a parking garage passed council? I believe the parking task force came up with a comprehensive list of solutions. Have any of them been implemented?

      What about the fluoride issue? When council killed the idea of adding fluoride to the water they recommended other ways to meet the dental needs of our lower income kids. Has anything happened?

      We got rid of the MRAP? Have we taken any action to ensure the safety of our officers when the enter into situation where they are engaging with perpetrators who are in position of high power rifles?

      I just worry that this is one more decision in long line of reactive short term solutions that solve nothing, except make it appear that our council cares about an issue.

  8. Davis Progressive

    “Davis has more crime and will have event more crime from this growing regional demographic of low income people.”

    show me the stats that bear out that davis has more crime than it did a few years ago

    1. Frankly

      Davis has more property crime.

      Per city-data.com property crime rate in Davis in 2013 was 330.4 per 100,000.  US Average was 250.2

      In 2001 property crime in Davis was 303 and US average was 337.2.

      So not only did Davis property crime numbers increase, but significantly so compared to national trends.

      Now Davis is way down on the number of murders compared to US averages.

      Another interesting data point..

      2013 full-time law enforcement officers per 1,000 residents in Davis is .88.  Average in California is 2.34.

      http://www.city-data.com/crime/crime-Davis-California.html

      Instead of blaming KetMoRee, we should be blaming politicians and public sector unions and no-growers… all having contributed to a lack of funds to hire the number of police officers Davis SHOULD have.

  9. Barack Palin

    I find it ironic that some members of the Sanctuary City People’s Republic of Davis are inviting to illegals from all over the world but in the same breath don’t want outsiders from our local neighboring cities frequenting our downtown.

    1. Davis Progressive

      i think you are mistaken on several levels.

      1. sanctuary city doesn’t invite illegals from all over the world, it simply directs the local police to not act as immigration agents

      2. it is not the same people who are advocating for both

  10. CalAg

    One person’s “limiting proliferation of discos/nightclubs” is another person’s “limiting competition for my market share.”

    This action did nothing to address the actual problem. It just protects the incumbents from new competitors.

    I’m confused by the 4:1 vote. Is Swanson a still co-owner of Our House? I had assumed there would only be four council members voting.

      1. Barack Palin

        With a little research I see you are right CalAg.  It seems she either is or was a co-owner in both of those two restaurant/bars.  Should she have recused herself?

         

      2. CalAg

        In the past she’s stated publicly that she was one of the Our House partners. I’m just curious if that has changed or if Steiner didn’t feel recusal was necessary.

  11. Misanthrop

    It seems that you are all missing something. The owners of KetMoRee own a second restaurant that they plan on expanding. Could it be that this will prevent them from doing so until ABC can sort out the liquor license issue? Staff may have crafted this with that in mind but can’t simply write it directly calling out KetMoRee because that would make it a bill of attainder something prohibited by the U.S. Constitution. I think the possible hardship exemption is the thing that gives away the game here.

    As to the liquor license issue my guess is that KetMoRee loses their liquor license but is allowed to sell the second license at the other restaurant in a negotiated settlement with the ABC. I could be wrong about the second joint because I don’t know if the liquor licenses are held under the same title and if that matters.

    Honestly, I just don’t see how KetMoRee isn’t made an example by the ABC. Putting the owners out of the bar business sends the clearest message of deterrence  to every other operator that they must maintain an orderly operation if they want to stay in business. I wouldn’t expect the state to settle for anything less.

    One last point. I noticed that the fugitive is only 20. Doesn’t it seem odd that a 20 year old was in that place? Maybe it is something about the type of license they hold that allows underage people to be inside at that hour. If so this might be another issue that needs to be addressed. Certainly revoking the license will take care of that issue as well.

     

     

    1. Davis Progressive

      there was no discussion of that today – the second ketmo place.

      there was an explanation about the 20 year old – ketmo is a restaurant and 20 year olds are allowed, just not allowed to drink

      1. CalAg

        So there’s an actionable issue. Rezone the core to force these “restaurants” to operate under a disco/nightclub conditional use permit after 10:00 pm (that bars minors after the dinner service ends).

        1. Frankly

          can you put an existing business under a conditional use permit?

          The permit is granted to support the business use of the property.  It cannot be changed without the city facing a law suit for damages to the business and the owners.

        2. CalAg

          I didn’t mean rezone – hasty comment on the fly – what I meant was amend the zoning ordinance. KetMoRee, for example, is zoned CC (Central Commercial). I just looked up the ordinance in the Municipal Code and “establishments serving alcoholic beverages” are a permitted use (no surprise here). However, there is no mention of discos or nightclubs as either permitted or conditional uses. There is also no mention of live music and/or dancing establishments.

          While the Planning Commission has the authority to approve unlisted uses if they are “consistent with the purposes of this article and which will not impair the present or potential use of adjacent properties,” I would certainly want to explore whether (1) the initial approvals were legally granted and (2) the current uses are conforming with the initial approvals. Unless these places have specific approvals for after-hours disco/nightclubs they are currently non-conforming.

          It’s hard to argue that the current operators are not impairing the present or potential uses of adjacent properties (these permitted uses including downtown residential).  My understanding of the law is that if the City approved a use that violates the language of the zoning ordinance listed above, the approval is not vested.

  12. Michelle Millet

    Certainly revoking the license will take care of that issue as well.

    If this is the case then why resort to tricky back room bulls*t that negatively impacts another business as you suggest is the case with this statement:

    It seems that you are all missing something. The owners of KetMoRee own a second restaurant that they plan on expanding. Could it be that this will prevent them from doing so until ABC can sort out the liquor license issue? 

    If the city is hiding the true motive of passing the ordinance then again I think it reflects poor leadership.

  13. Anon

    Frankly: “So let’s not punish our local business for this.  It is not their fault.

    YOU DON’T KNOW THAT IT IS NOT THEIR FAULT!!!  I have pointed out anecdotal evidence that indicates what may be some serious problems at these places: lingerie parties which will tend to bring in the strip club element from out of town; bartenders continuing to sell drinks to overly inebriated customers; bouncers who are not only hitting on girls, but promoting aggressive customer behavior and may even be scamming customers with bogus cover charges (uncovered that little problem on Yelp).  It certainly warrants investigation, which is exactly what the 4 City Council members want to do BEFORE APPROVING ANOTHER SUCH ESTABLISHMENT IN TOWN.  I APPLAUD THEM FOR IT! AND YES I AM SHOUTING!  LOL

    And no, I would never agree to be on such a committee as is being proposed, because I don’t know enough about the issue to feel comfortable to weigh in officially.  I do not have a good feel for what would be best, but would like to see our City Council/ABC/law enforcement be given the opportunity and sufficient time to come up with some potential solutions – SO WE DON’T HAVE ANOTHER MURDER AGAIN.  As I said before, HOW MANY MURDERS DOES IT TAKE TO GET PEOPLE TO WAKE UP TO THE POSSIBILITY THERE MAY BE A PROBLEM WITH THE NIGHTCLUB SCENE IN DAVIS THAT NEEDS TO BE ADDRESSED?  Sheeeeeesh!  IMO it is just common sense!

    1. Mark West

      “Sheeeeeesh!  IMO it is just common sense!”

      The sense may be common in your view, but that doesn’t mean you are making any, yelling or no.

      The nightclub, nor the ‘nightclub scene’ for that matter, did not cause this murder, and the moratorium will not prevent another. The City Council does not need the moratorium in order to say no to another such establishment if they so choose. The owners of the existing downtown establishments are working with the police and other agencies and staff to address the situation, and at present the best thing for the City Council to do is to shut up, get out of the way and allow that work to be completed. The entire discussion and action by the Council was nothing more than political theater.

      If KetMoRee violated their liquor license then the ABC will act to correct the problem. Speculation on what the ABC will do is just that.

      Citing Yelp as evidence in this incident is as nonsensical as suggesting that lingerie parties at a bar will lead to murder.

      1. TrueBlueDevil

        If there is a general environment that allows reckless behavior, excessive drinking, belligerent behavior, urinating in public, carrying of weapons (i.e., lax enforcement or soft consequences when found), spottily enforced behavior codes, then yes, “the scene” can communicate a no-holds-barred culture.

        You can sense it, you can almost smell it. The unconscious brain, someone with street smarts, can sense it right away.

        Yelp reviews can be an excellent source of information. A trained eye can weed out the 5% or 10% with an ax to grind. (Competitor, fired employee, customer who didn’t get a freebie.) They are spaced out over time, you’ll see if the reviewers have written other informative reviews, and many of the reviews are balanced to say “here is the good, the bad, the ugly’. A pattern can also emerge which further buttresses the totality of the reviews.

        1. Alan Miller

          You can sense it, you can almost smell it. The unconscious brain, someone with street smarts, can sense it right away.

          I resemble that remark.

          The Frank Lee Mark Wests of the world see only the perp as the perpetrator. Creating an atmosphere of water will create a world of fish, and sharks.

  14. Davis Progressive

    ” I have pointed out anecdotal evidence that indicates what may be some serious problems at these places”

    you must be a lawyer, could you qualify your comment anymore?  “anecdotal” “indicates” “May be”

      1. Barack Palin

        I don’t give much credit to Internet complaints because only people who are mad post and other businesses can post to discredit their competition.  Normally when someone has a good experience they don’t bother to comment.

  15. Alan Miller

    After watching the council meeting on video (I had to leave to catch a train after I spoke), I do see Robb Davis’ point about the actuality of the moratorium just affecting one business.  That’s why I said in my comments that I hope that this is just the beginning and that the urgency isn’t just forgotten — like so many things — after a few weeks or months go by, and no real action is taken.

    However, I now seriously wonder about that business’ integrity after that exchange with Wolk.  They knew the issue was late night, and tried to pass off their restaurant as “family friendly” when apparently a night club scene is what comes later.  I would be OK if they had said outright “family friendly during restaurant hours, dancing/bar scene after 10pm or 11pm.”  But it came across they were trying to hide something that was so obvious there was no value in trying to hide it.

    The revelation, if true, that Ket Mo Ree is able to let 18-20 year olds in because they are a restaurant is really stretching their license to the edge, and should be looked into.  I wonder what other restaurants do the same.  There is no stretch in saying this adds to the attraction of out-of-town men coming to Davis to prey on the 18-20 year old drunk women in the club.  How do they drunk?  I do indeed remember what it was like to be that age quite vividly, and I will tell you what is happening:  the 18-20 year olds are drinking in the parking lots behind ACE, Village Bakery and Amtrak, and in the adjacent neighborhood (Old East).  I know because I see them, and I know because, sans money to buy drinks nor legality to buy drinks, that’s what I would have done when I was that age.

    So there is a tangible staring point:  change the license, get agreement, and enforce so that 18-20 year olds are not allowed in the night clubs on this technicality.  When the tables move out to make way for a night club dance floor, it isn’t a restaurant anymore, and this loophole is gone.

    Here’s another suggestion:  start putting volume limits on the bass subwoofer output for noise violation, to enforce the sound encroachment on other businesses and nearby residential neighborhoods.  Davis only measures the high frequency now.  I know for fact that some open businesses downtown have a problem with the bass noise as do nearby neighborhs, but the night clubs currently “get away with it”.  The lower noise levels by meter will give an objective level of sound that can be used for equal enforcement.  As well, lower sound levels may allow people to actually talk to each other, rather than non-verbal communication such as a threatening gesture or a knifing.

    Another ordinance that Davis may wish to consider is modeled after Portland, Oregon.  I don’t know the exact wording, but basically every bar is required to serve full meals at all hours that they serve alcohol. (details appreciated).  This by default prevents all-nightclub type of institutions, keeps people overall more sober by having the scene center on food as well as music and drink.  Portland has a fantastic late night scene that is very civil for a large city, and as a side benefit, the late night food that I sampled up there was exquisite.

    I am not trying to shut down the Davis late night scene; however, the scene needs to be tamed.  I am certain that until this murder, few people realized that there was this quite intense scene downtown after 11pm on Thursday through Saturday nights.  Most established Davisites are not out at those hours.  Wake up, everyone!  This cannot simply be swept under the rug.  Tangible changes must be enacted to temper the scene.  Now that we know there is a problem, it cannot be ignored, nor will our memories allow action to be sidelined until we forget.  A murder sticks in our collective heads.

     

    1. Anon

      However, I now seriously wonder about that business’ integrity after that exchange with Wolk.  They knew the issue was late night, and tried to pass off their restaurant as “family friendly” when apparently a night club scene is what comes later.  I would be OK if they had said outright “family friendly during restaurant hours, dancing/bar scene after 10pm or 11pm.”  But it came across they were trying to hide something that was so obvious there was no value in trying to hide it.

      Yes, I did not get a good feeling about the integrity of this business at all, based on the exchange with Mayor Wolk.  The “family friendly pizza parlor” shtick was less than honest.

      The revelation, if true, that Ket Mo Ree is able to let 18-20 year olds in because they are a restaurant is really stretching their license to the edge, and should be looked into. I wonder what other restaurants do the same.  There is no stretch in saying this adds to the attraction of out-of-town men coming to Davis to prey on the 18-20 year old drunk women in the club.

      Yes, that is something that sounds very sketchy to me too.  KetMoRee may be able to get away with it technically, but is it skirting the true intent of the law?

      Another ordinance that Davis may wish to consider is modeled after Portland, Oregon.  I don’t know the exact wording, but basically every bar is required to serve full meals at all hours that they serve alcohol. (details appreciated).  This by default prevents all-nightclub type of institutions, keeps people overall more sober by having the scene center on food as well as music and drink.

      Actually that is an interesting idea!

      I am not trying to shut down the Davis late night scene; however, the scene needs to be tamed.

      Bingo!

      1. Anon

        Not sure who you are asking.  IMO, The Graduate can be kid friendly, depending on what hour you go there.  Saturday afternoon, probably okay for kids.  Saturday night, not so much.  However, the guy from Blondie’s this morning tried to pass off his pizza place as if it were merely a “Chucky Cheese”, figuratively speaking.  Then when questioned closely by Mayor Wolk, the guy conceded he wanted to turn the place into a nightclub late at night, he wanted to cater to the college drinking crowd, etc.  You definitely got the feeling this guy was trying to hide the ball.  I would have felt much more sympathetic had he been upfront from the beginning.

        IMO, Blondie’s will be one more bar on “Nightclub Row” on G Street – and will probably not be a good thing – unless some regulations/protections are put in place to “tame” (as Alan Miller put it) the nightlife in Davis.  I am not sure what would work – so I think it might be helpful for the City Council/law enforcement/ABC to investigate what has worked in other towns that have had this sort of problem.

        1. Mark West

          So happy to hear we are getting a pizza parlor downtown.  Now all we need is a Thai restaurant, a bike shop and maybe a couple of places to buy coffee and the downtown will be complete…

        2. Michelle Millet

          Then when questioned closely by Mayor Wolk, the guy conceded he wanted to turn the place into a nightclub late at night, he wanted to cater to the college drinking crowd, etc.  You definitely got the feeling this guy was trying to hide the ball.  I would have felt much more sympathetic had he been upfront from the beginning.

          I’m troubled by the entire interaction with the mayor on this one. It seems like the council set up this restaurant to take the fall for an incident that they had nothing to do with. I’m not sure it was the restaurant trying to hide the ball as much as it was the mayor attempting to take a cheap shot in order to push his campaign platform. I find it troublesome when our leaders make decisions in this way and I appreciate that Robb pushed to find actual solutions rather then take the politically shiny alternative.

        3. Frankly

          Blondies business model is really not materially different than the Graduate; yet you defend the Graduate and seem to want to crucify Blondies.   Just trying to understand the discontinuity in your arguments.

        4. Davis Progressive

          “I’m troubled by the entire interaction with the mayor on this one. It seems like the council set up this restaurant to take the fall for an incident that they had nothing to do with”

          michelle nailed it.  this was all about dan.

    2. Napoleon Pig IV

      Alan, I may not agree with you on a lot of things, but I think you made some excellent points and suggestions with this post.

      My only additional modification would be make sure the politicians don’t take forever to get their butts in gear and leave people running businesses and interested in investing in businesses in Davis twisting in the wind while they gaze at their navels, as politicians tend to do a lot in Davis. Oink!

  16. Michael Harrington

    There are too many late night drinking joints in the downtown.  More and more I notice drunks wandering around making noise and disturbing the peace late into the night.

     

    There are numerous General Plan and related specific plan policies promoting the advantages of the downtown having commercial and residential co-existing.

    These late night bars that promote large draws of customers until well past midnight completely undercut the residential side of the downtown.

     

    I have lived and worked downtown since 1995, and I have seen the ramp up of the late bars and drunks that started about 2008-09.  The CC should request a full report showing the ramp up in the late night bar activity, and it should include the residential downtown policies that these late bars undercut.

  17. Frankly

    Mark West
    September 29, 2015 at 3:33 pm
    So happy to hear we are getting a pizza parlor downtown.  Now all we need is a Thai restaurant, a bike shop and maybe a couple of places to buy coffee and the downtown will be complete…

    Don Shor
    September 29, 2015 at 3:48 pm

    I’m thinking we still need frozen yogurt, too.

    Funny but a bit sad.

    I had dinner at Osteria Fasulo last night with my spouse.  It was the typical 3 hour relaxing ordeal with wine and Grappa (walking distance from our home).  This time we got to spend time with Leonardo and I asked him about his view of food service choice in Davis.  He has been open for eight years, so he knows a bit about the subject.

    I told him that I was frustrated that we live next to the number one food-science university in the world, yet we have so few good restaurant choices.  He said in urban areas people will go out to eat several times a week at a good restaurant; but in Davis maybe twice a month or less.  I reflected on that and quickly confirmed it with my family.  But I challenged Leonardo that with more choice we would maybe go out to dinner one or more times per week.  He remained skeptical about this… saying that Davis has a lot of good grocery stores and a lot of cheap food choices supporting students and a population lacking culinary sophistication.  Then he told me something surprising… that about half of his good and reliable customers to his restaurant come from out of the area… many from the Bay Area.

    This then dovetailed into a theory that I have had for some time; that Davis is missing the opportunity to pull in more well-heeled big spenders by growing our retail footprint.  Instead we end up with another pizza and burgers restaurant that turns into a night club replacing a previous restaurant that, although wasn’t very good, at least had sit down waited service.

    What is my point?

    If Davis wants to prevent the attraction of bad elements to the downtown, the City should work out some redevelopment incentives to for high-quality food service and other retail.   But the other thing the city can do is to expand our commercial property inventory so rents stabilize and there is more choice for locating different types of venues.   Then not only will we reduce the concentration of bad people coming from out of the area, but we will attract more good people that spend money here and don’t require us to spend on more law enforcement.

    1. Don Shor

      Great reply. Thanks for explaining your view so clearly and reasonably. I do wonder if potential restauranteurs simply look at the Davis market and consider it over-saturated, even if they were considering a higher-end establishment.

      1. Frankly

        I know that Leonardo considers it saturated… but then I think it would be natural for any business owner to want less competition.

        When I look at other cities our size, I see a greater supply of restaurants in general.  However, not necessarily a good supply of good restaurants.  I think Leonardo opened my eyes to the fact that Davis, like some other communities, are lacking in the type of people that like to frequent good restaurants.  We seem to be more interested in good grocery stores with high quality produce.  I think TBD might have hit on it below that we have more people in the population that are not as stressed for time and more apt to find time to cook themselves.

        That is why I suggested that we should consider the value of attracting outside people to town to eat… like I learned that Osteria Fasulo does.

        But Mark brings up another good point.  We complain about the downtown turning into a nightclub scene.   But how many of us actually spent money regularly at Little Prague and Tucos?  How many of us actually feel a responsibility to support these restaurants to keep them in business?

        Lastly, I think if we build innovation parks it will help the restaurants when we get more employees here.  That is another reason our restaurants struggle… we don’t have the number of businesses and their employees that would spend more money for good food service.

        So, in this respect, I think building the innovation parks will help solve the downtown nightclub problems.

        1. Alan Miller

          So, in this respect, I think building the innovation parks will help solve the downtown nightclub problems.

          My head starting spinning faster and faster and flew off my neck.

    2. Mark West

      On the whole, I think Frankly gets it right here (and elsewhere above). The primary reason that the downtown restaurants are turning into late night drinking establishments is because that is what the public wants (i.e. that is where the money is).  The cost of business is such that the only way to pay the bills is to cater to the alcohol fueled crowd. Passing an ordinance against drinking mojitos while wearing lingerie and listening to thumpa-thumpa music, won’t create a better environment downtown, it will just make those restaurants that need late-night, lingerie-wearing, mojito drinkers (and thumpa-thumpa music) to pay the bills less profitable, perhaps to the point of going out of business altogether.

      How family friendly is a block full of decaying empty buildings?

      If we want to improve the environment at night downtown, we need to support the establishments that create the preferred environment. That means spending money with them on a regular basis. Not just once or twice a year, but tonight and again next week (rinse repeat).  If you like a restaurant, but don’t like its thumpa-thumpa alternate personality, then the next time you are paying your tab, tell the manager that your continued patronage during the day and evening depends upon their lowering the volume at night. Then follow through.  If they turn down the volume, go back more often, if they don’t, go somewhere else.  When we make the good aspects of a business more profitable, there will be fewer incentives to use less good aspects to pay the bills.

      Whining on the Vanguard (or during public comment at the CC) about loud music, inebriates fertilizing your lawn, and finding hearing-impared mojito drinkers copulating in your yard waste container, doesn’t actually do anything to improve the environment downtown. Regularly spending money at establishments that support a sane nightlife however, will.

    3. TrueBlueDevil

      Interesting observation. I know I eat out more frequently when I am (was) entertaining clients and would expense meals. Given the smaller footprint of the Davis businesses, that is limited.

      A friend developed an extensive business plan for a restaurant. He found the key items were number of hours worked and income. If you work 50 or 60 hours per week, you eat out more often (you have less time to cook). I don’t think Davis has that many demanding employers.

  18. odd man out

    Frankly asked “And by the way Allan Miller and others so appalled over Davis nightclubs, do you remember the West Lane drive-in movie theater?”

     

    I remember it. It was in the county, not in the city.

    1. hpierce

      Interesting thing about West Lane… had been a normal, family-oriented theater for years… as the ‘drive-in theater’ concept declined, it went to XX and XXX rated movies.  Almost an analogy to family-oriented restaurants during the day to nightclubs at night.

      For those long in the tooth, who remember the Eight is Enough TV show (ostensibly set in Sacramento), there was an episode where the teen-age son, Tommy, asks his dad if he can borrow the car, to go with some other guys to see a movie.  Dad asks “where”, Tommy answers “West Lane”, Dad (very ‘conservative’) says yeah, fine.  At the time of the airing of that episode, West Lane was in XXX mode.  One of the writers must have been a local, with a GREAT sense of humor/irony!

      1. Alan Miller

        If we want to improve the environment at night downtown, we need to support the establishments that create the preferred environment.

        The ones that don’t have nightclubs at night.  That’s what I do.

        That means spending money with them on a regular basis.

        Yes.

        Not just once or twice a year, but tonight and again next week (rinse repeat).

        Yes.

        If you like a restaurant, but don’t like its thumpa-thumpa alternate personality, then the next time you are paying your tab, tell the manager that your continued patronage during the day and evening depends upon their lowering the volume at night. Then follow through.

        That would involve supporting those that turn into nightclubs, so No.  Those restaurants don’t have good food anyway, so double No.

        If they turn down the volume, go back more often, if they don’t, go somewhere else.

        Turn down the volume?  Yeah, right.  That’s a good one.

        When we make the good aspects of a business more profitable, there will be fewer incentives to use less good aspects to pay the bills.

        I don’t think my going and eating bad food at a restaurant that turns into a night-club later is going to incentivize them to cease becoming nightclubs at night.

        Whining on the Vanguard (or during public comment at the CC) about loud music, inebriates fertilizing your lawn, and finding hearing-impared mojito drinkers copulating in your yard waste container, doesn’t actually do anything to improve the environment downtown.

        Whining in the Vanguard about people whining in the Vanguard doesn’t make you less a whiner than I.

        Regularly spending money at establishments that support a sane nightlife however, will.

        Or better yet, not spending my money there, and if enough who agree with me do the same, putting those businesses out of business.

    2. Frankly

      Right where the soccer fields are today.  Not too far out of Davis city limits.  Certainly considered a Davis location by those that would go there.

      But this brings up and interesting follow up question.  Say Davis has a big night club right outside of the city limits.  Would Alan Miller like that more or less than the smaller collection of downtown night clubs?

      Are asked another way… how far away would the night club have to be before Alan Miller would be cool with it?

      1. hpierce

        Ah… the irony continues… frankly is right… DISC soccer fields (pretty much the best in the area, speaking as a referee who has run on them) are on the West lane site.  The site went from family oriented, to XXX, back to family/kid oriented.  Someone play the Lion King, “Circle of Life” music.

        Like a kidney stone, this too shall pass…

      2. Alan Miller

        Frank Lee, I asked you to stop using my name if you are going to quote me and then use my comments out of context, especially not adjacent to the comments I made.  Your entire premise on these questions is flawed.  Again, make your points, but as an anonymous stop using my name and then accusing me of saying things I never said.

  19. Cecilia EscamillaGreenwald

    What happened to Old Soul (it was supposed to open at the former Little Prague location, in late-November?) Did Davis scare away another business? Blondie’s pizza and bar sounds like a good business; however, I am wondering just how many pizza and bars we need downtown? Don’t we want to offer a mix of cuisines and restaurants and retail downtown?

    I pulled up the article – quoted below from the Sacramento Bee – and wonder: What happened to Old Soul? Does anyone know?  Where did it (the plan) go? Thank you!

    Old Soul co-owners Tim Jordan and Jason Griest said they are opening a new coffee shop and bar in downtown Davis, taking over the 5,900-square-foot building on G Street occupied by the long-running Czech restaurant Little Prague, which is closing soon…

    In Davis, Old Soul is also planning a late-November launch, though construction and renovations are expected to be more extensive and cost $250,000 or more, Jordan said. The restaurant space will be made over “in the Old Soul style,” which has an aesthetic that is a mix of modern and industrial. It will include a separate business tentatively called “The Handle Bar.” The eatery/bar and cafe/coffeehouse will share a new kitchen.

     

    The Davis Enterprise stated:

    “The Davis location, with its large patio and what would be Old Soul’s first full bar and complete kitchen, provides lots of opportunity to add depth to the offerings, Jordan said. The proposal includes plans for many cosmetic improvements, which they will disclose later.

    All of their cafés have a community feel. “Kind of funky and kind of hip,” Jordan said. They love the energy of this town, and wouldn’t see themselves moving into a suburb like Roseville, Natomas or Elk Grove. “Davis has great energy.”

    But just because it’s on G Street, doesn’t mean it will be part of the Thursday night pub crawl. Nor will it be a place to park your laptop for hours.” “It’s not revolving around students,” he said.

  20. Cecilia EscamillaGreenwald

    Village Bakery & Pizzeria is located diagonally (kitty corner) from the former Old Prague location and Steve’s Pizza across the street behind Jack in the Box. Do we need another pizza place in such close proximity? Blondie’s sounds like a good restaurant; however, I am wondering how many pizza & bar places we need downtown?  What dept. is responsible for the makeup of our businesses downtown? For what reason is there not more work being done to bring a good mix of businesses downtown and throughout the city?  Just asking…

    1. Don Shor

      There is no department responsible for the makeup of businesses downtown. There are departments that review applications and zoning, etc., but the makeup of businesses in Davis is a function of which entrepreneurs are willing to risk their capital and time. While there are some staff people who might be putting out the word about available spaces that need tenants, nobody in the city staff is deciding what kinds of businesses are locating here. Evidently the owners of Blondie’s feel they can compete in a crowded market.

      1. Don Shor

        My suspicion, somewhat confirmed by Frankly’s conversation with the owner of Osteria Fasulo, is that people who would be willing to spend what it takes to open a full-service sit-down restaurant of high quality look at the demographics of this town and think it wouldn’t be a good risk. The age spread is wrong, the market is full of lower-price alternatives, the costs would be high, and there isn’t a prime space available for what they’d want to do.

        1. CountyRoad

          I’ve been to the City of Berkeley many times to eat.  They seem to have vastly more hip and various foodie-type eating establishments than Davis, and yet it is mostly a college town.  Go on Yelp (since it’s been brought up so much already) and read the reviews.  True that students want cheap food options, but I think it’s also an issue of creative business minds needing to expand/bring their businesses to Davis.  I think if the food is good (relative to most), people will come (e.g., Mikuni’s, deVeres, Café Bernardo). On a side note, if innovation parks can become a reality…that would also liven the downtown scene, in a predictably good way.

  21. hpierce

    “What dept. is responsible for the makeup of our businesses downtown? ”  Scary comment!  

    Tells me that you reject the notion of a market economy.  And that leads to the concept that “government” or popular vote, should be able to dictate what anyone can do, or how they can use their property.  Even if they are following all the ordinances in place.

  22. Cecilia EscamillaGreenwald

    hpierce, No, I do not reject the notion of market economy.  My apologies if my question led you to believe that i believe BIG BROTHER or BIG GOVERNMENT should dictate what businesses are located downtown.

    My question was,  “What dept. is responsible for the makeup of our businesses downtown? For what reason is there not more work being done to bring a good mix of businesses downtown and throughout the city?  Just asking…”

    Responsible for the makeup of our business downtown implies that we do not want 15 pizza place, 10 sushi places, 10 Mexican restaurants, and a bar on every corner. Restaurant by day and bar/dance club by night is what got us into the situation we are currently in. How many can we handle? How many do we want?

    I did not ask; which city department dictates what businesses we have downtown There is a difference.  For example, people in general – especially students – have often stated that we need more clothing and shoe stores downtown, such as Old Navy, Banana Republic, Victoria’s Secret (don’t blush on me now) to name a few.  In downtown San Luis Obispo some of those stores have a smaller square footage and in other cities they are larger. What about more restaurants like Osteria Fasulo and the former Cafe California (one of my favorite long gone restaurants). Some cities have people on staff that “scout” or work to bring desired businesses to their town.

    That’s what I was asking.  I hope it’s more clear.

     

    1. hpierce

      “is responsible for” vs. “dictates what”,  looked equal (and still does).  I get your ‘qualifications’.  I hope you understand my reaction.  Am familiar with SLO.  Child attended for 5 years.  Visited often.

      “How many can we handle? How many do we want?”  That will (and should) be determined by ‘market forces’.

      And who is this “we“?  Are you advocating that every business venture in the downtown be subject to a Measure J/R type vote?

      You made yourself clear, I think.  I disagree.  That being said, the planning dept has gone way out of its way to promote ANY restaurant/bar, and have pressured other city staff to compromise city “values” (public improvements, etc.) to accommodate those uses.  They labelled it “economic development”.

      ’nuff said….

    2. Miwok

      The makeup is dictated by owners who think they can make a buck by:

      Ripping off a successful idea, trying something that works elsewhere, only better, and doing something entirely new and unique. With the overheated Downtown, you need to bring the A Game, or people will not give it a try, unfortunately. Most people come from somewhere else, even if they are in a dorm now..

      The amount of people in the City who are a certain age will dictate the more trafficked areas of town, and there are some other areas NOT in downtown I am always delighted to find, have been there for years, and are packed every night. They do not, however, have sub-woofers and bars.

  23. Tia Will

    hpierce

    Tells me that you reject the notion of a market economy.  And that leads to the concept that “government” or popular vote, should be able to dictate what anyone can do, or how they can use their property.”

    You have hit upon a point that is puzzling to me. Some of our most vocal “free market” advocates when it comes to rhetoric on the Vanguard, who often imply that the role of government should be to get out of the way of private business, seem to want that same government to become involved when it comes to “attracting”  ( paving the way for with regulation changes ? ) the kinds of businesses that they would like to see. This perplexes me, and to date, although I have asked in several different conversational contexts here, have not yet heard a coherent explanation for what seems to me to be cognitive dissonance.  Any “free market” proponent want to take a stab at explaining this to me as though I were a 5 year old ?

    1. Frankly

      Just watch a UCD football game Tia.  The game is played well when there are rules and officials not trying to run the plays and dictate outcomes.

      The market works on an abundance mindset.  Some people seem to be made anxious by that (all those players running around the field in endless pattern possibilities that you cannot pre-plan nor control) and tilt toward a scarcity mindset.   They think “restrict” and “constrain” by rules so that they are made more comfortable putting things in a more linear and less dynamic mode… where they can be more assured of the outcomes.

      But just like in the natural world, the market system is much too complex to be controlled in a high granularity mode.  Each attempt to do so causes unintended consequences.  And then the scarcity people scream for yet another rule to be implemented which then again causes consequences in an unending loop of more rules and more consequences in a decline downward to a game that nobody can play.

      The city can only and should only develop a framework that supports business in town, and then business will do what business needs to do to be successful.  Sure we can draw certain lines on the field.  For example, we can draw a line that says no strip clubs.  But we cannot go too far with this and draw lines that prevent reasonable use of property and keep the business from operating successfully to provide the services desired by community members.

      You are really addressing a fundamental ideological desire here.  The US is a place that values and protects the rights of property owners.  Now, if the city would buy the property (like Mace 391), then the city could dictate to the nth-degree how that property should be used.   When others own the property, we can zone property and pass ordinances for business operational standards, but we cannot dictate use of the property beyond a low granularity of control without risking law suits to the city that would be backed by the Constitution.  A Marxist-socialist system rejects private property ownership.  That type of system might be more comforting to some… so they might want to consider moving to Venezuela.

  24. Anon

    Michelle Millet: “I’m troubled by the entire interaction with the mayor on this one. It seems like the council set up this restaurant to take the fall for an incident that they had nothing to do with. I’m not sure it was the restaurant trying to hide the ball as much as it was the mayor attempting to take a cheap shot in order to push his campaign platform. I find it troublesome when our leaders make decisions in this way and I appreciate that Robb pushed to find actual solutions rather then take the politically shiny alternative.

    What hogwash!  Don’t mean to be personal, BUT IT WAS THE APPLICANT THAT FIRST CLAIMED HIS ESTABLISHMENT WOULD BE LIKE A “CHUCKY CHEESE”.

  25. Anon

    Frankly: “This then dovetailed into a theory that I have had for some time; that Davis is missing the opportunity to pull in more well-heeled big spenders by growing our retail footprint.  Instead we end up with another pizza and burgers restaurant that turns into a night club replacing a previous restaurant that, although wasn’t very good, at least had sit down waited service.
    What is my point?

    If Davis wants to prevent the attraction of bad elements to the downtown, the City should work out some redevelopment incentives to for high-quality food service and other retail.   But the other thing the city can do is to expand our commercial property inventory so rents stabilize and there is more choice for locating different types of venues.   Then not only will we reduce the concentration of bad people coming from out of the area, but we will attract more good people that spend money here and don’t require us to spend on more law enforcement.

    I actually agree with your point!  Well said!

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