Just got off the phone with Pete Hanning, owner of Fremont's Red Door . First off, a clarification: the Red Door only serves Budweiser in>"/>
Just got off the phone with Pete Hanning, owner of Fremont's Red Door. First off, a clarification: the Red Door only serves Budweiser in bottles, not on draft, as last week's Nightlife Guide insinuated. Our bad, yo. Unruffled by this slightly inaccurate classification, Hanning -- a personal acquaintance of mine who helped ring in Luau Polynesian Lounge proprietor Tony "Nolte" Boitano's last days of bachelorhood in Portland, Ore. this past Memorial Day -- actually had a more urgent reason for calling: Last night was what Hanning deems the last of the Nickels' administration's meetings with the Nightlife Task Force -- of which Hanning is a member -- before the mayor's office presents its revised nightlife ordinance to the City Council for consideration.
While Team Nickels has made some concessions to the industry in terms of what clubs must do to prevent illicit behavior on or near their premises, Hanning is still upset by the mayor's office hesitance to get behind a Peter Steinbrueck budget proposal to fund the addition of 250 more cops to the city's force, something Hanning says his Task Force has asked for "consistently." He also has beef with the city's desire to harshly penalize (versus politely warn) club owners whose establishments temporarily exceed capacity.
"For the last year, they have never once talked about being over occupancy as being an issue. Now you read the new ordinance, and violence and occupancy are the two [main] things," says Hanning. "Those can trigger immediate suspension of your license. If Tony [Boitano]'s got a big night going on at the Luau and he's over capacity and the neighbors are complaining, and the JAT (Joint Assessment Team) comes or a cop comes -- all of the sudden you've got this offense. Obviously, occupancy is something to be concerned with, but there's nothing in here at all about police presence in these entertainment districts."
Adds Hanning: "I really have empathy from the neighbors, but what they're mostly upset about is lack of response from police. All you need to clear kids off the street is have 5-0 roll up, and they'll go away. But I'm definitely not going to send staff into the streets; I'm only going to police my own property. It's a 2-way street, and the city also needs to be held responsible for their part."