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Archive for Saturday, June 3, 2006

City weighing options for dealing with rowdiness, violence at bars

Cameras, ban lists among possibilities

June 3, 2006

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The city has significant ammunition to battle growing concerns about violence and crime surrounding the city's nightlife scene, according to a new City Hall report released Friday.

The city has the legal authority to create licensing requirements for nightclubs, and the police could begin using more closed-circuit television cameras to monitor activities around bars and nightclubs, according to the report that city commissioners are scheduled to review at their Tuesday meeting.

"It is good to know that we have some options," Mayor Mike Amyx said. "We want everybody to feel safe and secure in any area of town. We definitely have seen some things happen that have concerned everybody."

In mid-May, seven shots were fired inside the Last Call, 729 N.H., sending 200 people fleeing into the street, though no one was injured. In February, two men were shot - one fatally - outside the Granada, 1020 Mass., following a concert at the nightclub. And throughout the year, police have been finding numerous guns in vehicles parked near downtown nightclubs.

Some nightclub owners on Friday said they were willing to listen to the city's ideas, even though they may increase regulation and cost.

Police keep a heavy watch over Massachussetts Street around bar closing time.  Last week, a patron offered a handshake to an officer on the sidewalk outside "It's Brothers Bar and Grill," 1105 Massachussetts Street.

Police keep a heavy watch over Massachussetts Street around bar closing time. Last week, a patron offered a handshake to an officer on the sidewalk outside "It's Brothers Bar and Grill," 1105 Massachussetts Street.

"I don't have a problem with what I've heard," said Dennis Steffes, owner of Last Call. "I think a lot of it is already being done. But we have to listen.

"The bottom line is that with the things that have started to happen in this town, we only have two choices: We let them win or we show them who is running these places. Make no mistake about it, I intend to be the person running this place, not the criminal element or the hooligans."

Four examples

The report, prepared by staff attorney Scott Miller, spelled out four major options that other communities have used to deal with similar issues. They are:

¢ Creation of an entertainment club license. All nightclubs that serve liquor already must be licensed by the state. But cities have the ability to make entertainment establishments obtain an additional license.

Olathe has a system that requires entertainment clubs - whether they serve alcohol or not - to have a city license if they have an occupancy rating of more than 350 people. The ordinance exempts full-service restaurants, movie theaters and several other establishments. It mainly defines an entertainment club as a business that hosts bands or disc jockeys or has a dancing area.

Miller said the new licensing provision could be useful because the city has no legal authority to revoke a bar's state-issued liquor license. Only the state can do that, although the city can request that the state do so.

The city could revoke an entertainment license if a business were found to be a place of frequent criminal activity or if the business did not meet certain security requirements.

¢ A city-run program to license and train nightclub bouncers, doormen and other security personnel. The program would require training on how to handle numerous situations. Generally, nightclubs would pay a fee to the city for the training and licenses.

¢ Closed-circuit television cameras in city parking lots and on street lamps and other public property. The cameras would allow police headquarters to view real-time video of activity outside bars and along downtown streets.

¢ A "bar-watch" program similar to neighborhood watch programs where bars and nightclubs band together and share information about problem patrons. Most bar-watch programs - which have been used in Canada and Great Britain - have rules that ban any patron who has been thrown out of one bar from entering other bars in the program. The city couldn't force participation in a bar-watch program; bars and nightclubs would decide whether they wanted to join.

More opinions

LaTonia Coleman, the widow of the man shot and killed outside the Granada, said she was pleased that the city was looking at options. But she said she was disappointed that the report seemed to be coming on the heels of the shots being fired at Last Call.

"It is definitely inspiring for me to hear that they're looking at this," Coleman said. "It is just bad that it had to take another incident. It is just by the grace of God that no one got hurt."

Jerry Neverve, owner of the Red Lyon Tavern, 944 Mass., said he was open to the city creating regulations, but he's not sure they would change much.

"I think when things happen, bars and clubs are reacting," Neverve said. "This is their livelihood. No one wants to have something happen that is going to cause that to be taken away."

Steffes said he hoped that the city would recognize differences between large clubs like his and smaller bars that can hold only a few dozen people at a time. He said he doubted smaller bars would be able to afford what his club has done to improve security.

Following the gunshots, Steffes installed a metal detector at a cost of about $5,000. On Saturday nights he also employs three teams of security personnel - an inside crew, an undercover crew and an outside team of licensed security professionals who are armed. He also has increased the number of video cameras that monitor activity inside and outside the club.

"The message we're sending people now is basically, 'Just give us a reason to throw you out,'" Steffes said.

City commissioners on Friday did not discuss what size establishments any new regulations might cover, but Amyx said he thought any new requirements should be citywide, not just for the downtown.

Comments

Sigmund 8 years, 4 months ago

"...the police could begin using more closed-circuit television cameras to monitor activities around bars and nightclubs, according to the report that city commissioners are scheduled to review at their Tuesday meeting."

Well that sounds lots of fun! How very "progressive" and retro-facist all at the same time. These bozo's have to got to go if you want a shred of personal freedom and liberty left in Lawrence.

Wait a minute, he said "more" closed-circuit television cameras. Silly me I didn't realise there were any.

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lunacydetector 8 years, 4 months ago

i have a progressive thought....what about a small army of armed men in brownshirts with nightsticks and metal detectors goosestepping their way around mass and the downtown? they could police the illegal cigarette smoking in any establishments, go after the hooligans outside the hip-hop venues, have radio interception trucks to catch the illegal cell phone drivers, and there could be gigantic murals kind of saddam-like of our feerless leaders plastered on some of the larger buildings downtown AND instead of the typical art pieces seen downtown (the little midgets, gigantic phallic symbol in watson park etc.) artists could make busts or lifesize statues of our commissioners. the taxpayers could subsidize everything, since we do anyway. the three amigos could even have a special spot for their statues on 6th & vermont. they could be standing on a VERY short lifelike road to symbolize their thoughts on the road to nowhere. the new library facade could have a late 1930's flavor to it, with gigantic pillars and maybe even an eagle emblazoned on the roof over its entrance.

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pundit 8 years, 4 months ago

.....jerk the liquor license like they did the disco at 9th & Mississipi some years ago..... What's the problem with that?

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cowboy 8 years, 4 months ago

its all those non smokers out in the bars now that so violent , we didn;t have this problem when everyone was smoking.

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hipper_than_hip 8 years, 4 months ago

Shut up about the smoking ban already! It's been over a year since it went into effect; why are you still crying about it?

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years, 4 months ago

If none of these measures are taken, all of the pi**ing and moaning posters here will be complaining about a do-nothing commission.

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Kelly Powell 8 years, 4 months ago

Shut up bozo......All you do is try to stir Sh!t up, it does not matter what the issue is, as long as you can get into a fight(a nice,safe fight where you cannot get hurt). People are complaining because things are getting silly fast.....The constant bans on things you can legally purchase has primed the pump...and now yet another fairly weak solution to a problem that punishes ALL establishments for the actions of a few has people angry.........Some people are beginning to feel that for such a historically liberal town, the city comish is starting to put a stranglehold on peoples person liberty. Argue all you want.....say something sarcastic and caustic and defend whoever is your buddy in the comission, cause I'm going fishing and won't be here to listen to your poop.

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years, 4 months ago

"Shut up bozo"

That's not very nice. Didn't you learn anything in your 12 years of elementary school?

"......All you do is try to stir Sh!t up, "

And I thank you for providing so much raw material for the stirring.

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monkeyhawk 8 years, 4 months ago

Gee, bozo, all this time I thought I was the only one who felt you were full of it.

Some may have noted that I was absent from this board for a very long time. I offer you my personal thanks for forcing me to "come out" of the closet. You, and of course, your mate merrill.

We are fed up. Even the thin base that previously supported your progressive buddies is shredding. I forgive those who voted them. Who had time to do the research necessary to see what they were all about? I suppose now it is becoming woefully apparent what progressive really means.

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Kelly Powell 8 years, 4 months ago

More worthless words from somebody who is afraid to allow their real name to be shown.....And nice insults, when in doubt throw out the insults.....Next you will cleverly change my moniker..."rednekpoophead" or some such genius level use of words....how about we go have a drink somewhere and let us have a discussion face to face....I'm not implying any kind of threat.....I just want someone to look me in the eyes when they insult me...As for "shut up", you are right....How about "please be quiet for once bozo." is that better? my buddy is here...got to go.

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years, 4 months ago

So, monkeyhawk, if this a purely another evil "progressive" initiative, can you explain why the only commissioner quoted in this article was Mayor Amyx, and otherwise all the quotes were from bar owners who appear to be somewhat in favor of the measures mentioned?

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years, 4 months ago

You're the only one doing the hinting, monkeyhawk.

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formerlyKS 8 years, 4 months ago

Based on some recent run-ins at bars, probably the Olathe contingent needs to be excluded from bars as well. Olathe has always been known as the trashy part of Johnson county, and it seems like it has gotten worse by the year.

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Sigmund 8 years, 4 months ago

MacHeath- Don't forget to wear your tin foil hat.

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Godot 8 years, 4 months ago

Halliburton could solve this problem.

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geekin_topekan 8 years, 4 months ago

Fat boy with the earrings and the fake badge could find work for sure. Im going fishing too.I'll be on the waka down south of 31st and Haskell.

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Jamesaust 8 years, 4 months ago

"The city could revoke an entertainment license if a business were found to be a place of frequent criminal activity or if the business did not meet certain security requirements" says a report to the City by staff attorney Scott Miller.

Well, duh! I'm pleased that we've now discovered the number of times this has to be pointed out before it is 'discovered.'

Set clear standards, measure achievement, let the establishments take whatever private action necessary 'to pass,' and then close the failures.

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Christine Pennewell Davis 8 years, 4 months ago

so let me get this right, no one can agree on anything and now we just call each other names for the heck of it. Well we should at least agree to disagree.

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Pro_Lawrence 8 years, 4 months ago

As a supporter of the city commission I thank them for these bans are for the safety of the people. I want a ban the comment section after these article but I'm not going to do anything about it.

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Christine Pennewell Davis 8 years, 4 months ago

Well no matter what this city needs to get ahead of the problem and not just wait until it is truley to late and people are getting shot every night. The city could not handle all the law suits that would follow.

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ForThePeople 8 years, 4 months ago

Pro_Lawrence.....I hear ya and I'm all for banning some of these folks posting useless drivel and outright lies!

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years, 4 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

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fletch 8 years, 4 months ago

Or you can just close Last Call. Seems like the cheaper option. :)

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years, 4 months ago

I don't remember what I said in the post removed above, but I do know that if the "standard" were applied equally, there would only be a handful of posts remaining on this thread.

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KsTwister 8 years, 4 months ago

Another Stupid tax for the city coffers and the effect will be little if any......but the money is good,right. I think the best thing to happen would be to get a real media source who would do some extensive Q&A on all business owners across the whole city. If you are going to make it an issue then at least be real about it. Welcome to Stupid Lawrence Kansas.

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jayhawks71 8 years, 4 months ago

Informed, change your name, fraud is a crime.

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Nikki May 8 years, 4 months ago

Hey, I want to ban books, and burn down houses if you get caught with them. And, don't allow exchange of body fluid, and since we can't do that, we will get to have children "hatched" and only allowed into society when they have been programmed and become adults.

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pooter 8 years, 4 months ago

they need to lower the drinking age already.

if people are going to act like juveniles in bars they might as well be juveniles.

and what's with keeping guns out?

to be fair, lets just arm all the patrons.

*

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Godot 8 years, 4 months ago

Bozo wrote: "I don't remember what I said in the post removed above, but I do know that if the "standard" were applied equally, there would only be a handful of posts remaining on this thread."

Calm down, Bozo, they did it to protect you from yourself.

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