Archive for Thursday, September 6, 2007

City wants Last Call’s license denied

Weapons violations, other safety concerns cited

September 6, 2007


Last Call could lose license

Lawrence city leaders took the first step to have the license of a controversial downtown nightclub revoked. Enlarge video

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What do you think the City Commission should do, if anything, about problem bars?

Make bars close earlier or have mandatory metal detectors.

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The battle stage is set.

Lawrence city leaders Wednesday took the first steps to officially ask state regulators to not renew the license of the controversial downtown nightclub Last Call.

Mayor Sue Hack sent a letter to the state's Alcoholic Beverage Control unit requesting a hearing be held to determine whether the license of Last Call, 729 N.H., should be renewed in November, when its one-year liquor license is set to expire.

The request comes one day after City Manager David Corliss and Hack met with Tom Groneman, director of the ABC.

"Our communications with the department indicated to us that this would be helpful," Corliss said. "We're hopeful that it will be."

Corliss said the city would object to the renewal of the club's state liquor license on the grounds that the establishment was creating serious safety concerns. In May 2006, seven shots were fired inside the downtown club, sending hundreds fleeing into the street. Police leaders also have reported 21 weapons violations in downtown from June 2005 to June 2007. Many of those violations have occurred in parking lots near Last Call.

Last Call's owner, Dennis Steffes, when reached Wednesday, said if the city was looking for a battle, he would give it to them.

"If they think I'm going to roll over and play dead, they're wrong," Steffes said.

Steffes said city leaders are trying to punish him for activities that have happened outside his club. He said security at his club - which frequently has hip-hop music nights - is extremely strict.

Instead, Steffes said he thinks the city has it out for him because Steffes was the most vocal critic of the city's smoking ban. He filed several lawsuits challenging the smoking ban, which ultimately was upheld by the Kansas Supreme Court. Steffes also said he thought the hip-hop music the club sometimes plays was a factor in the city's response.

"We're not the problem," Steffes said of his club. "The city has so many other problems to be worrying about. I'm just being picked on for reasons that are painfully obvious."

When asked to elaborate, Steffes said "it is the smoking thing and there are some racial overtones here."

Attempts to reach Hack were unsuccessful Wednesday, but the city has previously denied allegations that it is out to get Steffes.

Instead, city leaders have said that ensuring that residents and visitors feel safe in downtown and other parts of the community is paramount. City officials have expressed disappointment that Steffes has not taken a more active role in addressing gun activity and other problems adjacent to his property.

No date for the hearing has been set, Groneman, the ABC director, said. Groneman said he could not comment on the specifics of the Last Call hearing because he likely will serve as hearing officer in the matter.

But Groneman did say that he thinks the hearings can be a good opportunity for cities and bar owners to sit down and discuss problems and possible solutions. He said he had conducted three to four hearings at the request of other cities during his four-year tenure as director of the ABC.


oldgoof 10 years, 9 months ago

my Philadelphia, you have to look out for the mob. I guess in Lawrence, you have to fear Compton and the subcontractors. ha.

Bill Chapman 10 years, 9 months ago

When a bar/ club shuts down for the night, there should be no need to have 5+ police cars parked on the street to prevent fights from occurring. If going to a bar/ club and "partying" all night means after the bar closes, that I'm supposed to get into a fight and get arrested then I guess I would go to Last Call. I have seen patrons of Last Call getting into arguments and fights with police when the bar closes. I have also noticed that many of the patrons come from the KC or Topeka areas( I love license plates with the county issued). I'm just waiting for the day when a gang fight breaks out and people start getting killed. The problems with that happening (other than gang members shooting each other) is that this is a college town and there will be college kids in the line of fire. I don't favor anyone getting shot, but if a group(s) of people want to shoot at each other, why don't they pick a nice empty parking lot to go shoot each other? That way they avoid hitting any innocent bystanders.

Richard Heckler 10 years, 9 months ago

Dennis Steffes you are making things up. The city has tried to pretend this was not going on in your favor. The city has been far too slow in taking this action and the citizen/taxpayers are not happy. Last Call is creating problems for other bar owners so it's time for Last Call to shut down. Activities that have been taking place at a cost to taxpayers was not on record until your club opened up. These matters are exclusive to your club not the music. The smoking ban has nothing to do with gun shots and brawls. One more time Mr. Steffes it is the citizens who want your club to be gone. Some of us wrote to the Alcoholic Beverage Control requesting this action due to the irresponsible approach of the city commission. You Mr. Steffes brought this on yourself due to your own irresponsible behavior as a bar owner.

  • There are stipulations attached to a license at the time of application. Violation of stipulations constitutes revocation. I would speculate the city has a case. Too bad this action required so much citizen demand/pressure to make it happen. It is irresponsible for city lawmakers not to have proceeded with this action long ago:.sometimes friendships need to be pushed aside.

  • How many tens of thousands of additional LPD & Sherriff tax dollars has this location cost the taxpayer?

*A bar and its' owner with consistent negative history such as this one deserves special attention. Don't want to wait until a bullet goes through the window at Hobbs-Taylor,Borders,Sandbar or at a home on Rhode Island.

  • There is a North Lawrence bar that has received many complaints from nearby neighbors over the years including gun activity that also should not be overlooked.

  • Should this practice apply to all bars/clubs with such history:.absolutely.

  • Bar owners should be asked to call law enforcement to deal with very rowdy customers rather than just dumping them out onto the streets to create further havoc or maybe kill innocent bystanders.

  • It's time for Last Call to hit the road.

  • The Bottleneck and the Sandbar do not have this history as far as I know so no reason for them to go.

*A resident of Hobbs-Taylor once shared with me that her daughter frequents The Bottleneck so Mom and Dad are close by if that is where she needs to go. The residents did not speak of The Bottleneck as a problem:. the parents probably danced the night away a few times.

  • The Granada incidents and most importantly Last Call are creating problems for all bars which are not warranted. Seems to me there should be plenty of laws on the books to deal with problem night spots after 50 years or more. The city and the county should take a hard line on Last Call type activity. Other bars should not pay an additional price of more laws and special fees due to irresponsibility of city lawmakers.

News_to_me 10 years, 9 months ago

Mr. Steffes, no need to roll over and die. That's the concern about your bar-people dying. Perhaps moving your establishment to Topeka or Kansas City, where a good share of your patrons apparently come from, would allow you to increase your business. Go to where your customers are. No need to import them. A question for you. When your daughter grows up, is your bar the type of place you would want here to frequent?

bmwjhawk 10 years, 9 months ago

Apparently, the people in the picture are raving, if you wondered.

justsomewench 10 years, 9 months ago

brilliant, dennis. if your over-inflated ego really believes that the big bad city commission is out to get you because you challenged a smoking ban, issing off the entire tax paying population of lawrence by throwing a legal tantrum and wasting our hard-earned tax dollars on a lawsuit that's only for your own financial benefit is a fantastic idea.

seriously, dennis. therapy: try it.

stuckinthemiddle 10 years, 9 months ago

There are always consequences for actions... reactions for every action... unforeseen... uncontrollable...

chuggy23 10 years, 9 months ago

it is about time the city wakes up and does something with this bar. the city of lawrence is really, for the most part, peaceful when it comes to the nightlife. the city and taxpayers should stand up against the type of activities that have been documented because of this bar.

Ragingbear 10 years, 9 months ago

The kids in the picture look baked out of their gourd.

doc1 10 years, 9 months ago

Is it just me or is it odd that the city sort of shuts down after the last call closes. Stores like the qwik trip, who say they never, close. At least until the Lase Call crowd leaves town. Most of the gas stations do this just to avoid the last call crowds from looting.

stuckinthemiddle 10 years, 9 months ago

any Good points... and I'm guessing that if there were a shake down of all the vehicles in parking lots surrounding KU's Memorial Stadium on any given game day it would turn up more than 21 weapons...

fascinating_person 10 years, 9 months ago

right... the city is bitter about those lawsuits that they prevailed in and they want to punish steffes for humiliating himself. clearly, Last Call is just as safe and friendly as any other bar in lawrence. unless you consider the guns and the looting of convenience stores associated with Last Call, it's as harmless as coldstone creamery.

ukillaJJ 10 years, 9 months ago

I haven't seen the stats, but I'm sure that Last Call and it's patrons has contributed a good amount to this city's violent crimes, and if Last Call's security doesn't handle the problem, then the city of Lawrence must. Clearly the city has tried, as shown by the sheer amount of patrol cars cruising between 7th and 8th on New Hampshire, so now it's time to "shut 'er down". You can't keep people from being stupid, but you can keep people proven to be/act stupid from having alcohol/entertainment licenses.

any 10 years, 9 months ago

As I've never been to Last Call I'm not one to comment on what goes on there. I would like to comment on "Police leaders also have reported 21 weapons violations in downtown from June 2005 to June 2007. Many of those violations have occurred in parking lots near Last Call." So does this mean if weapons violations of others occur in parking lots near my house I am the one responsible for the guns? There are 2 issues here: Guns that are in violation, and unruly behavior. If the alleged behavior is the reason for revoking the liquor license, fine. But to say someone is responsible for gun violations that happen on city property simply because it is close to my property, please. I guess if that is the case then we need to go find everyone that has some sort of gun violation and kick all the neighbors out for not doing anything about it. Sounds like we can start with the Hobbs-Taylor Lofts. Yes, I am trying to sound ludicrous on purpose, but so is trying to blame a nearby property owner for violations happening on city property. Where does it stop? Are private citizens then going to be responsible for speeding, jaywalking, and every other breakage of the law that occurs within a 100 yard radius from them? Stick with the behavior that happens on the premise to revoke any license; you'll have better luck.

thomgreen 10 years, 9 months ago

I can't believe that I am about to come off as defending Dennis Steffes. Believe me, I am not. My personal feelings aside for Mr. Steffes, I believe the city might be taking a misstep here. Do I think something needs to be done about Last Call?, Yes! But I think the city might be putting the cart in front of the horse. I am not totally familiar with all the actions that the city has taken against Last Call up to this point, but so far, it doesn't seem like they have done anything "official" against Last Call or Mr. Steffes. Shouldn't there be some sort of process that the city should follow when trying to close an establishment? How many citations has ABC issued to Last Call? Is it any higher than other bars in town? It seems like the city should show that they've followed as many avenues as possible with the establishment before they ask for it's license to be revoked. Right now, perception wise, it looks like the move is rather arbitrary. I'm all for closing Last Call down, and it's taken a huge struggle to somewhat defend the place. But I think if you're going to take such a drastic move against an establishment, they should know it's coming.

Bladerunner 10 years, 9 months ago

"Any" says...

So does this mean if weapons violations of others occur in parking lots near my house I am the one responsible for the guns?

If you are doing something to attract all those people with guns.....Then yes....You should be responsible. It's high time the city attacked the root of the problem. And the obviously "root" is Last Call. Why do all those people feel a need to bring a gun when they go to Last Call? There's obviously a problem there. I find it very interesting that "Any" has the only post so far not in support of this action.

Last Call for Last Call

alm77 10 years, 9 months ago

About that picture: Their parents must be so proud.

Thom: You have a point. Has the city made any efforts to work with Mr. Steffes? There are none cited in this article. Revoking the license does seem to be a strong arm tactic. But on the other hand, it is straight to the point and will resolve the problem rather quickly.

OldEnuf2BYurDad 10 years, 9 months ago

"So does this mean if weapons violations of others occur in parking lots near my house I am the one responsible for the guns?"

You act as if it's a huge leap of logic to draw a connection between Last Call and the crime taking place in front of Last Call.

When these people are arrested, they are asked standard questions like "What are you doing in downtown Lawrence at 2:00 a.m.?" or "Where were you when the argument that led to the fight first broke out?" If the answer is consistently "I was kickin' it at Last Call", then Last Call IS the problem.

Josh in the photo looks like he's had more than just a Keystone Light, don't you think?

ontheotherhand 10 years, 9 months ago

I know what you mean, thom. I would hope that the Commission's complaint goes beyond "weapons violations in the parking lots near Last Call."

Of course, I am still trying to figure out why Hobbs-Taylor was built so close to downtown and did the residents REALLY think it was going to be quiet on that side of town? I know that downtown Lawrence is not the same as Aggieville in Manhattan (although the corner where Last Call is located certainly mirrors it), but at least the people who rent apartments in Aggieville are told straight up: "It's noisy at night. If you do not like noise, then don't live in Aggieville."

sharron5rs 10 years, 9 months ago

So they close down Last Call. Now where are the patrons of this bar going to go? They like coming to Lawrence, they will continue comming to Lawrence. When they go to your bar, what are you going to say when the city wants to close yours down because these persons are now with you? If Mr Steffes has tried to do everything he can to insure that the guns and things are kept out of his bar, what is he supposed to do? Ask to check their cars too? Crazy! You cannot be responsible for what people do when they leave your establishment,and are on public property, or what they have in their cars. I have never been to Last Call nor do I want to. But I dont understand how you can hold someone responsible for someone else that is NOT ON YOUR PROPERTY!. Can someone PLEASE EXPLAIN?!?

CentennialNeighbor 10 years, 9 months ago

Well, well - Logr-imbicile strikes again. This is the same 'logic' that's routinely applied to property owners in single-family neighborhoods who decide to convert the home into a rental, and scream when they're held responsible for violations to the land-use (not to mention all the other ordinances involving noise, trash, yard parking, etc.).

OWNERS of things - whether it's an animal, a car, a business or a rental - are held responsible for it's use (or conduct), log, so get over it and stop the bleeding heart crap for Steffes.

Bubbles 10 years, 9 months ago

As usual liberals inject race into an issue that is solely a behavior problem and not skin color. Why don't you guys evolve a little. ???????????

"involving about fifteen guys (white guys from the Sandbar, I might add) "

"Blacks cannot have a bar so close to the Taylor Hobbs eyesore"

Dominic_Sova 10 years, 9 months ago

I don't think it's rascist to want that crowd gone. I don't care what color they are, they are living a lifestyle that obviously doesn't mesh well with this town. It's not about color, it's about guns going off downtown, and convenience stores getting looted by crowds of people on their way back home.

In my opinion, accusing the detractors of racism reinforces that stereotype more than the (apparently quite common and) rational concern over this establishment's clientele.

ilovelucy 10 years, 9 months ago

Log: The condo's in Hobbs Taylor have been SOLD OUT for the last two months. There is only one retail space left to let. Instead of spouting off about developers who you so clearly hate, why don't you check the facts first? As for Mr. Steffes, he has never made an attempt to work with other venue owners but just marched to his own warped and egotistical beat. It is time for him to leave!

Bubbles 10 years, 9 months ago

You got me bubbles:I'm a white guy who is prejudiced against white guys!

Damn white guys. ???????????????????

And you are a liberal using the color of skin to make your limp point. Thats what liberals have done for 50 years, divided cultures for their own sick power struggle to be noticed.

stuckinthemiddle 10 years, 9 months ago

Mr_Ramirez seems to think that football fans don't carry guns in their cars... under their seats... in their glove boxes...

Is anyone else here that naive?

snazzo 10 years, 9 months ago

I just love going to the Bottleneck for a show, and having to walk through 5 security officers just to get from the parking lot to the venue. Makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside - like passing through a 50 ft warp-zone of inner-city.

Bubbles 10 years, 9 months ago

You are divisive poster pitting blacks and whites against one another, just like your liberal pals have done for years.

I understand why people like Al sharpton does it. He is looking for a payday. What's your angle?

This is an urban renewal area. You've heard of that? The city is trying to be a good landlord and is attempting to clean up the neighborhood. There are families with nice homes in the area now that do not want stray bullets flying through their windows at all hours of the night or loud drunks fighting at their door steps.

What do you have against urban renewal that you will use race as a tactic?

Joe Hyde 10 years, 9 months ago

I doubt that racism or a wish to punish Mr. Steffes have anything to do with the Commission's desire to close Last Call. Instead, it's all those guns that the bar's patrons keep bringing to the downtown area!

When AK-47s, other assault-type rifles and various mid-to-large caliber handguns habitually arrive in vehicles driven by this bar's patrons -- weapons that often get left lying in plain view inside parked vehicles -- the necessary tools are in place for an outbreak of public slaughter.

More than any other musical form I can think of, hip-hop and rap are about expressing anger, rage, hate, displaying a "gangsta" attitude. Many fans of such music go to venues where it is being played, and walk in the door already flush with an angry attitude. And that's fine, I suppose; I'm all for artistic freedom, and I'm all for Lawrence being a city where all kinds of music can be enjoyed. But whether it's Last Call or any other venue, once those guns show up it's time to close 'em down.

Maybe a compromise can be worked out. A new location might be found not within the city limits but relatively near Lawrence -- say, no closer than 500 yards to the city limits. Let a nightclub be built there, one that caters exclusively to rap and hip-hop music (or whatever new music forms augment or eventually replace rap and hip-hop in the Anger/Hate Department). Set up the licensing regulations and the metal detection screening system so that firearms may be brought onto a controlled parking lot, and even carried inside the bar. But...the only weapon allowed is a sawed-off shotgun (19-inch barrels, please). That way, after a few too many drinks, insults, whatever, the anger-filled patrons can act out their aggressions, resulting in a much-needed "thinning of the herd". If gunfights take place in the parking lot, the use of short-range shotguns would eliminate the threat to non-patrons located downrange of the firefight.

We should let these folks enjoy hating, fighting and shooting complete with a hip-hop sound track. Just give 'em a proper site, a safer location, to indulge themselves. Downtown Lawrence just isn't a good fit. Really, anyplace inside our city limits is bad, because if these music patrons flash their guns inappropriately they could end up getting shot by a policeman. What fun is that?

jennifermarti 10 years, 9 months ago


I totally agree about the "homeless" shelters in this town. Not only does the city do nothing about all the problems the patrons of those great eastablishments cause, but they invite more to come to town. Please come destroy downtown and beg money off anyone that will listen (not exlcuding children) and while your at it feel free to take a nap (or pass out) on our streets. Don't worry no one will disturb you especially the police! But they are obessed with closing down this bar. Yes it's a problem, but is the city going to step in and eliminate every place that is a problem. If that's the case I wish they would start with the bums then worry about Dennis.

Haiku_Cuckoo 10 years, 9 months ago

Bottom line - this is racism.

First of all, Steffes is white, as are the ravers in the accompanying photo. For you to insinuate that Last Call is a black club and that the shooting and gun violations around the club are committed exclusively by people of color is racist in itself. Shame on you!

ImpactWinter 10 years, 9 months ago

where did we liberals become intimately associated with racism? I must have missed that flyer...

In Kansas, Bar owners are responsible -to an extent- for their patrons behavior. A Bar can lose its license because they serve the underage, that seems obvious, or if they are sending a lot of drunks onto the roads at closing time.

The argument that the bar isn't responsible for altercations on its grounds is the same as saying its underagers responsibility not to drink.

If a location (any location) is known to propagate violence and rowdy behavior, that's reason enough to re-evaluate its license, thats the reason it must be done every year.

Make no mistake folks, the extra security inside LC is a nice addition, but you have to wonder why it only exists at Last Call... its just not necessary anywhere else I go for a drunk, and if the police, whose job it is to track locations and persons who contribute to violence say that the bar is a trouble-spot, I think its a little dumb to argue against both them and the volume of evidence against it.

This isn't about color; nothing besides some jackass-poster's vague insinuations ever suggested such.

We party with all colors downtown, some colors people don't even naturally come in, and its cool; We all have a good time, and there is little trouble to be found...

except at Last Call that's a case for causality if I ever saw one.

ilovelucy 10 years, 9 months ago

Log: it has been awhile, hasn't it? Hope you're doing well too. I've talked with quite a few of the residents of the Lofts. The Bottleneck is not the problem. In fact, I can attest that some owners actually enjoy some of the bands that perform there. The Bottleneck management works hard to maintain a good relationship with the other area businesses and lofts. I'm not burying my head in the sand as far as the commission is concerned. In fact, I've been extremely worried that if Corliss and the commission get their way, they will end up punishing many many responsible venue owners for one bad seed's unwillingness to WORK with others.
The thought of the commission or City Manager being able to close down establishments whenever they please just severly turns my stomach, and that is what they will try to do if they can't get Last Call under control. We'll lose even more revenue if the City invokes "staggered" closing times, forced security or additional licensing fees. Take care. It's good to have another discussion with you.

Bud Stagg 10 years, 9 months ago

Off to the right: So using your logic, if a factory is dumping pollution into the river it's the city's problem? That is what this problem is, a pollution problem. The Last Call is attracting and encouraging pollution to our city.

Using the logic everyone has displayed here, why don't we have strip clubs downtown? They don't hurt anyone either.

ilovelucy 10 years, 9 months ago

Scene: I'd be interested in who you have heard this "word" from. Can you back up your "words?" IF more lofts are built, it won't be by the builders of HT.

MyName 10 years, 9 months ago

Cool, YOU have no right to tell an owner of an establishment to 'move on'. Maybe we all want you to 'move on':.

Actually, the first amendment guarantees the right to say whatever you want about that establishment.

I don't know if you can blame the owner for what his patrons decide to do after they leave the bar, but considering the kind of problems they've been causing, I think the city has a legitimate complaint. It may be the city's responsibility to keep order, but if a single establishment is taking up more than its share of the city's time and resources then perhaps there is something wrong with the establishment and it should be shut down. I just hope that the same rowdy people don't decide to just go to a different bar and pull the same stuff.

Steffe is a legitimate businessman but safety concerns and cost to the city and other businesses need to be weighed against his desire to have a business that caters to rowdy people.

any 10 years, 9 months ago

Joehawk, so with your example the factory is actually doing the dumping. Is Last Call handing out guns to people when they leave? They are not doing the polluting; this isn't an accurate comparison. I'd like to hope that individuals are still responsible for their own actions. If people are bringing guns without the proper permits they are in violation of the law prior to getting to Last Call. I would hate to see it stated that anyone that shows up to Last Call is pollution simply because they choose to go there. Sounds like a generalization to me. Someone said it earlier regarding businesses, the same applies to people. It isn't all patrons that are problematic at any establishment in town. Best to keep that in mind.

Tell me this. Does anyone know with the state concealed gun law, if someone does have a permit for that, when they go to a location that does not allow guns, are they allowed to store guns in their vehicle? Does the law state any protection, such as a trigger lock, needs to be on the gun if stored in a vehicle?

quigley 10 years, 9 months ago

Excuse me scenebooster, but I have lived in both Lawrence and Overland park. I think that Lawrence is a great place with great people. Don't get on here and tell us that shutting down a place that is dangerous to everyone who comes in contact with it is going to ruin the town. Maybe what your saying is that Overland Park is a place where you and your family can live in less fear of being mugged or shot at, well then, call me guilty for wanting to be there.

XTC 10 years, 9 months ago

About a year ago I read in the J/World that Abe and Jakes had more police calls than any other bar in town. Does anyone remember this article? It also said the City was the landlord for the property. Does this make the citizens of Lawrence responsible for the actions of all who go to Abe and Jakes?

Haiku_Cuckoo 10 years, 9 months ago

Just ban all dark skinned people from coming into lawrence, that should take care of the problem, right?

It's not a race issue. It seems to me that the "dark skinned people", as you call them, eat and drink at other Lawrence bars and restaurants every day. If it truly is a race issue then why aren't other bars that do business with African Americans taking heat as well? Unless, of course, you're implying that the weapons violations that occurred around Last Call were committed exclusively by African Americans. It would be racist for you to make such an assumption however. I don't think any mention of race was published regarding those offenders; they may have been white, Chinese or Middle Eastern...we don't know. This is a crime issue, not a race issue.

fletch 10 years, 9 months ago

While I personally think Steffes is scum, I will admit that things at Last Call have been marginally improving. The metal detectors and extra security have stopped guns from going inside, but now they're just in the cars outside instead. I can't blame Steffes for the culture of guns and violence that seems to permeate the social faction that calls Last Call home (and no, I'm not saying Black people, I'm saying they multi-ethnic group that listens to that form of hip-hop and dance music). I can blame him for luring them to one spot and letting them shoot up the place before he finally thought to install some metal detectors, but that's in the past. I'd rather the city moved to a system of punishments for bars that works on a sliding scale involving earlier closing hours, probation periods, and prohibitions on live music/DJs if it gets really bad. That way the problems bars are forced to deal with the problem, and the bars that just have an occasional drunk scuffle won't get a disproportionate punishment.

Haiku_Cuckoo 10 years, 9 months ago

I see the same sh!t every saturday at the football stadium. What, because it is 3 PM it is ok? Or is it because they are white? Should we ban the football team?

That depends. Are the football fans packing Glocks and AK-47s?

Richard Heckler 10 years, 9 months ago

The place could be deemed a nuisance but that would mean the city commission would NEED to be involved on a different level. Instead they are relying on the ABC and the stipulations regarding the right to a liquor license it seems. Gun activity inside the bar may well be among those stipulations.

There may be other ABC violations none of us are aware of. The details are missing. If any of the state ABC officials live in Lawrence of course they are somewhat aware.

It seems to me the city just needs to deny renewal of the liquor license and in the meantime can ABC simply revoke the license? if violations have occured?

Trying to play the race card as a means to distract from the issue of violence will likely not work. Last Call set the pattern and Mr. Steffes has brought this on himself. A bar and its' owner with consistent negative history such as this deserve special attention. Don't want to wait until a bullet goes through the window at Hobbs-Taylor,Borders,Sandbar or at a home on Rhode Island.

jennifermarti 10 years, 9 months ago

Steps toward a solution? You are joking right? The good majority of the "bums" that everyone is talking about don't want a solution or a better life. They just want to sponge off working and tax-paying citizens. You think those guys couldn't go get a job if they wanted to-well they don't want to. As long as people keep giving them their change to spend on booze and giving them free room and board they will take advantage. Many of tose folks have been offered jobs and a better way of life and they are not interested.

snazzo 10 years, 9 months ago

scenebooster wrote: "Just 'cause you don't like it doesn't really matter."

wow... but evidently everything you have to say matters like gold raining down from heaven, since you seem to find a fault with everything anyone else has to say. I never said it did matter. In fact, I never gave an opinion one way or the other about the club, excepting the crowd I have to walk through on the very rare occasion that I actually go to the Bottleneck. Even then, who are you to say I'm not actually from a large metropolis and miss the inner-city buzz? I don't believe I even gave an opinion on that. Just b/c I've attended a few select shows at the Bottleneck in the past, this automatically makes me part of some over-the-top fan base? Lighten up. It was a comment.

MyName 10 years, 9 months ago

This is about racism and bigotry and about one's right to hear the music of one's choice. If the Taylor Hobb's crowd doesn't like it, they should sell their condos and leave. Seems to me, Last Call was there first. Same with the Bottleneck.

From what I can tell, this isn't about music but about a liquor license. People are getting drunk and causing trouble. Even if this license were revoked, the people at Last Call can play whatever music they want.

jennifermarti 10 years, 9 months ago

Yes I do look down my rich white nose at some dirty, drunk, unemployed bum that asks my two year old for his left over pizza and then curses when we don't give him anything.

Then all those beggars dowtown must be insane, because they sure do a sponge off anyone that will let them.

And my "horrible accusations" are the truth and believe me I am not the only one that feels this way.

jennifermarti 10 years, 9 months ago

herbalife4life1 You're right about the people not tolerating this. Just like you have the legal right to carry a gun Last Call has the legal right to cater to whomever they want. And if things go on in the parking lots around there I don't see how that is their fault. The police could basically put the place out of business if they wanted to. Go in make some arrests; scare some people and they will just move onto the next stop. The kind of people that hang out at Last Call don't like the cops lingering around I'm just guessing.
Although I also think I shoudl be able to go downtown with my family without being harrassed by bums begging for money. And I am not talking about harmless folks asking for change. I am talking about young men perfectly capable of working asking for money and then becoming furious when you don't give it to them and calling you names and making some big scene. I can tell you we have stopped going downtown on Friday nights for pizza, because I am so sick of things losers approaching me and my children for leftovers and money. It may sound stuck up but I don't want these people near my boys. And they are dangerous and have proven to be on more than a couple of occasions.

Haiku_Cuckoo 10 years, 9 months ago

Should the Replay Lounge be closed the next time a patron is beaten on the sidewalk in front of it? Should Louise's be closed?

If there are shootings and multiple gun violations involved... then absolutely yes!

What about the bar where the KU player was involved in serious altercation with knives I believe. Should it be closed????

Yes. In fact is IS closed.

Haiku_Cuckoo 10 years, 9 months ago

Why are you people afraid of homeless people? Seems to me life I never have problems with this "riff-raff" as you call them, and have people forgot that we are still talking about human beings here!??! What makes you so righteous as to demand that these "bums" be taken off the street:

Just take a look at what those creatures have been doing with their summer:

¢ Officers were dispatched Thursday to the 1200 block of Massachusetts Street near the small children's pool in South Park. A 25-year-old transient was arrested without incident for attacking a mother with a 1-year-old and a 4-year-old child. The woman, who had been struck in the face, did not require medical treatment.

¢ A 51-year-old transient was arrested Wednesday on a charge of aggravated sexual battery and battery when a Lawrence police officer in the 600 block of Kentucky Street observed two subjects in a physical altercation in the gazebo area of Buford M. Watson Jr. Park. The officer saw the man, who had his pants down around his thighs, restraining a 35-year-old woman. He pushed the woman away when he saw police.

  • Two transient men were arrested by Lawrence Police early Tuesday in connection to one robbery and one attempted robbery at two Lawrence Kwik Shop convenience stores. The two were arrested following the second incident.

jennifermarti 10 years, 9 months ago

THANK YOU!!! Haiku cuckoo This is just what I am talking about. And why would anyone think that these "creatures" are hurting our community? We should just sit down and have a chat with them and see what life is like being a bum and maybe see what more we could do to help them take steps towards a better life (this is a joke) Or on second thought maybe we should run them out of town and stop the new ones from migrating this direction.

jennifermarti 10 years, 9 months ago

The police that are at the Ranch are there drinking and hanging out. In case this might be news to some people many bar owners in this town would never be messed with by the city. They are the ones with the money around here and the police are not going to mess with their business.
I am telling everyone-nothing is going to come of any of this. The ABC will drag their feet and do nothing to stop Last Call. The city does not have the right to just decide who they do and do not want to give a liqour license to; it has nothing to do with city government. It's the ABC that makes that decision and nothing will be done. So don't go get your hopes up. Dennis is not going quietly and as much as the city wants that whole block torn down it's just not going to happen!

jennifermarti 10 years, 9 months ago

I don't think I need parenting classes. I do think that if you are allowing your niece and nephew to have conversations with drunk drug addicts maybe their parents should consider a new babysitter-you are not fit! Or do you allow them to hold one of your guns during these lovely conversations; if not I might suggest that for their safety.

jennifermarti 10 years, 9 months ago

offtotheright- I think you are right on this one!

I am also beginning to think that herbal4life may be a homeless guy carrying a gun sitting at a library computer-just a thought!

jennifermarti 10 years, 9 months ago

I am quite lovely -thank you for saying so! And no I don't care about human beings that don't care about themselves.

jennifermarti 10 years, 9 months ago

Okay WTC, Paris Hilton, and acid you have lost me this time. Please put down the herb and try and gather your thoughts.

Haiku_Cuckoo 10 years, 9 months ago

or be like the rest of the scared, whiny people and don't go downtown

You're right. The lady in the story below was probably some scared whiny person who brought on the attack herself by wearing running shorts that were too tight. Don't blame the homeless creature that tried to rape her, he's totally innocent. Society turned him into the animal that he is. I'm sure his lifestyle choices had absolutely nothing to do with it.

¢ A 51-year-old transient was arrested Wednesday on a charge of aggravated sexual battery and battery when a Lawrence police officer in the 600 block of Kentucky Street observed two subjects in a physical altercation in the gazebo area of Buford M. Watson Jr. Park. The officer saw the man, who had his pants down around his thighs, restraining a 35-year-old woman. He pushed the woman away when he saw police.

Richard Heckler 10 years, 9 months ago

The place could be deemed a nuisance but that would mean the city commission would NEED to be involved on a different level. Instead they are relying on the ABC and the stipulations regarding the right to a liquor license it seems. Gun activity inside the bar may well be among those stipulations.

Last Call set the pattern and Mr. Steffes has brought this on himself. When guns begin shooting in bars it is time to pay attention. When folks pour out of a bar or are thrown out and a brawl ensues its' time to pay attention. When multiple situations occur a pattern is set and it's time to pay attention. When the activity was not not present prior to the establishment of Last Call that speaks for itself. The bar owner has done nothing to make things better and the community does not need the activity...oddly enough Lawrence has been able to survive without it.

There is a bar in North Lawrence that probably should be receiving the same attention as we speak. Maybe it will happen.

jennifermarti 10 years, 9 months ago

There is a city ordinance against 4 non-related people living in a residential dwelling. Although it's joke-the city does nothing to enforce it. They passed it to keep people from renting homes to as many students that could squeeze into them.

Haiku_Cuckoo 10 years, 9 months ago

Actually targeting people b/c they are black IS racism.

Ummm...Steffes is white and so are many of Last Calls patrons.

Race has nothing to do with this.

Richard Heckler 10 years, 9 months ago

How many tens of thousands of additional LPD & Sherriff tax dollars has this location cost the taxpayer?

Haiku_Cuckoo 10 years, 9 months ago

"And no I don't care about human beings that don't care about themselves."

I think that was just what Jesus was getting at! Thanks for being so succinct.


(Proverbs 21:25) "The desire of the lazy man kills him, for his hands refuse to labor."

(Proverbs 13:4) "The soul of the lazy man desires and has nothing; but the soul of the diligent shall be made rich."

fliesinyoureyes 10 years, 9 months ago

I believe someone posted something about unforseen consequences...

If they close down Last Call, the crime aspects will simply migrate. What is peaceful now may not be in the future. This crime may very well move to your street.

Why do we think these aren't Lawrencians to begin with? Does anyone have any hard data?

ltliquor 10 years, 9 months ago

A Business Owner can control what goes on in his business. but the streets and parking lot belong to the city. The police need to be called and deal with this gun issues, this is what they have trained for. I personally do not know Mr. Steffes, but his source of revenue to the city is no less important than any other business in our city. The problems at hand are not soley Mr Steffes they are city wide problems. We need to learn to come together and combat these problems as a community, rather than point a finger at one source. I'm sure all bars have had conflicts. but that doesn't call for license revoke. License Revoke from the city is tooooooo much control.

Richard Heckler 10 years, 9 months ago

Bar owners should be asked to call law enforcement to deal with very rowdy customers rather than just dumping them out onto the streets to create further havoc or maybe kill innocent bystanders.

There are stipulations attached to a license at the time of application. Violation of stipulations constitutes revocation. Gun activity inside the bar may well be among those stipulations. I would speculate the city has a case.

Last Call is creating problems for other bar owners.

Haiku_Cuckoo 10 years, 9 months ago

Herbalife, for the love of Pete, please switch to decaf.

fletch 10 years, 9 months ago

Steffes is responsible for his clientel even when outside of Last Call. It's already an established principal in American law. If I have people over to my house and they get into a loud argument outside or a fight breaks out, I as the home owner/tenant can be fined as well as the parties involved. If I have a restaurant/bar and over-serve a customer and they get into an accident, I have legal liability for the incident. So yes, if his clientel are getting drunk and fighting or shooting gusn outside, it's his issue as well. Just because you disagree with the notion doesn't mean he doesn't have legal liability for his customer's behavior.

George_Braziller 10 years, 9 months ago

logrithmic- Wow, you've "frequented the Bottleneck many times and have walked by the line of patrons at Last Call and have never once been harassed. I spent one evening in Last Call. Again, no problem."

Honey, try coming back around 2:30 a.m. and you'll have an entirely different experience. As a neighbor I'm keeping my fingers crossed that Last Call will finally have its last call.

George_Braziller 10 years, 9 months ago

herbalife4life1 - You are 180 degrees wrong on every single point.

milkweed 10 years, 9 months ago

Require them to close at midnight. If there are still problems revoke their license.

George_Braziller 10 years, 9 months ago

Already posted it: Park Hetzell III Trust

"hawkperchedatriverfront (Anonymous) says: Who owns the Last Call building? Does Steffes or whatever his name is own it?"

local_guy 10 years, 9 months ago

i love how people who dont have a clue what they're talking about continue to post comments! i love it! how many of you frequent these places you talk so bad about? could this possibly be just a little hyped up by the media and local law enforcement? of course not! why? because you guys dont think so! 21 gun violations in 2 years in the whole downtown area? and you want to shut one place down? oh, wait, they stuck "most are from parking lots near last call" in there, so lets shut it down! hahaha some people amaze me! =)..oh, and the people involved in the shooting behind Granada came from your beloved Brother' do i know? hmm lets see, i know the people who own Granada and were interviewed by police! they're still in awe that LPD has their hearts set on blaming Granada hehe. God Bless all you idiots, and respect to those of you who have any type of clue what your talking about..i know things happen, no one is totally innocent, but lets just blame everyone possible, ok?? that'll fix everything! bring on the firing squad (cuz i know at least half of you will claim i have no idea what im talking about!) =)

Haiku_Cuckoo 10 years, 9 months ago

If they were carrying guns in their cars it wouldn't be illegal. So you would never know:.I'm a football fan and I legally carry a registered handgun in my car. Are you going to ban me now?

No. You took steps to legally own and carry the gun. Can the same be said about the guns found in and around Last Call?

Haiku_Cuckoo 10 years, 9 months ago you have the stats to support your claims or is it all speculation?

What claim did I make?

Richard Heckler 10 years, 9 months ago

Why should Lawrence citizens accept Last Call patrons terrorizing New Hampshire any time of day or night? What is the benefit?

It is a waste of law enforcement tax dollars that this street has become such a concern that citizens do not feel safe to walk about any time of the night. How does this improve the quality of life in Lawrence,Kansas?

If Mr. Steffes is truly so concerned about this segment of society it is then his responsibility to relieve downtown Lawrence of this responsibility and take this segment of society under his wing and invite them to his place of residence,move his cars from their storage space and open this space as a private party with a cover charge. Share this wonderful experience with HIS neighbors who no doubt are equally concerned. This would surely improve his quality of life which i believe is his most important concern. His wallet and ego could expand beyond belief and happily without intruding on downtown Lawrence.

local_guy 10 years, 9 months ago

umm..just to let you know, at least half the patrons of Last Call on any given weekend are your beloved Kansas football players. And, yes they do carry guns. I know this from experience, as well as having worked in several bars in Lawrence. Lets not bring them in this, they start half the fights around here! It is not illegal to posess a legally registered firearm in your vehicle, but drugs/guns or alcohol/guns get you locked up! Ask the Last Call patrons! ;)..And finally,

biggunz (Anonymous) says: "because blacks are fighting in the street outside the bar, getting hit by cars because they wander around in the street in front of the bar, get arrested for carrying ak-47's in their cars. use up police resources because they don't get in their cars and go home when the bar closes? you don't have the same situation at other bars in lawrence on a frequent basis. no matter how you try to spin it, it is what it is and if that's embarrassing for some people, it should be. unfortunately screaming racism and blaming "whitey" is par for the course."

You undoubtedly have no experience with our downtown area. The so-called "white" bars, or bars that white people tent to frequent more often, have just as many fights, if not more, than the "black" bars. See, what you dont understand is that we as a young culture are not bad people. Yes, there are a few bad apples that try to spoil the whole barrel, but you can find those in every generation. Ok, ok, the people who live in Topeka and Kansas City, some arrogant football players (those of which aren't from here), and maybe, MAYBE, a select few others need to pay consequences for ruining our night scene. Bringing any type of race, and saying its "black peoples" fault just because the cops target the black bars/clubs, is plain unfair. Wait till about midnight, get in your car, and drive around and stick your head in each and every place you talk bad about, all of you. Then, go stick your head in some of the "white" places. (hate saying it like that). My point is, you will see the exact same thing if you just open your eyes, LPD just picks and chooses where they patrol. Besides, who wants to live in a city where all the frat boys and sorority girls go to jail for acting stupid every weekend?

Richard Heckler 10 years, 9 months ago

Downtown merchants are not happy. I do have a personal problem with Steffes.

*I do not appreciate his bar requiring extra tax dollars for law enforcement to maintain a peaceful coexistence on New Hampshire at night nor do I want myself or family members to be suddenly exposed to a violent street brawl.

  • People who reside and own a business on New Hampshire have a right to expect their customers or family/visitors to be in the area without an army of law enforcement to maintain peace and tranquility . Downtown is a business area and a neighborhood.

Richard Heckler 10 years, 9 months ago

"The city should revoke their license -The city can't revoke their license. There are specific laws that protects licensees from that exact thing. There was a suit filed in Wichita which the courts ruled that a city does not have the power to revoke a license."

This should change to local control ASAP. The sooner the better.

sweettrue2 10 years, 9 months ago

Seriously, Is this really such a racist and ignorant community? Some people will just say anything to get their point across; no matter how idiotic it may be. Too bad for them

Richard Heckler 10 years, 9 months ago +Kansas&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8 ===== Limited resources

As in the past, members of the bar industry didn't like what they heard. Several in the crowd told commissioners that the simple solution was to hire more police officers because the city admits most of the problems are not happening inside bars, but rather are the result of actions by patrons after they've left a bar.

"We have to accept that this community is growing, but I just never see in our budget that we're really giving our police department more resources," said Rob Farha, owner of The Wheel. "I get frustrated as a taxpayer. We spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on roundabouts, but there are safety issues greater than that."

Corliss said this year's budget included two new sergeant positions for the police department, but the recommended 2008 budget does not include the department's request for new officers. Police department leaders on Wednesday said they would like to add about 15 officers to their Friday night patrol, for example, to get their staffing levels up to about 30 officers for the busy Friday night shift. Corliss estimated it cost about $60,000 to hire and equip a new police officer.

"I would like to put more resources into law enforcement, but right now we don't have those financial resources," Corliss said. "But at some point you also have to ask how much of it is the taxpayers' responsibility to have that many police officers versus the responsibility of the bars to deal with some of the problems."

Other bar owners asked why the city hasn't tried to talk with owners of problematic bars to correct the problem. Both Corliss and Mayor Sue Hack said they had tried, but have been told that some bar owners feel that problems caused by their patrons outside their establishments are not the bar's responsibility. Corliss said he flatly disagrees with that.

"I think if a business attracts consistent problems, the business has a responsibility to deal with that," Corliss said. "If you don't think you have the resources to deal with it, then I don't think you should be in business."

budwhysir 10 years, 9 months ago

every time I make a call i get a busy signal or some one answers the phone. One time I took a trip in a cannoe down the river and didnt even get wet. caught alot of fish and then i came home. If I ever build another skateboard, Im going to use some tires from my old bike and then I can be part of the recycle community

chocolateplease 10 years, 9 months ago

The business owner just happens to run a business that attracts some agressive and non-law-abiding citizens, as is apt to be the case with any late night, alcohol-serving establishment catering to the music tastes of these patrons. If the bar owner knows this, what is his legal responsibility under the law, and is he meeting it? Is he legally liable for what's going on? It should be a pretty simple thing to determine. Also, is the city really allowed to close it down just because it's a nuisance to the condo owners across the street? I'm sure they'd like to see it gone (I would if I lived there). But I don't know if that's legal. It's partly a question of balancing the property owner (or business owner) rights with the rights of the surrounding community. I'm sure there's a legal precedent and this is surely not the first time a community has had this kind of problem. Why re-invent the wheel here? And why can't the newspaper reporter answer all these questions in an intelligent article that explains these things? If they did that, maybe we could give it a rest.......controversy is one reason to have alot of discussion, but maybe bad reporting is another thing that leads to it.

baby_girl 10 years, 9 months ago

Great topic. However, what about those of us that live near the ranch and are subjected EVERY thursday and saturday nights to people urinating in our front yards, littering, fighting, etc. People may want to single out last call, but what about other establishments? i've had to call the police numerous times for people fighting from the ranch in my own front yard. it's too near a residential neighborhood. maybe that's the problem with the clubs right now. if they could just situate them out in the country like the good ol' outhouse (sarcastically said) maybe the fighting and all that good stuff that comes along with it could be contained. what does the outhouse pay for their building, $100 a month? just an idea, but moving clubs to the outer edges of lawrence i think would be a better idea. but who knows? there have been problems at all the bars in lawrence, so singling out mr. steffe's establishment is unncessary. good luck, mr. steffes. i enjoy last call on the nights i do go. it's nice to be to listen to the latest hip hop and dance the night away. security does what it needs to in the club. once the club is done, what happens outside happens to fall into the city's hands. good job, LPD. keep up the good work.

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