Hollywood clubland is out of control.
That, at least, seems to be the opinion of area City Councilman Mitch O’Farrell, who this week warned the nightlife venues to shape up or ship out as Halloween party season approaches.
“The long list of permit violations at a handful of Hollywood nightclubs is unacceptable,” O’Farrell said. “These violations adversely affect the health, safety and well-being of those who live and work in the area, and endanger the lives of their own patrons. Today this community is taking a stand.”
What's the issue?
Well, there is the matter of shootings, fights and mini-riots in the Hollywood Entertainment District over the last half-decade or so.
There was the injury shooting of a security guard at Kress in 2011, a deadly shooting at the Empire club in 2013, an injury shooting inside MyStudio the same year, a fatal attack as clubs let out for the night at Hollywood Boulevard and Las Palmas Avenue in 2014, and the fatal beating of a DJ at Cashmere in August.
In 2010 clubbers faced off with cops outside a sold-out Avalon Hollywood. There was a 2011 fight at Joseph's Cafe involving, or not involving, an ice pick. That same year an off-duty cop was stabbed and another shot the alleged stabber outside the Hollywood Palladium. In summer of 2011 a few thousand ravers took over the intersection of Hollywood Boulevard and Highland Avenue. And the next year dozens of skateboarders stood off with officers and threw rocks and bottles at them outside the Vine Theater. In 2013 a 23-year-old man was fatally stabbed at Hollywood Boulevard and Whitley Avenue not long after most of the area clubs had closed.
And that's just the stuff we could remember.
But O'Farrell, speaking like a true adherent of “broken windows” policing, says the real problem in clubland is that venues allegedly are violating terms of their conditional-use permits.
The councilman said that “many clubs” in the area had been written up for alleged violations.
He cited the beating death over summer of 20-year-old DJ Jose Silva at Cashmere and the 2014 sexual assault of a college student at a Hollywood club.
His office says there have been club employees accused of soliciting prostitutes and “other incidents of crime” related to the nightlife venues.
Yesterday the City Attorney's Office announced that supperclub had been formally accused of violating probation after it pleaded no contest to overcrowding, use of open flame, use of a structure without a permit and other allegations.
The club continued to violate the law, according to prosecutors, who alleged it was caught …
… allowing long lines outside, smoking on the premises, alcohol service in non-permitted areas, failing to remove unapproved structures on the property and blocking open exits.
Hollywood's nightlife renaissance was championed, in part, by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti when he was the local councilman.
“It's a feather in everyone's cap to have a place in Hollywood,” he said of club owners seven years ago.
This week L.A. City Attorney Mike Feuer said club operators who play fast and loose with the rules would be tarred and feathered.
“Just since the beginning of the year, my office has filed several criminal cases for nightclub operation violations,” he said, “sending a clear message that nightclubs must be good neighbors and follow the law or we will prosecute.”
ADDED at 11:15 p.m. Friday, Oct. 9, 2015: Michael D. Kolodzi, attorney for Cashmere Nightclub, a.k.a. The Day After, wanted to weigh in with this response to comments O'Farrell made during a Thursday news conference about Hollywood venues:
The Abatement hearing scheduled for October 22, 2015 is entirely premature, and any adverse ruling therefrom will be, in fact, unconstitutional. The alleged conditional use permit violations are wholly without merit and nothing more than allegations at this point, as none of said violations have been adjudicated in court. We further dispute the number of alleged violations (18) as cited by Councilman Mitch O'Farrell. Indeed, some of these alleged violations have yet to be filed with the Los Angeles District Attorneys' Office. Accordingly, Cashmere Nightclub and its principals are entitled to due process, and an adjudication of these alleged violations, prior to any abatement of the premises. In the event that the City does rule in favor of abatement, we will take our fight to the Superior Court, and further, if necessary.