Solomon, Saltsman & Jamieson successfully defends prominent Los Angeles nightclub, The El Rodeo, featured in the Tom Cruise and Jamie Fox film “Collateral”: The El Rodeo is allowed to keep its doors open after City initiated proceedings to revoke its Entertainment Permit and Conditional Use Permit.
Article Published: Thursday, March 17, 2005 – 7:20:15 PM PST
By Debbie Pfeiffer Trunnell , Staff Writer
PICO RIVERA — A city board decided Thursday that El Rodeo nightclub should be allowed to keep its entertainment permit if the business’ owner agrees to new operating conditions drawn up by the city and the Sheriff’s Department.
El Rodeo owner Henry Aguila agreed and said he was pleased with the board’s interim proposal.
The decision ended a lengthy hearing by a three-member city License and Permit Hearing Board on whether to revoke El Rodeo’s entertainment permit due to an alleged history of violent acts on its premises during the past 10 years.
Aguila earlier had told the board that without an entertainment permit he would have to close the club on Washington Boulevard.
He said Thursday’s board proposal “means we don’t have to prolong this mess.’
” I think we can work with the city to satisfy their concerns.’
Lt. Michael Rothans, the sheriff’s representative on the board, came up with the conditions that include changing the club’s closing time from 2 a.m. to 1 a.m., reducing the occupancy limit from 800 to 600, limiting parking to the club’s parking lot and asking security guards to wear yellow jackets so they can be easily identified.
Asking the club to comply with new conditions would represent a compromise to the more harsh permit revocation, said Rothans. He said he has concerns that city and law enforcement officials did not meet with El Rodeo at the first sign of violence.
“There should have been more formal meetings with all the major players after (a) shootout with security guards in 2002, instead of boiler plate language in the conditional use permit,’ he said.
Rothans proposed looking at the issue six months from now, after meetings on the new proposed restrictions have taken place.
El Rodeo’s attorney Bruce Evans drew up some conditions that he said El Rodeo could abide by. They include not holding any rap concerts at the venue, a written dress code to be posted at the entrance, installing turnstiles at the entrances and asking security guards to wear uniforms to be easily identifiable.
Concurrently, the city Planning Commission has been considering whether to revoke El Rodeo’s conditional use permit on grounds similar to the License and Permit Hearing Board.
The Planning Commission will discuss the fate of the club’s conditional use permit at its next meeting on March 28.
The License and Permit board will meet again April 19. By then, city staff will have had a chance to review all the proposed new operating conditions and to also know the Planning Commission’s decision.
Prior to Thursday’s hearing, Evans attempted to look at every sheriff’s incident report since the club opened to prove his contention that officials inflated the number of calls-for- service, from 259 to 330, and that many of the calls should not have been linked to the location.
“The city pulled a fast one in these hearings and made it all about calls-for-service to the sheriff’s whether there was a problem or not,’ he said. “I dispute all the evidence it has put forth.’
City Attorney Ruben Duran called several sheriff’s deputies to testify about incidents at the club to which they had responded, to prove the level of violence.
Duran contended there is extensive evidence of guns, gunbattles and assaults that have occurred at El Rodeo.
Debbie Pfeiffer Trunnell can be reached at (562) 698-0955, Ext. 3028, or by e- mail at [email protected]
Solomon, Saltsman & Jamieson are attorneys practicing in the areas of ABC law, ABC Appeals Board cases, and all related Land Use Matters such as City and County Conditional Use Permits, Variances, Police and Fire permits, Entertainment law, and Gambling Law; as well as Business and Personal Injury litigation. Solomon, Saltsman & Jamieson can be reached at 800 405 4222.”