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WeHo Councilman Proposes to Shut Down House of Blues

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After over 100 calls to police, 44 arrests and a general bummer in quality of life over the last year (plus a murder last year), a West Hollywood Councilman is proposing to revoke the House of Blues Sunset Strip location's business license, according to the WeHoNews. Councilmember John Heilman introduced the motion that will be debated tonight.

According to the staff report (.pdf or posted below), which lists all the serious incidents from this year, stated that "after each serious incident, there is a perfunctory apology and a promise to reform, but the problems persist and have escalated. Moreover, while management at the House of Blues claims to accept responsibility and expresses a desire to change, the establishment continues to host events and promote the venue to groups which disrespect the community and the business." The full background portion of the report is below:

"Background" portion of Staff Report

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Nightclubs are a major part of the nightlife of West Hollywood, serving as a magnet to attract thousands of people each week to the City. While nightclub
venues account for substantial City revenue and contribute to the unique
atmosphere of West Hollywood, lack of adequate management causes serious
safety problems for both residents and visitors to the City. All clubs and nighttime establishments in the City of West Hollywood experience
occasional disputes and conflicts. Almost every establishment in West Hollywood
has an occasional noisy, disruptive or intoxicated patron. Likewise, almost all
establishments will have an occasional fight or a dispute between security and a
customer. To some degree, these occurrences are to be expected in any
business that serves the public, especially those that sell alcohol. As a general
rule, the businesses in West Hollywood work in cooperation with the City and the
Sheriffs in an effort to prevent these occurrences and deal with them
appropriately when they occur. Unfortunately, for the last several years, House of Blues has had a history of serious problems and an unwillingness to address these problems. After each serious incident, there is a perfunctory apology and a promise to reform, but the problems persist and have escalated.

Moreover, while management at the House of Blues claims to accept responsibility and expresses a desire to change, the establishment continues to host events and promote the venue to groups which disrespect the community and the business.

The problem is compounded by the fact that the general manager is not on site in the evenings when almost all of the disturbances occur."

The report lists the series of incidences that have occurred over the past six months:

In this year alone, the following serious incidents have occurred:

February 27, 2008 - Patron hit in the face at concert.

March 23, 2008 - Large crowd fighting in driveway.

March 28, 2008 - Several persons involved in fight. Security requests Sheriffs assistance to prevent fight from escalating.

April 26, 2008 - Sheriff's called to location. Windows open and loud concert music being played into neighborhood, May 23,2008 - Fighting in top parking lot.

June 21, 2008 - Six men trying to fight with security in driveway off Olive.

June 26, 2008 - Male in and out of consciousness at location. Fire rescue unit required.

June 30, 2008 - About 50 people fighting at the location.

July 7, 2008 - About 200 people from concert in front of location and people getting into fights.

July 15, 2008 - Female in and out of consciousness at location. Fire rescue unit required.

August 5, 2008 - Man had chair thrown at him in establishment.

On Thursday, September 4, 2008 - , over 100 people were involved in fights both inside and outside the House of Blues. Sheriff's deputies had to request assistance from LAPD and the City of Beverly Hills police department. Several people were arrested on outstanding warrants, battery and drunkenness.

One woman was hospitalized. Helicopters wee dispatched to monitor the area and remained overhead until 1 :00a.m. The Sunset Strip was shut down for several hours.

Nearby businesses had no ingress or egress. As a consequence, several other businesses lost customers and were not able to return vehicles to customers -already at their establishments.

From September 2007- September 2008, events at the House of Blues have led to 44 arrests including fights, drunk and disorderly behavior and grand theft. This is more than double the arrests for the same period in 2006-2007.

In addition, during the same time period, there have been over 100 Sheriff's radio dispatches for the House of Blues location.

Problems continue to utilize a disproportionate share of law enforcement services and staff resources while putting the safety of the public at risk.

In addition to the drain on resources, the House of Blues is disrupting residents' quiet enjoyment of their premises and negatively affecting the quality of life for people in the community.

Photo by bdjsb7 via Flickr