Residents who live around Dogz Bar and Grill are seeking City of Long Beach help over complaints that the restaurant-bar has been a magnet for fights and noise. They also claim an illegal use of a nearby rental house as a business annex and storage garage, which the resident denies.
A giant Corona beer and lifesize cutouts of two men in Cinco de Mayo garb fill the picture window of the house at 185 Glendora, which was formerly occupied by Bill Lorbeer, the property owner of that and the Dogz establishment (see accompanying). Lorbeer referred questions to the business.
But Dogz co-owner Norm Turley said Thursday night that he moved across the street from the bar to better manage any problems and that the fights involved patrons asked hours earlier to leave the bar. And the Corona beer window treatment?
"I just moved in May 1 and I haven't got curtains up. It's like living in a fish bowl. I figured the cut-outs would be better to look at than a 230-pound Norm Turley in a towel," he chuckled. "I will be living there Thursday through Sunday with my nephew to keep a close eye on things."
He added, "I would think people would think that makes me more of a good neighbor.
He also said that in more than a year open for business, "I've had only one person e-mail or text me of a problem, and I've given my number out for just that reason." (For those interested, the number is 562-310-6617, or e-mail: email@example.com).
Long Beach Police Department East Division Commander Mike Goodman responded to two Glendora Avenue residents' queries about recent flights they allege are commonplace. Patch was sent the letter, which you can find at the end of this story.
Long Beach City Councilman Gary DeLong was also contacted, and told Patch his latest response could be used as his comment to some enduring complaints of the bar at Second Street and Glendora, and its predecessor, Club Evo. In suggesting the permits study, DeLong conceded that he waited years too long to take action on the neighborhood disturbances, but wanted to remedy that.
Of the fights reference below, another Dogz party said the business was also victimized by the fight. With three minutes left in the Lakers game inside, "It's not in the business interest to have that distraction going on."
The latest complaints were taken to the Belmont Shore Residents Association, and BSRA President Kurt Borsting has also sought to verify the allegiations. A study the Long Beach Council approved, led by DeLong, has not returned before the public and DeLong said he would check on its status. At least one liquor license was approved by the City Council (Symzy's) before the study has been completed.
The study was to determine, among other things, whether conditional use permits might help the city better mitigate any enforcement issues; it apparently has not been completed. For their part, bar owners have said that a system they created to communicate with each other about problem customers, fake IDs or drunk behavior has very much improved conditions in the neighborhood, and they continue to try to be good neighbors.
Dogz co-owner Norm Turley, who said he's a former cop, understands what he thinks are changes in atmosphere in Belmont Shore, and their impact, but attributes them to a decline in civil behavior. He said he has also seen a marked improvement in Long Beach Police Department patrol procedures since Commander Beckman arrived several months ago.
"The paddy wagon used to be just parked in the Jack-n-the-Box parking lot, and it now patrols the alleys, and officers are out talking to people," Hurley said.
The recent opening of Symzy's renewed recurring worries about the number of ABC (alcohol) licenses the city and the state ABC has endorsed in the popular commercial district. Owners of the newly opened restaurant vowed to be good neighbors - one lives in the Shore - and there appear to no complaints.
DeLong told residents reporting concerns about Dogz violence a few days ago the following:
"1. We'll follow up with Code Enforcement regarding the vacant home. 2. I've sent an email to the Director of Development Services requesting a status on the study. 3. I've made sure Police Chief McDonnell is aware of the 2nd Street issues."
From Commander Beckman in response to two resident queries:
"On May 19, 2012, at approximately 8:29 p.m., officers were dispatched to the 5300 block of E. 2nd Street regarding a fight involving several male adults. All combatants fled the scene prior to the arrival of the police. No crime victim(s) or suspect(s) were located.
"Later that evening at approximately 9:41 p.m., officers were dispatched to the same location regarding an assault. A male suspect fled the scene and escaped capture. Several associated arrests were made, however, including a female adult from Los Angeles for public drunkenness; a male adult from Agoura Hills for public drunkenness; and, a male adult for outstanding arrest warrants. A report for the assault was filed. To my knowledge, an arrest has yet to be made.
During one of those fights, a man was smacked in the head with a skateboard and a resident who passed by en route to take-out food told Patch he was laying on the sidewalk passed out, before authorities arrived. It was early enough that kids might still be out with the family, he said.