BELLFLOWER’S GOT BLUES SO BAD ITS COUNCIL WON’T LET YOU SING ‘EMBy Dave Wielenga
The Bellflower City Council has overturned the decision of its planning commission and unanimously rejected an application by the owners of Long Beach’s sorely missed Blue Dog Tavern to reopen in a long-empty former firehouse in the struggling city’s ghostly downtown.
After a two-hour interview with the Blue Dog’s co-owners, Cheri Dessero and Robert Martinson, the council decided the blues club does not fit their image of downtown. Councilman Randy Bomgaars said that image was worked out with a restaurant consultant and calls for a focus on restaurants with outdoor dining facilities that cater to families.
After an April 4 vote by the Planning Commission approved the Blue Dog’s application, 3-1, the City Council appealed the decision, beginning the latest concession to the wacky tactics—often anonymous bullying—that have been part of Bellflower politics and the steady disintegration of its downtown business district for decades.
In February, GreaterLongBeach.com acquired a copy of the crucial document in the campaign against the Blue Dog Tavern—an anonymous letter as full of unsubstantiated charges as unconventional spellings. Bomgaars and Mayor Pro Tem Dan Koops emphasized to the Herald American that city council members received a record number of letters and e-mails opposing the Blue Dog Tavern, although they acknowledged that many of them were anonymous.
Although not one person spoke against the Blue Dog Tavern during a public hearing on its application, moments later the City Council voted, 4-0, to deny it.