IS THE MUSIC OVER FOR PANAMA JOE’S? COUNCIL TO VOTE ON LIVE ENTERTAINMENT PERMITBy LBReport.com
LONG BEACH — City leaders are expected tonight to formally vote on a permit renewal allowing dancing and live music at Panama Joe’s, a popular 2nd Street restaurant at Belmont Shore.
The city’s Department of Financial Management and Long Beach Police Department both recommended denial of the permit renewal. LBPD in a 31-page report detailed 72 service calls, 30 incident reports and 36 arrests attributed to the eatery between Dec. 14, 2009 and May 31.
Findings of the report “determined that alcohol-related incidents and arrests remained constant and continued to be an ongoing problem, taxing Police Department resources, while negatively impacting the surrounding Community,” wrote Police Chief Jim McDonnell in a May 12 memo to Business Relations Bureau Manager Erik Sund. That, as well as Financial Department’s memo, are included in the city staff’s agendized materials on the matter.
One of Panama Joe’s owners, Ron Newman, addressed a letter to the City Council refuting LBPD’s crime analyses. Newman contended that they were flawed, adding that 21 of the DUI arrests occured off the restaurant’s premises. It was also “unfair” to attribute the arrests and break-ins of neighboring businesses to Panama Joe’s, he wrote. (See Newman’s full letter here.)