Toledo council members yesterday listened to complaints concerning two bars in the city and will determine next week whether to object to the renewal of liquor licenses for the establishments.
May 2 is the deadline to file objections.
Toledo police asked for an objection to the renewal of the license of Mr. J's, 1941 North Detroit Ave., which has been the scene of a number of incidents that have required police action.
Police Chief Mike Navarre said Mr. J's does not have the most calls for police, but the department has taken into account the degree of violence and other factors in asking the city to object to a renewal of Mr. J's liquor license. The bar drew unwanted attention in November when a bullet fired from the parking lot went into a nearby home and wounded David Pope, 7, while he slept.
Peter Wagner, attorney for Jerome King, the manager of the bar, said his client has hired 12 people for security purposes and uses a wand for metal detection if he suspects anyone has a weapon.
Mr. King told council members that he does not condone violence and said that of the times police came to the bar, “if you search the record, you'll see we called the police.”
Councilman Robert McCloskey has asked council to object to the renewal of the liquor license for the New Triangle Cafe, 1202 Broadway, which he said is the center of an area with increasing prostitution activity. The police department declined to join in the request for an objection to renewing the bar's permit.
Mr. McCloskey said he was asked by neighborhood organizations to raise the issue of the bar's role in the neighborhood. Chief Navarre agreed that his department has received numerous complaints and made arrests for prostitution in the area but said they can't be connected to the bar.
Carmen Feliciana told council members that she operates an art studio near the bar that provides free art classes for children and she is troubled that they are exposed to drunks and prostitutes. “I can't stand outside my building for more than 10 minutes without a car pulling over,” and asking for sex, she said.
Jon Richardson, an attorney representing the bar's owner, Joanne Garcia, said the bar's record is good compared to many others in the city and that his client can't be held responsible for other activity in the neighborhood.
He said some people can always be found who will complain about “demon rum,” and that if council opposed Mrs. Garcia's license renewal, “you might as well institute prohibition one block at a time” because many other bars would be equally vulnerable.
About 10 people, some from the Heritage South Commercial Revitalization Association, protested in front of the New Triangle Cafe, at 3 p.m. yesterday.
Protesters carried multicolored signs charging that the cafe is a neighborhood nuisance. The cafe was a topic of concern during Old South Toledo community forums put on last week by the city of Toledo.