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November 26, 2005


Just a quick note to clarify in case there's confusion. By some odd coincidence, there's two business owners within a block of each other with the last name "Doss". Gary Doss of the Burlingame Museum of Pez Memorabilia is no relation to Blush owner Rob Doss.


A quick and easy way to reduce the fights. (1) Fine the bar that is overserving the customers. (2) Have the Alcoholic Beverage Control [ABC] review the liquor license of these owners. If they can't keep the crowds under control, then they should not be able to make money here in Burlingame. If the owners face a financial loss due to rowdy customers, they will increase their own security and cut off the drunks.

A number of Burlingamer's attended a forum in Redwood City where Jim Peters of the Responsible Hospitality Institute was the speaker. This forum was part of the Redwood City Forums on Urban Design and was entitled 'How to Create and Manage a 24/7 Downtown'.

Jim's main point, for me, was that there needs to be a very overt cooperation between the city, the security, the hospitality providers, including bars and restaurants, and the citizens, to proactively work on the issues. He suggested that most bar owners don't know how to reduce the anti-social incidents.

Maybe the key stakeholders in Burlingame could get together to plan before the incidents rather than after as these activities can negatively impact every business in town.

Maybe some of the nightclub owners could explain to us in a council meeting how they "manage" the unruly behavior. What the procedure is before they need to get in the "ants"? I would also like to ask what are the security guard requirements each of these places have to have and what they can deal with before the police are called in.

These are the questions our new council need to be asking before these licenses are renewed. I would hate to see some of these places closed down but there is a problem here, Houston!


As a former nightclub manager in San Francisco and San Jose, I can tell you that my club was required to have TWO uniformed off duty police at the door on weekend and busy special occasion nights. The off-duty officers in uniform are a major deterent to problems. The officers are paid BY THE BAR an hourly rate for their time. This solution works just like the CHP parking an empty patrol car on the side of the road. You slow down because you're just not sure if you are going to get a ticket. Also, the club owners are paying for the extra officers, relieving the city (and other cities) of the financial burden of extra police supervision. The owners will pay the officers because they have a financial incentive to stay in business. The owners can charge a cover fee to pay for the off duty police. A cover charge may also get rid of some of the troublemakers. The City Council can pass a measure that would require the above provisions.


The bars downtown have a dress code, and at least Blush has a cover charge. They do have many security guards there, but it does not seem to deter the trouble makers. I had a fight start within 50 feet of 6 uniformed officers (including me) one night in front of Blush. People were hit with Tasers and Pepper Spray. A few went to jail. The D.A. usually drops the charges on Monday. It all repeats the next weekend.


According to the bartender at Steelhead Brewery, it was a very quiet weekend contrary to expectations, but I'm sure there will be more need for "ants" sometime before New Year's Eve.

It sounds as if (according to KRN) that in some cases security guards aren't enough, that they really need to be hiring uniformed off-duty policemen. I'm sorry to say this, but some security guards are not necessarily cut out for this stuff. It's different than patroling parking lots at Hillsdale. I think that our new council should look into a policy like this, (requiring off-duty police officers to be paid for by problem establishments). How much is the surcharge at Blush?


Houston, the problem is people come back home for the hoilday weekend to have Thanksgiving dinner with their families and it has long been tradition to go out the night before Thanksgiving to catch up with friends.

That is true, Fred, but how does that relate to ruckus's at these places. I don't think the same people are having family dinners, and then going to cause disturbances at Blush or Del Mar. Maybe I didn't get your point, please clarify. Glad to see you back, by the way.


My idea for uniformed off duty police will deter many fights but not all. Only when the bar owners are financially responsible for the actions for their patrons will the fights stop. (or at least reduce) If a bar owner is facing the loss of his alcohol license, he is going to do something to stop the fights. A bar owner who loses his license will only be able to serve non-alcoholic beverages and will lose his business. If owners are faced with a loss of revenue, owners will find solutions to our problems. Right now, these owners have no incentive to find a solution.

From the Daily Journal Police Blotter about a Nov. 20 Blush incident, hopefully the same one mentioned in an earlier blog:

"Burlingame - Bar closure. While gangster? rap stars from Oakland were promoting a compact disc at Blush Bar, 261 California Drive, a woman was physically removed from the bar who then intentionally kicked and broke a window. Several staff members told the responding officer they were concerned about a large incident occurring. Since the crowd seemed partially aggressive toward staff and police, the bar was closed. Staff and owners were responsive to the decision at 12:39 a.m. Sunday, Nov. 20".

Blush sounds better and better all the time.


It still amazes me that there has not been a shooting or stabbing outside Blush, or the surrounding area. It will be interesting to see the city's response when something dire happens. My guess will be "We had no idea that things were this bad down there".

I'm also amazed at the kid glove approach. I really appreciate that people like you who have brought this to our attention. I think because the incidents do not involve locals, and are occuring in the wee hours, it has gone mainly unnoticed, except for those who work those areas and those hours, and those who read the freebie dailies where it is hidden off in a corner. It is horrible to think that it could get worse and I look forward to seeing the new Council in action. I think it's time to pull those gloves off and put the screws on these establishments. KRN is right. They should be hit hard in the pocketbook (ie. required to hiree extra off duty REAL policemen).


It would be nice to have a Council member go on a ride-along with BPD on a Friday night. I know that they have been offered rides in the past. I have not seen any of them out there, except one member stumbling out of Del Mar on a weekend night when the Bud Girls were in town. Maybe this new Council will take the offer and see what going on after hours. I know that BPD has been videotaping the carnage on the weekends for months, for the Chief and City Council to see.

Gus, how does one go on a ride-along?


Just call the police department and ask to go on a ride-along.

I'm usually asleep by then, but I'd sure like to see those films, and I think it would be very educational for the new council to see them. Is it legal to show that? Or do the faces need to be obscurred by some film-tricks?


There is no expectation of privacy when you are in the presence of the police. You can be videotaped and recorded without your knowledge. Most officers carry a tape recorder to CYA for false complaints. Many agencies in the area have video cameras mounted in the patrol cars. Great evidence.

Hmmm very interesting. Thanks.


Can you just link some of the video to this website? I think we would all like to see what is happening. If we let this get out of control, then Burlingame will become known as a place where individuals can get away with anything. I know that the article stated that "the Staff and owners were responsive to the decision at 12:39 a.m." but they only had one and one half hours of booze sales left. Why is there a gangsta rap CD release party happening in Burlingame in the first place?


I don't have any of the video. I know that BPD is filming every weekend though.

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