HOLLYWOOD — City officials weren’t joking when they warned certain local nightclubs to shape up or they would be closed down.
The city decided to revoke the conditional use permit (CUP) of Cashmere nightclub, also known as The Day After, Feb. 24 after multiple land use violations and criminal activity. The club was located near the corner of Hollywood Boulevard and McCadden Place.
This came after the closure of The Supper Club, which had a history of citations and problems with city authorities.
Cashmere came under heavy scrutiny after 20-year-old Jose Silva, known as DJ Steelz, died of complications stemming from injuries suffered in a fight back in August.
“He was 20 years old, not even of legal age to be there. What are they still doing open after this tragic event?” Los Angeles City Councilman Mitch O’Farrell asked.
“When I was in my 20s and 30s and going to clubs, I felt safe and I want the public to feel safe. If you want to operate a club in Hollywood, you need to operate lawfully.”
According to the Los Angeled Department of Regional Planning, a CUP is required for certain land uses which may need special conditions to ensure compatibility with surrounding land uses.”
Clubs and bars operating must receive a CUP from the city. The CUP sets forth numerous rules for operation, which could govern promotions, hours of operation, age restrictions, alcohol and food sales, or capacity.
“What is a big concern to the chamber is that the city is finally enforcing CUPs,” said Leron Gubler, president and CEO of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce. “This has been very a important issue for that last few years. Most nightclubs abide by their CUP, but there are some that periodically do not.”
In 2015, Hollywood had an increase in violent crimes. However, the city doesn’t want to just point fingers at clubs for its problems.
“Clubs have a place in Hollywood for sure and most operate in close adherence to their CUP and when they try we can work with them,” said Capt. Peter Zarcone, of the Los Angeles Police Department’s Hollywood Division. “But when they refuse to comply, enforcement is what we have to resort to.”
Michael D. Kolodzi, the attorney representing the Cashmere club owners, believes the city is intentionally targeting his clients.
“They’ve engaged in a pattern of harassment and persecution,” he said. “It’s a collective campaign with the city, LAPD, Mitch O’Farrell and the Chamber of Commerce. They just want to get the urban clubs out of Hollywood. At this point, we are entertaining our options, and considering a major lawsuit against the city and the LAPD.”
Kolodzi says the club did not receive due process before its permit was revoked and many of the violations, 18 total, haven’t even been filed. He argues the citations are without merit and illegal.
Despite the closures of Hollywood nightclubs, most local businesses haven’t felt any negative effects. Big Wangs restaurant manager, Aaron Valdez, said there hasn’t been a decrease in business.
“Club patrons actually bring in more business, but honestly that’s the reality of club life, some people aren’t always smart with their decisions and cause problems.”
One thing everyone can agree on is making Hollywood a destination for fun, safe entertainment and high quality living.
“The city’s residential community is growing, so now we have to figure out a way to strike a balance, at no one’s expense,” said O’Farrell. “Let this send a strong message.”