Letters

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Posted August 27, 2009 in News

(Editor’s note: All spelling, grammar, punctuation, etc., reflects that of the original letter)

 

REPLY OF EL PATIO RESTAURANT AND NIGHTCLUB
TO
“A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE”

 

This last week a person walked into a L.A. Fitness Studio in a suburban Pittsburgh neighborhood and killed 3 women, shot 15 more women and only then killed himself. Within the last week another shooter killed 2 people at a mail somewhere in the United States. At Columbine 15 children and a teacher didn’t make it out alive of a school facility. Based on your article on the El Patio, all L.A. Fitness Studios and other gyms should be closed down as they could draw a shooter there. All the malls in the United States should be closed as this isn’t the first time shooting deaths have occurred in malls.  The Schools should definitely be closed because there have been horrendous shootings and deaths there, least anyone forgot Virginia Tech or Columbine.  Would you really want to work for the U.S. Postal Service where employee shootings are hear about frequently or a law firm in San Francisco that ha more horrific shoots occur about two years ago?

 

Why do these things happen in a God fearing society like the United States?  I’m not a sociologist and will leave that answer to others who are more brilliant and who are able to study this phenomenon more than I can and bring more expertise to the question than I can.  

 

I’m a business lady who raised 5 adult children, gotten some them through college and constantly have to deal with issues that are not of my own making in a society that I didn’t create either. As these issues come to me, I try to do my best to do what’s right while offering a restaurant and entertainment experience that my mostly Spanish speaking customers enjoy.  We have big bands, entertainers, dancing and a cuisine that our customers, husbands and wives, singles and groups of people enjoy. I get the best entertainment and provide the best food at a price that my customers can afford. 

It goes without saying that the tax revenues to the City and the police expenses I pay for are a benefit to the City in this down economy.  But I too must be concerned with a bottom line that is shrinking because of events that occur that I didn’t cause.  

 

I certainly didn’t want this economy. I certainly didn’t want people to shoot other people either in my parking lot or off my parking lot in 2007. I have not idea why a security guard working for an independent security company owned by a Los Angeles Police Sergeant was in my parking lots 4 hours after closing in May of 2009 and being shot. But you think it’s my fault?  Why? Do you just enjoy writing flamboyant journalism with buzz words and pictures that emphasize the one-sided slant that you wrote into this article? 

 

Let’s set some of the record straight.  This venue has been conducting this kind of business since 1988, I believe, not 2004.  IN 2004 a partner and I bought the business and in November of 2006 I bought out my partner. I also spent a considerable amount of money in improving the restaurant and the rest of the facility at that time. While we were not open for business, the Health Inspector in October of 2006 gave us a C rating. Once we got open, our rating was changed back to an A rating which we held until Jun of 2009 when it was changed to a B rating. It’s interesting that I can spend several thousands a year on pest control expenses, but a dead cockroach is worth a B rating. We’ll get our A rating back as soon as we can be inspected because we deserve it. We’re ever vigilant about cleanliness.

 

You make reference to being over capacity on occasions. We’ve had police call the fire department to check on that issue on occasions (one or twice a year) and the fire department has ALWAYS found us not to be over capacity.  This location has NEVER been closed down or cited for an incident that involves overcrowding since 2004. 

 

In 2007 when the boy was shot in our parking lot and the security guard shot the shooter and before then the same year when a girl was killed away from our property, but she had come from our property that night was a very sad time. Although the privately owned security guard business did the right thing in August of 2007, I felt I needed to hire another security guard company and with the blessing of the Rialto Police Department a security firm operated by a Los Angeles Police Department Sergeant was hired to perform security for the establishment. IN addition, and at the request of the City of Rialto, I hired the Rialto Police Department to provide some additional security in the parking lot. Your figures are wrong as to what I pay but it’s true that I believed this security would be lifted in no more than a year once the police saw how well our new security company would operate. Instead, the police department has continued to provide officers on a basis that I don’t think is consistent with the level of service that is required.  Then the tragedy to the security guard hired by the private security guard company occurred at a time we weren’t open and the police weren’t on duty.  You’re a San Bernardino based paper. San Bernardino is known as the murder capital of the State.  It’s been suggested that a lot of those murders are done elsewhere and the bodies dumped in San Bernardino. Is the designation fair to San Bernardino? Is your designation fair to El Patio when it has absolutely no way to determine what an off-duty security officers is doing and the fact that his tragic death has nothing to do with the proper operation of my property? 

 

We’re a co-operating business with the Police, ABC, Health Inspectors and all agencies that govern us and will continue to work with them. We offer a legal service, which our customers know meets their expectations for a sage and enjoyable place to be. We will always work to that end. The police have never shut us down at least since 2004 when I’ve been part of the operation.  We check I.D.’s at the door; we make sure no weapons are brought into the building; we watch how much alcohol is consumed by our customers.  We’re a responsible business that has to deal with situations brought to us, not caused by us. 

Hopefully you can understand that the record should be set straight and that everything we’ve done has been to act responsibly to those situations that have arrived at the business.

 

I do hope you’ll publish this even though we won’t get the graphics that would cause anyone to read it.

 

MARIA ELENA MERCADO

Owner


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