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Several residents suspect corruption in Ojos Locos bar’s City approval

Photo: Carlos Casillas Gómez

Critics of the Ojos Locos Sports Bar project, who demonstrated last Saturday, suspect that the approval from City of Downey Planning Commission was obtained by bribery

By: CCG / Emmanuel J. Salazar-Lira

About twenty people, including two men, gathered on Saturday the 5th, around 1:00 P.M. on the corner of Firestone Boulevard and Dolan, where the Denny’s restaurant used to be.

A few days ago, a controversy had been unleashed on social media due to certain information and photos that another local newspaper had published in an article.

Even a resident named Marcella had been inviting on social media, those who disagreed with the upcoming opening of what will be the first bar of the Ojos Locos chain in California, which promises to generate 120 jobs here.

So, 18 women and two men attended to the call and rallied at the corner where the reconstruction work will be carried out, so later this year, according to Ojos Locos headquarter, the sports bar will be opening where waitresses in daring uniforms will serve.

Photo: CCG

They accuse there were bribes

Lupita, one of those who attended the rally and a resident of Downey for 40 years, stated that the problem arose from the suspicious approval gained by the controversial bar, from the City of Downey Planning Commission for this business to obtain its commercial license.

We are completely against this business being established here in Downey,” says Lupita. “Residents are not fools. These guys (Ojos Locos headquarters) have so much power, so much money as to have convinced the members of the Council and the Planning Commissioners to grant them the permission”.

To support her suspicion, Lupita cited the example of a pizza shop owner in the city who has struggled to get municipal permits from Downey to open another business.

The man told us that the City Council and the Planning Commission are absolutely hard to convince in any business plan, which makes us think that there were other reasons to convince them to allow the cantina (Ojos Locos) to be installed here…because we all like money, right?”

Opinions are divided among the protesters themselves; a few mention that they should change the location of the bar since it would be close to Downey High School and some churches.

A few others comment that they should only take care of the dress codes and the security of the place, but some assure that they will do everything possible to request the absolute cancellation of the municipal license for the bar.

Photo: CCG

One of the two gentlemen who attended the protest, Raúl Rosales, expressed his point of view:

A few years ago, the billiards that was nearby (Downey Billiards) were denied the sale of liquor and a dancing girls show”, criticizes Raúl. “I don’t understand how (the City) allowed this business to settle. I have my suspicions…some officials could be offering themselves to the highest bidder.”

What are they complaining about?

The complaints of some residents, the vast majority of whom are women, ranging from the treatment of waitresses as “objects”, to the assumption that this business will attracting violence both indoors and outdoors.

They mention other newspaper articles where they report that in other branches of the Texas-based restaurant chain, there have been shootings and violence.

Additionally, the complainants state that the waitresses who serve the bar regularly work in lingerie or bikinis. Finally, they also regret how annoying the noise generated by the high decibels of music will be.

The protesters took advantage to call on more residents who do not agree with the operation of the sports bar in the city, to raise their voices at the next Council Meeting on Tuesday night, March 8.

Photo: CCG

What do sports bar say?

According to a letter from Ojos Locos spokesperson, they intend to clarify misinformation that the other local newspaper generated among some residents:

“ similarly positioned sports bar restaurants with female servers, our standard uniform includes skorts and t-shirts. The picture posted with the (Patriot) article was misleading in suggesting that our servers wear lingerie as their uniforms. This is not the case.” says one of its paragraphs.

In addition, a quote in the article suggested that our restaurants are known for attracting criminal behavior and even biker gangs. This is simply not true and apparently the person who said this must have confused our concept with that of a different brand.”

The City Council will consider amending the Municipal Code at its upcoming City Council meeting, scheduled for March 8th, to review and establish employee dress standards for all restaurants and bars in Downey.