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Jan-12-2012

City delays decision on Jack in the Box after-hours permit

On Tuesday evening, the City’s Entertainment Commission met. On their agenda was to decide whether or not the Jack in the Box on Geary at 11th Avenue should get their after-hours permit approved, which would enable them to once again stay open from 2am until 6am every night.

During the meeting, the Commission voted instead to delay action on Jack In The Box’s application until their meeting on January 24 (6:30pm at City Hall). The reason given was to allow time for Supervisor Eric Mar to convene a neighborhood meeting that includes residents and the owners of the Jack in the Box restaurant.

Prior to the meeting, a petition was circulated that opposes Jack in the Box’s request to stay open after hours.

The petition has received 714 digital signatures so far. In the CBS news video above, organizer David Lee claims that he has gathered over 1,500 signatures from residents opposed to the Jack in the Box returning to 24 hour operations.

Jack in the Box’s status in the neighborhood came into question after a tragic incident. In the early hours of Thanksgiving morning, a fight inside the Jack in the Box later led to a brutal hit and run accident on the corner of 9th and Geary.

The victim, 29 year old Albert Bartal, remains hospitalized with serious brain trauma. Bartal’s family started a Facebook page and a website to raise funds for his recovery. According to a post from his mother, Albert remains in a coma.

Police eventually arrested Eduardo Shaparo Esquivel, a 22-year old South San Francisco man who was identified from security footage from inside the Jack in the Box during the initial fight.

Since the incident, it was revealed that the Jack in the Box was staying open 24 hours a day, despite not having the required city permits to do so. As a result, they were forced to cut their hours and close at 2am every night.

The Entertainment Commission will address the issue again on their January 24 agenda. In the meantime, expect a neighborhood meeting to be scheduled by Supervisor Mar.

On a humorous note, the Examiner pointed out today that while testifying at the Commission meeting, Supervisor Mar admitted a penchant for Jack in the Box’s tacos.

“I eat late night tacos at Jack in the Box,” he said. “I just admitted I eat fast food.” It’s a tad ironic given his McDonald’s Happy Meal legislation that went into effect last month (which even earned him an interview on the Daily Show).

Sarah B.

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2:50 pm | Posted under Business, Eric Mar | 17 comments
  1. Susan said (01/12/12; 3:35 pm):

    I hope that Mr. Mar’s staff will share the info on his community meeting with you, to share with us!

  2. xtine said (01/12/12; 9:08 pm):

    I really hope they get their after hours permit. This whole thing has been overblown and yes, I have lived in the Richmond. i just moved from there last month and had been there for 3 years, right on 11th Ave between Geary and Clement. If we could have afforded it, we would have bought a home in the neighborhood. There’s all kinds of great restaurants and markets there, jack in the box included!

  3. J said (01/13/12; 11:34 am):

    There are very few places that are open 24hrs any more after Thai me Up was shut down. I would like for tem to stay opne, but there are some serious issues with the crowd that goes there. I’d love to be able to hear from cops on the frequency they are called to that location after 2; if it is anything more than once a month or so, it should be shut down.

  4. fedup said (01/13/12; 11:52 am):

    They should tell the bars to shut down earlier. It’s not Jack in the Box’s fault because the bar’s clientele are not up to snuff in the hood.

    Eric Mar – what a hypocrite.

  5. Jennifer Cunanan said (01/13/12; 6:18 pm):

    As I formally stated in the Hearing before the Entertainment Commission, this Jack in the Box has been in operation for decades and has always been a 24 hour fast food eatery. This restaurant has been corporate owned and then transferred to franchise owner in 2008. Historically, this Jack in the Box has been in compliance with the city of SF, with all regulations, including paid permit fees. Somewhere during its history, there was a mistake with the permit. After the incident, and we were notified about our permit, and we worked with the Entertainment Commission to immediately resolve it. We recognize that late night nuisances are a problem in the neighborhood — largely due to drunk patrons from the nearby bars. It is a neighborhood problem, not just a Jack in the Box problem, and together with the nearby bars, restaurants, and businesses in the area we should cooperatively work together with Richmond District SFPD to improve safety and quietness in the late night/early morning hours. In general, San Francisco is a 24 hour city with not that many 24 hour eateries. As some customers came forward during the Hearing, they were happy to have a choice and an option of getting a fast hot meal during the odd hours of 2AM to 6AM, and never had a problem. I am the designated representative to the Jack in the Box franchise owner. I am also a long-time resident of San Francisco, and late night patron of bars, clubs and restaurants. Having late night options is what makes SF a fun destination city, but recognize that safety and general neighborhood concerns are important as well.

  6. Sam said (01/13/12; 10:35 pm):

    If Jack in the Box does not have a late night permit, they should not be open 24/7. I hear police sirens at that location late at night all the time, draining our police resources and our tax dollars. Richmond is a residential district, let’s keep it that way and deny the late night permit!

  7. Phil said (01/13/12; 11:13 pm):

    Where is Charles Bronson when we need him? This is what happens when a few jerks – relative to most law abiding citizens – go binge drinking; they ruin it for everyone else. Alcohol and “quiet evenings” are mutually exclusive.

    Local bars need to do a better job policing their own! Yes, they are businesses, but they are in the unusual position of a natural conflict of interest when they find themselves refusing drinks to someone who is inebriated. Bars make money from the large $$$ margin they gain from alcohol; they are not likely to police their own, too closely.

    Jack in the Box is a rather innocent victim in all this. Incidentally, there is another all night eatery open next door to Trader Joe’s, at Geary and Masonic.

    A few other things:
    I think it should be a matter of record about what *percentage* of total business the Jack in the Box derives between 2-6am. That statistic should be broken down into two segments – i.e. 2-4am, and 4-6am. It would be interesting to see how much business derives right after the bars close (without knowing actual numbers, just percentages).

    Jack in the Box should have a strict policy of not serving anyone who is overtly drunk, loud, disrespectful, etc.

    One solution to this problem would be to *require* local bars to hire a bouncer (or bouncers) for the 103 all night places, and post those bouncers between 2-4am. Some small percentage of the cost of the bouncer should be borne by Jack in the Box. If anyone causes a problem, they get tossed out. If someone is arrested, his/her picture should be distributed to local bars, and if s/he is let in to any one of them in future, the bar should receive a strict fine.

    Last, Jack in the Box tacos are far from the fat-saturated burgers at most fast food places. A good bean taco is not a bad thing. So those calling Mar a hypocrite are going a bit far.

  8. Phil said (01/13/12; 11:15 pm):

    up above, there’s a typo – it should read as follows: “One solution to this problem would be to *require* local bars to hire a bouncer (or bouncers) for the 1-3 all night places” (as opposed to 103)

  9. mel said (01/14/12; 12:44 am):

    Sam: Are you sure that you are not hearing sirens from Fire Station 31 on regular calls? It is located within about a block of Jack-N-Box.

  10. mel said (01/14/12; 12:53 am):

    Phil: Most bars have bouncers or at least doormen. As to the continual distribution of photos to local establishments, how do you propose this be funded, not to mention, how far does the distribution go? The whole city, the entire Bay Area? And, what is the guarantee that a mug shot is going to be good enough during a cursory review when that person entering a bar is all fresh and shiny?

    Not to mention, there are those pecking for a fight, regardless of intoxication. Just because they had a few drinks at a bar does not make the bar culpable (especially if they were not exhibiting such behaviors at the bar nor showing symptoms of intoxication). If the person was not over-served, and he or she causes harm to someone or commits a crime, the person is responsible, not the bar nor the places they visit after a night on the town.

  11. mel said (01/14/12; 12:57 am):

    FYI, Jack N Box tacos are not bean tacos, they are ground beef, american cheese, taco sauce, and lettuce.

  12. Jack said (01/14/12; 6:32 pm):

    OK people, lemme share my perspective on this matter, which I think you’ll agree is rather unique in that 1) I am a 15+ yr resident of the Richmond District, 2) I work in the nightlife/entertainment industry and 3) I am a frequent patron of this establishment during the disputed hours. (For the record: I actually do have a very healthy diet, but sometimes I just need a couple of tacos at 3am…)

    First, what happened on Thanksgiving night was absolutely horrific, no question. It was a disgusting act of violence and totally unnecessary. And I wish nothing but a speedy recovery and justice for Mr. Bartal and his family. Let’s not forget it was Mr. Esquivel who made the choice to continue the fight and got into his car and chased down Mr. Bartel. It is Mr. Esquivel who is responsible for his actions. NOT the restaurant.

    IF this Jack in the Box location has been negligent of anything it is not doing it’s thorough due diligence in researching and insuring they had all the necessary permits. And let’s be real for a second: the permitting process in the city of San Francisco can be–and often is–a very complicated, confusing and arduous process. So, what some of us out here in the Richmond Dist might call an “In law apartment” the City building inspector calls an “illegal subdivision.” (ahem…)

    Now, because of the late night hours that comes with the entertainment industry I often find myself getting a late night snack at this Jack in the Box location. And I can say with out any equivocation that they handle their business with hospitality, efficiency, and often with a smile on their face no matter how busy and/or crowded it gets. The dining room is always clean and presentable and they always get my order correct. Plus, most of my late night visits are shared with a small handful of other patrons who just want to get their food and go. A vast majority of the time, the patrons are quiet and well behaved. That’s the reality of this place. It’s usually pretty quiet during the late night hours.

    Yes, this establishment can get very busy on weekend nights after the bars close. This is a situation that can be easily dealt with by a comprehensive review of their security measures and implementing some adjustments so that the surrounding neighborhood is not impacted by their customers. It’s an easy solution that similar businesses in other neighborhoods have made, much to the satisfaction of the businesses, their patrons and the neighbors.

    Now, I take serious exception with David Lee’s on line petition. First with his exaggerated numbers that he intentionally falsely reported to the press. Plus, if you look at this on line petition it is easily filled out with bots. There’s no captcha, no email verification, you can enter gibberish into the fields and it will accept it. Before we give his petition any credence, we need to vet all the signatures. Personally, this petition doesn’t come close to passing the smell test. His campaign seems to be opportunistically capitalizing on an isolated and tragic incident; which is a truly low rent tactic. With or with out the bots.

    We should be encouraging successful businesses along the Geary Blvd corridor. Not penalizing them. There will always be night life and bars and music and fun in SF. It brings in millions of dollars to the city and into our neighborhood. This Jack in the Box issue is an easily solvable one. Pulling their late night permit is reactionary and in the long term will not alleviate any of these problems.

    OK one last clarifying point: Nightclubs who provide amplified sound entertainment are currently required to have at least one security guard at the door, and if their capacity is over a certain number (I can’t remember what that number is at the moment) they are required to have addition security guards. So this is a safety measure that’s already in place and seems to be very effective. Nightclubs take security very seriously and work very hard to provide both fun and safe entertainment. A little bit of security goes a long way to quelling any potential situations.

    Keep calm and carry on…

  13. mel said (01/14/12; 8:40 pm):

    Well said, Jack.

  14. andy said (01/16/12; 12:26 pm):

    fast, yes. food, no. it’s garbage u r eating, dummies.

  15. Public meeting about Jack in the Box after-hours permit this Friday, 2pm | Richmond District Blog of San Francisco (richmondsfblog.com) said (01/17/12; 11:10 am):

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  16. Dman said (01/17/12; 8:21 pm):

    I agree with most of the postings here that Jack in the Box should not be penalized because a few drunks frequented their establishment and created a (big) problem. We have two other restaurants in the Richmond that are open late – Mel’s and the Lucky Penny. Logically, if Jack in the Box is closed, the bars will let out and the same drunks will just move the problems there instead. I watched the testimony of neighbors on the Entertainment Commission’s meeting on sfgov, and despite hearing how frequently the police are called to JIB, I’ve yet to ever see anything posted on the Richmond Police Blotter, which I read weekly. If this has been happening “for years,” why haven’t the incidents been documented and brought to the public’s attention before this? I personally don’t eat fast food, but adding two security guards nightly seems to be a fair resolution; I do think Jack in the Box was negligent in not having a security guard there the night this incident occurred. Unfortunately, this seems to be a typical pattern in San Francisco: someone finally gets hurt or killed, and then suddenly everyone is up in arms re: safety. This has been my feeling re: the OL and HSB concerts in Golden Gate Park as the crowds continue to grow; when an incident finally occurs that results in violence, then people will finally think about safety. Until then, our “leaders” walk around with their heads in the clouds.

  17. Violent, Drunk-Filled Fast Food Joint Wins Major Victory Over Area NIMBYS | Overnight Satellite said (01/25/12; 11:37 am):

    […] activist David Lee claims he has gathered over 1,500 signatures on a petition to shrink the operating hours of a site he called “a serious public nuisance in […]

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