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Jack in the Box after-hours permit suspended after appeal is filed

The neighborhood debate over whether the Jack in the Box on Geary is an appropriate after-hours environment rages on.

On January 24th, the Entertainment Commission approved the restaurant’s request to stay open after hours, with some conditions. Rather than stay open 24 hours, the Commission ruled that Jack in the Box must close between the hours of 4am and 6am.

The Entertainment Commission’s ruling confused many residents, especially those who had rallied via a petition to ask that the Jack in the Box be forced to close from 2am until 4am, not 4am until 6am. It’s during the 2am to 4am hours when nearby residents claim there is the most noise and disruption at the restaurant due to patrons leaving nearby bars when they close.

Unhappy with the decision of the Commission, a resident group has filed an appeal that states, “We do not believe Jack in the Box can operate safely and within rules required by the permit between the hours of 2am and 4am. The restaurant’s small size makes it impossible to prevent excessive noise, traffic and loitering, and statistics unambiguously demonstrate that after hours patronage has caused an increase in violent crime and created impermissible noise and litter in a residential area.”

The appeal was filed on behalf of the Richmond Residents Association and The Chinese American Voters Education Committee (CAVEC). Both are headed up by David Lee, a neighborhood resident and owner of a State Farm Insurance branch located near the Jack in the Box. He also sits on the city’s Recreation & Parks Commission.

Lee was also behind the petition that gathered over 1,500 signatures from residents prior to the January 24 hearing, asking the Entertainment Commission require that Jack in the Box remain closed from 2am until 4am.

So why did the Entertainment Commission ignore the requests of petitioners and even nearby bar owners who want the Jack in the Box closed from 2am until 4am? In a neighborhood meeting just days before the hearing, the SFPD indicated they were in favor of Jack in the Box staying open 24 hours, despite police calls from the business being down since they reduced their hours in early December.

Even more surprising was Commissioner Audrey Joseph’s rationale for approving the permit. “It’s very important that we have food [available late at night]; it helps people not be as drunk,” she said at the January 24 hearing.

One RichmondSFBlog reader called Joseph’s argument “ignorant and reckless”. “You don’t sober up in 30 minutes and you don’t sober up from eating. It might make you FEEL better, but it does nothing to change blood alcohol level,” commenter kayvaan wrote.

Jack in the Box’s status in the neighborhood initially 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 earlier this week, Albert remains in serious condition. “Albert was re-admitted to Kaiser Sacramento. No fever but he has ‘brain storms’ that cause his heart rate to soar, his body to contract, and he perspires A LOT!!” she wrote.

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. Then on January 24, the Entertainment Commission approved their permit, but with the condition that they close between the hours of 2am and 4am.

The appeal from Richmond Residents Association and The Chinese American Voters Education Committee will be heard by the Board of Appeals on February 29 at 5pm in City Hall, Room 416. The public is invited to attend the meeting and speak on the issue to the Board.

In the meantime, the permit that was issued on January 24 to Jack in the Box has been suspended. The restaurant will once again be forced to close between 2am and 6am until the matter is settled.

Sarah B.

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34 Comments

  1. Dear Susan and Gary,

    Bars do, indeed, have a legal responsibility not to continue to serve patrons who are clearly inebriated (drunk). and they can be held liable if it can be proved that they knowing served a patron who was intoxicated…and illegal activity assocated with drunkeness occurred afterwards.

    I do not know where these two men had been before they came into the Jack in the Box
    .
    Think you can appreciate, however, that sober, there are violent people and people who aren’t. And while some people drink and become “happy drunks,” alcohol will make other people mean and violent and nasty almost immediately.

    If you’ve ever seen a violent and angry =interact in a close space — even when sober — with someone who is a “happy drunk” you know that it is often not a happy combination.

    The Hearth across the street has, according to police records, not been a problem, Neither has the “Would You Believe?” bar.

    Those are the only two bar owners that Supervisor Mar invited to attend the community meeting — I had suggested that he speak to the people at The Abbey, Fizzee’s and Ireland’s 32 as well, but my understanding is that he didn’t.

  2. Dear “slobdog”: I appreciate and agree with your last comment.

    The franchisee for the JITB on Geary Blvd, Mr. Khan, HAS been working to make his locaton safer. He was invited to meet with the Community Police Advisory Board more than a year ago to discuss the problems occurring at his location and began working with San Francisco SAFE to improve it.

    The horrible attack on Albert Bartals has put Mr. Khan in a spotlight that no one would want to be in .

    I believe the best solution at this time is to close the location from 2- 4 a.m. (as do some 1500 other Richmond district residents) location should be closed at 2 a.m.

    Mr. Khan and I disagree on this. But as I have often stated on comment boards here and on other sites, Mr. Khan has always been courteous, professional, and willing to work on these issues.

    He is a business neighbor and I want very much for him to continue to operate his business on Geary. I know I do not speak for myself alone in saying this — that is one reason why the petition did not request that JITB’s after-hours permit be denied, but only that he close between 2-4.

  3. He probably makes most of his business in the entire day between 2-4, so why would he want to close?

  4. why would he want to close? So that no other person in the neighborhood is crticially injured as Albert Bartals was (and still is). Call me old-fashioned, but if someone were critically injured or killed in my franchise — or even on the sidewalk in front of it or in its parking lot — it would be devasted by that.

  5. oops — last line above should read: “I would be devastated by that.”

  6. @ Sue – good points – but in this case the injury didn’t happen at the JITB, but blocks away at a gas station.

  7. Dear Susan, I am well aware that Mr. Bartals was not run over at the Jack in the Box.

    Mr. Bartals got into an argument with a man while at Jack in the Box. Had Jack in the box been closed at 2 a.m., it is highly unlikely that the two men would ever have encountered each other, let alone have been in a fight in a small restaurant where Mr. Bartal was threated with being run over — and then followed down the street and run over. We have all said this many, many times.

    This spot has attracted problems for more than 30 years. That’s personal knowledge because it was a problem when I moved to the Richmond in 1979. Now a man has nearly died as the result of a fight that began there. Do we really have to have someone KILLED before we figure out that we have a problem we need to deal with?

  8. I think it’s wrong to blame jack in the box for the violence, while whose really at fault is the idiot who ran Bartal? Over. I dont think jitb is at fault for the violence, so they shouldn’t get penalized. Only way I see it as jitb fault is if they instigated in the violence which they didn’t.
    I totally agree with Tyler, jitb gets a lot of business around 2-4am,it makes no economic sense to close at that time. It’s like telling Starbucks to not sell coffee in the morning (ok I know it’s not a fair example but u get the point…)
    I don’t think its fair for myself or others who frequent themselves to jitb after bar hours get screwed over for some idiots actions. There is really almost nothing that’s open in the Richmond after 2am. I can only think of lucky penny and subway near video cafe that’s open 24 hrs. We need more late night eateries in this neighborhood.

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