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Bomburger cancels alcohol license request

Councilman Keith Bohr uses the Monday public hearing as a platform to criticize a residents association.

March 09, 2011|By Mona Shadia, mona.shadia@latimes.com

A downtown burger joint withdrew its application to serve alcohol Monday night following a dispute between a council member and the head of a community group fighting the number of alcohol licenses in the area.

Bomburger's decision to rescind its alcohol license application didn't stop Councilman Keith Bohr from criticizing the Downtown Residents Assn., which is against the over-saturation of alcohol licenses in downtown, and its highly visible spokesman, Kim Kramer.

The alcohol license application for Bomburger was up for discussion Monday. Bohr had appealed the Planning Commission's decision to deny Bomburger's request.

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Although the public hearing was no longer necessary because the application had been rescinded, Bohr lengthened the meeting, asking Kramer to answer questions about the association's membership and how it conducts business.

Bohr also brought up old and contested issues between him and Kramer, their e-mail discussions, and allegations and accusations that Kramer uses bullying tactics to get his way.

Councilwoman Connie Boardman said the discussion was inappropriate because it was not on the agenda and turned a public meeting into a personal attack on a resident.

Mayor Joe Carchio stopped Bohr from speaking after Boardman, Councilman Joe Shaw and City Atty. Jennifer McGrath interrupted him several times. Bohr later said he wanted to bring the issue to light.

Bomburger initially requested a license to serve beer and wine with its new menu items in an effort to boost sales.

But the burger joint's request violated a 2010 city resolution that requires businesses serving alcohol to close at midnight.

Rob Sleenhof, Bomburger's owner, wanted to keep the restaurant's 2 a.m. closing time, but offered to stop serving alcohol at 10 p.m.

The Planning Commission denied Bomburger's request, citing the resolution.

Bohr said Bomburger's request didn't violate the spirit of the resolution and that discussing the request was necessary. He appealed the Planning Commission decision on Bomburger's behalf.

Sleenhof, who voluntarily withdrew his application, said he was surprised by the conflict caused by his request.

"We do not want to put the City Council in the precarious position of having to act on our application in this politically over-charged environment," Sleenhof wrote in a letter to the council.

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