Anyone who's been waiting for the other shoe to drop in Scottsdale's nightlife scene following the violence at Martini Ranch this past weekend, take note: It's in the process of going down.
Scottsdale Mayor Jim Lane released a statement earlier this week indicating that he and other city officials will attempt to pass a municipal ordinance increasing security requirements at bars, clubs, and other nightlife-oriented businesses within the city. The move comes in response to the stabbing of a 34-year-old Martini Ranch patron early Monday morning at the Old Town venue.
It was the second stabbing to occur at the Old Town dance club and music venue within the past six months. Onetime ASU football player Tyrice Thompson, a security employee at Martini Ranch, was stabbed and killed there in January.
In his statement, which was released to the media on Tuesday, Lane cited both attacks as the impetus for increased safety requirements at Scottsdale nightlife establishments.
"The two incidents at Martini Ranch in the last six months, although isolated, demonstrate the need to improve safety in Scottsdale's bars and nightclubs," Lane says. "We are working collaboratively with our business community toward that end."
Hizzoner wasn't the only one releasing statements in the wake of Monday's club-related violence; Martini Ranch's proprietors released the following earlier this week:
In light of recent events that have taken place at Martini Ranch, we would like to state that we take the well-being of our patrons and our staff very seriously and we take the utmost precaution to make our establishment as safe as possible for them.
Unfortunately, there [have] been two instances that were beyond our control where isolated, random acts of violence have taken place. These acts were perpetrated by individuals who acted maliciously and deliberately to injure and maim others. The acts were done instantly and not preceded by any commotion or disturbance to alert our staff of a problem and therefore were impossible to prevent.
As always we will continue to re-evaluate our security protocols with our in-house staff, as well as to consult with Scottsdale Police, to ensure the safest environment possible for our staff and patrons. Lastly, we hope for the perpetrators of these cowardly acts to be swiftly brought to justice and we wish the family and friends of the victims our sincerest sympathies and hope that this is the last of these unfortunate events.
Martini Ranch's proprietors, however, won't be the only bar and club owners checking in with the Scottsdale PD in the future regarding patron safety, especially if the proposed security ordinances become law later this summer.
According to Lane's statement, city officials have been working on the ordinance since February, in the weeks following the stabbing death of Thompson, and the proposed law "contains many things we believe will improve safety at bars and nightclubs throughout Scottsdale."
According to a draft copy of the law, the ordinance would potentially obligate any business that features a DJ or live entertainment, utilizes a promoter, checks IDs upon entry, and either serves alcohol or functions as a "teen dance center" (read: all-ages club) to meet certain requirements to operate.
This checklist of sorts that pretty much every nightlife-oriented joint in Scottsdale will now have to follow includes having a "written public safety plan" (which covers everything from crowd management and evacuation routes to the parking situation) approved by city's police chief, employing certain numbers of security personnel based upon crowd sizes, and requiring specific training levels.
The ordinance mandates at least one security employee per 50 people -- and possibly more if a major rager is in progress and a particular joint's crowd exceeds 500. And each of these doormen, bouncers, or other beefy men manning the velvet ropes will have to be skilled in "liquor law compliance, general security training, crowd management, and fire safety." (No word on if they're obligated to have MMA training, badass tatts, or the ability to cast imposing glares.)
Here's the kicker: Nightlife establishments that have two or more "public safety incidents" (which are specifically described) within a seven-day period or three within a specific month will then be required to hire at least two (or possibly more) off-duty cops in addition to the normal security force.
The Scottsdale City Council is expected to consider and possibly vote on the ordinance in late August. In the meantime, city officials will hold two public meetings on the matter on July 16 at the Scottsdale Human Resources building and on July 24 at Scottsdale P.D. District 3 station. Both start at 10 a.m.
One Scottsdale bar owner, who asked not to be identified, told New Times that while increased security would benefit some of Old Town's rowdier joints, it might penalize places that already have things under control. In other words, it could be an extra expense for some clubs that are struggling to survive.
"Bars that don't have any offenses and are doing what they need to do, and they're already training their security properly, I think it's not fair to them," the owner says. "I think it would be a hassle from a financial standpoint, and whether you're able to afford it."
They also feel that a key issue isn't necessarily the number of security, but that such bouncers or doormen are sufficiently trained, especially when it comes to recognizing when overly inebriated clubgoers should be cut off. Because, news flash, the Scottsdale party crowd loves to drink to excess.
"I see a lot of bars that are over-serving all the time without any prejudice about who's walking in the door, all they're worried about is making a dollar. And those people that come into my place that are clearly over-served to the point where we have to help them get into transportation to get home, we won't serve 'em."
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And, they add, excessive booze is often a prelude to violence.
"I think there's so much over-serving in this town that it leads to a lot of destruction," the owner says. "I don't see any of the usual violence happening to any people that are sober."