"We've been hitting the liquor establishments very hard," said Mayor Brian Stack last week. Stack was critical of Puerto De La Union, in particular, at its hearing before the ABC Board on July 3. "We are trying to send the message that we will close [bothersome bars] down," he said.
One day after Puerto De La Union was issued a 30-day suspension at the July 3 Board of Commissioners meeting, the owner, Layda Flores, filed an application for appeal with the state's ABC board, allowing the establishment to remain open until an opinion is rendered.
The city's Board of Commissioners act as the city's ABC board and hold hearings at the end of each Board of Commissioners meeting. The hearings concern possible liquor license violations, as well as transfers of liquor licenses.
When the establishment was in front of the Board of Commissioners for their ABC hearing, Flores pleaded guilty to the city's charge that fights had taken place outside the bar. But she later said that she didn't understand the proceedings, so she appealed to the state.
Farmer argued at the hearing that the establishment is a "general nuisance," citing numerous occasions when police had to respond to the establishment.
"This has been a problem bar for a long period of time," said Farmer recently.
According to Farmer, the establishment received a 30 suspension of its liquor license.
However, the next day, Flores filed an application for appeal with the state ABC Board, claiming that she did not understand her charges and was misrepresented. Flores now has new representation.
Upon filing for an appeal, the establishment is legally able to remain open, said Farmer.
Farmer said that the state has 45 days to review the case and render an opinion.
"I am just as frustrated as you are," said Stack to city resident Elizabeth Rodriguez, who complained about the bar at the July 20 Board of Commissioners meeting. "But there is a process we have to follow, unfortunately."
While the city waits for the state's decision in the case, Rodriguez says that she and her family are left to put up with noise and fights in her neighborhood.
The bar is currently open from 2 p.m. until 3 a.m.
"If any establishment disrupts the neighborhood, then it bothers me," said Stack.
"My kids are nervous," said Rodriguez. "Even myself. I cannot sleep."
Farmer feels confident that the state will side with the city in giving the establishment a suspension.
"They have a bad record," said Farmer.