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Downey Residents Irate About New Adult Cantina, Will Protest Today

March 5, 2022

By Brian Hews

Ojos Locos Sports Cantina has caused some Downey residents to question the leadership of the city, with the cantina’s scantily, with emphasis on scantily, dressed waitresses.

The controversial restaurant received approval from the Planning Commission, despite concerns over safety issues and the lack of clothing on the waitresses.

Those voting to approve were Chair Patrick Owens, appointed by Sean Ashton; Vice Chair Arturo Montoya (Catherin Alvarez);, and Miguel Duarte (Mayor Blanca Pacheco).

Some on the Planning Commission said that since it was classified as a restaurant, they couldn’t regulate the clothing, but many residents doubt that.

In response, the Downey City Council will likely amend the Municipal Code at its upcoming March 8 meeting to establish employee dress standards for all restaurants and bars in the city.

Meanwhile, the vote by the Planning Commission and the lack of research by their staff has many Downey residents up in arms.

There have been multiple concerns over Ojos clientele and resident safety. According to Downey Police Department, other locations have been plagued with criminal activity, including shootings, stabbings, and problems with outlaw motorcycle gangs.

Ojos is a chain restaurant with 21 locations; the newest addition to the chain will be at 8350 Firestone Boulevard, which is the first California location.

In 2019 at the Ojos Arizona restaurant, Mesa police responded to the area when the restaurant’s management reported “they were having problems” with several male customers. One of the men ignored police commands and assaulted one of the officers. They attempted to restrain the man by tasing and striking him, which resulted in a struggle. One officer fired his weapon and hit the man in the lower left hip.

In February 2021, a man was shot to death, and another injured during a fight outside the Houston Ojos

In August 2021 at the Albuquerque Ojos,  a shooting killed one and left three others wounded. According to investigators, the shooting happened around 9:45 p.m. after “some kind of altercation” near the entrance of the restaurant, according to investigators.

A Ojos representative glossed over the criminal activity question and said, “that attire was limited to special events.”

Commissioner Art Montoya (approved) said it was a “difficult decision.”

Montoya told the local newspaper, “It’s a restaurant that has a business model that seems to be successful in other locations in multiple states…but I do see the concerns that there is potential for loud music, that there are concerns regarding the ‘costuming’ of the employees as well as the safety concerns that could be drawn to the establishment.”

Despite concerns, the project was approved 3-1, with Commissioner Ortiz in opposition.

 

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Downey residents will be glad to hear that the restaurant will operate seven days a week. Security guards will be present during peak hours, and can be increased if needed.

But that might not help with criminals either.

In 2020, at the same Houston Ojos, multiple cellphone videos showed an altercation causing a security guard to shoot a customer several times, killing him; another was severely injured.

Police said the bar was shutting down at 2 a.m., and three security guards tried to clear everyone out.

In a statement, Mayor Blanco Pacheco was non-committal, “Keeping our residents in mind, we will address their concerns to help regulate employee attire at this establishment.”

“Why didn’t she address before it was approved,” one resident told HMG-CN.

 

 

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