Shortly after Roy Wasden was hired as chief of police, I suggested we grow community entertainment slowly enough to keep in control. Under the leadership of John Sanders, the car clubs put together a Graffiti venue. Wasden reviewed the plans thoroughly and the annual celebration returned.
Then, Chris Ricci brought X-Fest to Modesto. Again, Wasden worked closely with the organizer. With excellent management, Ricci puts on a safe program for a large crowd every year.
Finally, downtown Modesto has become a cultural mecca, with restaurants, night clubs and the performing arts center. The chief has worked closely with nightclub owners to minimize trouble.
Unfortunately, at least one owner has not shown a commitment to run a trouble-free operation.
Wasden appears to be saying that we need to evaluate where we are. Based on weekly arrests and the number of officers required to keep the night scene orderly, perhaps downtown has reached its limit.
Constrained by budget, the Modesto City Council has not been able to hire more police officers to accommodate the rapidly expanding night entertainment industry. We don't want to return to the violence that previously shut everything down.
If nightclub owners want to continue downtown entertainment, then Wasden must be recognized as the gatekeeper and they should work closely with him. Appointing a committee won't prevent trouble.
The public has little patience with club owners who provide entertainment that attracts troublemakers. While club owners have a right to earn a living, they are to do so in a responsible manner that does not harm the community.
BRUCE R. FROHMAN