When an authority figure like the captain of the local police stations calls you in for a meeting you would assume he’s about to lay down the law but that’s not what last week’s meeting with bar and restaurant owners at the Maverick Landing Community Center was all about.
District 7 Captain Frank Mancini called the meeting last Wednesday evening not to single out problem businesses or intimidate new bar or restaurant owners with threats of a tougher violation policy but simply to open up the lines of communication between District 7, business owners and residents in the community.
“When I was in Allston-Brighton we held similar meetings on a regular basis in order to establish dialogue between the police and licensed premises so owners knew what we expected of them and they could come to us with problems or issues they may have been having.”
While Mancini has adopted a more rigorous inspection of licensed establishments in the neighborhood compared to his predecessor he said at last week’s meeting he just wants everyone on the same page and working together so all of Eastie could benefit.
“When restaurants and bars are in compliance with their license, when things are run smoothly the entire community benefits,” said Mancini. “We are aiming for an East Boston where all the bars and restaurants are in compliance and become great destination spots for all residents to enjoy.”
Boston Licensing Board Chairwoman Nicole Murati Ferrer was on hand and reminded owners of their responsibility to abide by their contract with the city and state but reminded owners to never hesitate and pick up the phone and to call her office if there is any confusion or problem.
“We are public servants so we are here to serve you and work on your behalf,” she said. “There may be situations that occur at your establishment that are out of your control but cooperating with the police and the community goes a long way to establishing yourself as a respectable licensed premise.”
While some bar owners have complained that Mancini has adopted a policy of increased license premise inspections others have welcomed the measures to ensure the safety of bars, restaurants and their patrons.
While a majority of the Captain’s efforts have been to keep a close eye on some problem bars that affected the quality of life for many residents over the years, some of these bars never welcomed the trouble but were not quite sure how to handle it.
“What we’ve been doing is placing a cruiser outside these establishments at closing as a deterrent,” said Mancini. “People will be less likely to hang around, act out or get into fights when they see a patrolman sitting outside.”
One bar that has completely turned around over the past several months is El Kiosko in Orient Heights Square. Once considered a problem bar and a nuisance to neighbors, El Kiosko’s owners have welcomed the police presence at closing, has worked with Councilor Sal LaMattina and East Boston Main Streets to make facade improvements and now regularly attends Orient Heights Neighborhood Council meetings.
By having these meetings on a monthly basis, Mancini hopes to see more success stories like El Kiosko across the neighborhood.
“We are the policing agents for the licensing board,” said Mancini. “We have stepped up our regular inspections of bars, formed an action plan with police and bar owners and will have a meeting once a month so everyone is on the same page and bar owners understand their responsibilities as a liquor license holder in the Commonwealth and know we are here to not harass but to help.”