EL SEGUNDO — A city councilman says his business will continue to offer some entertainment even though his fellow council members voted unanimously last week to void the firm's entertainment permit.
Mayor Charles (Chip) Armstrong said he was "astonished" at Councilman Jack Siadek's response to the council's action.
Siadek, who owns the Capistrano restaurant in the Embassy Suites hotel and provides food and beverage service throughout the inn, said he interprets the council's decision as prohibiting entertainment only in the restaurant and bar. He said he will no longer offer such public entertainment but will continue to provide entertainment in private banquet rooms for such functions as wedding receptions, dinner dances and corporate parties. He said he has about 40 functions planned through the holiday season.
Armstrong disagreed with Siadek's interpretation, saying the council's intent was to ban "all entertainment . . . period" at the hotel.
Council members voted 4 to 0 Wednesday to rescind Siadek's entertainment privileges until the city staff could determine whether the hotel meets city parking requirements. Siadek did not vote because of his conflict of interest.
The vote granted the appeal of resident Ed Erdley, who had contested a Planning Commission decision in July that amended Siadek's conditional-use permit and allowed entertainment. Erdley contended that the hotel lacks adequate parking.
Siadek said Thursday that he does not believe he is violating city parking requirements and said he refuses to jeopardize his business for actions he claims are "politically motivated."
"Parking meets the requirements that were in effect at the time the original permit was granted," he said. "There's no way this issue can be resolved before the holiday season, and I would lose my shirt if I had to cancel all the bookings I have for that period."
'Can't Afford' Loss
Siadek, whose business opened Aug. 1, estimated he would lose "upwards of $200,000" if he complied with the ban. "I just can't afford to take that kind of loss on a newly opened restaurant."
Siadek, who frequently is at odds with at least three other council members, claimed that he was being "singled out for personal and political reasons"--a statement that provoked a strong response from the mayor and council member Keith Schuldt.
"I told him to his face that I never worked so hard to keep a man in business who undoubtedly would turn right around and kick me . . . if he had the chance," Armstrong fumed. "We did everything we could. There was just no alternative. He is in violation of city parking codes. We can't give him preferential treatment just because he's a city councilman."
As to Siadek's current plan, Armstrong said, "I thought Jack was smarter than that. I'm not sure what the consequences will be, but I know the city will do whatever must be done to uphold its laws."
Council 'Was Bleeding'
Said Schuldt: "The council was really bleeding over this decision. We wanted to help out the people who have these events scheduled, but we can't circumvent the law to do it. We have to be held accountable for our decisions."
City Atty. Leland Dolley said there was nothing in the city codes that would allow for a temporary permit until exact parking requirements are determined. He said he could not estimate how long the determination will take because records dating back several years will have to be checked.
According to Dolley, Siadek's original conditional use permit, granted in 1983, prohibited entertainment. Siadek obtained an amendment to that permit during the summer, but Erdley's appeal--filed days later--effectively nullified that amendment until the appeal could be heard last week.
"Any time an appeal is filed, that puts everything on hold," Dolley said. "I told Jack that in August."
Siadek denies receiving notification of the appeal and said he was unaware that it voided his entertainment privileges. Siadek was cited by the city on Sept. 19 and again on Sept. 24 for violating his conditional use permit by providing entertainment.