“NIMBY Brown” Strikes Again On The Westside

Sandy Brown, the crochety president of something called the Holmby-Westwood Property Owners Association*, has set her not-in-my-back-yard targets on a prospective Westwood eatery, Sofrito, a Cuban restaurant.

Having already cozied up to the builders of Palazzo Westwood, an enormous cookie cutter “mixed use community” (their description) which will have a very real impact on her beloved hood (compare this and this to see her 180 degree turnaround from a 2003’s concerned critic to 2004’s advocate for the Palazzo), Brown has set her sites on the Alhambra-based family-owned small business, which is aims to feature (gasp) salsa dancing. It was not known at press time if that most forbidden of all dances–the lambada–would be allowed at Sofrito.

Here’s the crux of their complaint as worded by our crack Daily Bruin reporter, of course with no direct quote attribution so we can’t tell whose ri-goddamn-diculous thinking this is exactly:

…Westwood homeowners, community leaders and the members of the Los Angeles Police Department say the restaurant could quickly spiral into a nightclub, engendering crime in the area, if not properly limited.

Don’t you hate it when restaurants spiral into nightclubs and engender crime in the area due to not being properly limited? I know I fucking hate it when that happens.

Another unattributed mind-boggling gem of logic further mangled by our ace reporter:

Fears of late-night beer smells and fighting are compounded, community leaders say, by the fact that high rents pressure restaurants to turn a profit by selling a lot of alcohol.

Nimby Brown has a long history of such sniping at businesses and devlopements she doesn’t think will fit in the area. She has bravely taken on all kinds of neighborhood villains, from condo highrises on Wilshire corridor, to a proposed assisted living development to the Playboy mansion.

If a nightclub-like atmosphere and noise is a concern, you have to wonder if a Cuban restaurant with closed doors and a basement-level dance floor would be louder or more trafficed than the lively Habibi and Gypsy Cafes around the corner, both of which have open fronts allowing dance music and hookah smoke to waft out onto the sidewalk. (Though Brown did help get the Gypsy’s belly dancing performances shut down, praise Allah.)

Brown is also a noted expert on alcohol sales and regulation:

“There is definitely an over-concentration. Westwood has more alcoholic serving places than it should have,” said Sandy Brown

We’ve had a lot of problems with alcohol enforcement in Westwood,” said Sandy Brown … We must pay closer attention to who is getting served and who is purchasing alcohol.”

Finally, in 1998-99, she memorably led an effective campaign to shut down Duet, an upscale piano bar/restaurant that had a short life on Westwood Blvd in 1998-99. Her complaint included the detail “she claims she has seen people dancing inside Duet.” Have we, as a society, I ask, still not absorbed the many lessons of Footloose?

“You have to understand that anything that opens in another community and is then put into the Village is not the same thing,” said Sandy Brown, demonstrating the gift of elegant locution with which God graced her.

The former Duet space is now a Chili’s.

*The Holmby-Westwood Property Owners Association not to be confused with The Village Green Preservation Society