By Jim Clark
There was no lack of outrage expressed by the Somerville Board of Aldermen during their regular meeting last Thursday evening. The object of their ire was the extent to which the ruckus that took place at the Night Games lounge, located at the Holiday Inn on Washington St., last December disturbed local residents and gave the entire city a proverbial black eye.
The incident in question took place on the morning of Friday, December 28, 2012, when Somerville Police were called to the hotel in response to a fight between approximately 10-12 females, which quickly escalated. State Police and Medford Police were called in to assist in closing down the event at the Night Games lounge. Additionally, a shooting reportedly took place at a nearby service station, which has been linked to the incident. Several residents of the area made complaints to police about noise and general rowdiness by attendees of the event.
Ward 7 Alderman Robert C. Trane led the charge by saying, “I think it behooves this Board to prepare a resolution to be sent to the Licensing Board urging them to use everything within their power to send a message to this organization, to this group of people who are running this place, that this is not going to be tolerated.”
Additionally, Trane said, “Somerville has changed dramatically. We are a destination for people to come here and dine and enjoy themselves. Let’s send a message, loud and clear, that this is not going to be tolerated.”
Alderman Maureen Cuff-Bastardi, of Ward 1, reported that “within a two year period, between January 1, 2011, and December 31, 2012, the Somerville Police responded to calls for service at the Holiday Inn on Washington St. 223 times.” She went on to say, “It is my hope that by having the Chief of Police and the City Solicitor appear before the Board’s Public Health and Safety Committee to discuss this event and make recommendations, it will hopefully prevent anything like this from happening again.”
Alderman At Large Dennis M. Sullivan offered his take on the situation as well. “As the Chair of Licenses and Permits, I understand that Somerville is a great city. We need a hotel like the Holiday Inn. In certain areas they do a great job. But this new management team just does not get it. I hope they get the message loud and clear.”
John M. Connolly, Alderman At Large and Board Vice-President, was even more withering in his assessment of the hotel’s management team: “They’re lousy concert promoters. Essentially, they were trying to make a lot of money in an afternoon. The real hero that night was Lt. Mulcahey, who had the common sense to shut down that event.” Connolly elaborated that the event was advertised all over Boston, including Internet postings that the Alderman found highly objectionable. “It’s up to us now to speak to the License Commission about the remedies that they have in their hands to send a message to other places about what types of events they’re going to contract to be used on their premises.”
Alderman At Large Bruce M. Desmond echoed fellow Board members’ concerns, saying, “This place has been nothing but problems since day one.”
The Board unanimously approved a resolution requesting that the Licensing Commission take all appropriate measures to implement appropriate sanctions based on the findings of its investigation.
A public hearing on the matter will be held on January 23, 6:00 p.m., at the Tufts Administration Building building, 240 Holland St. The public is invited to attend and contribute their views.