To the editor:
I was surprised to see this story made headlines in the Sept. 19 newspaper and I apparently see a different story than your reporter Sam Jefson.
The Copa Cabana’s renewal liquor license had already been approved by the Iowa ABD and by the DRAM carrier. The current liquor license was due to expire on Sept. 5. Therefore, the renewal license was brought before the city council at the council’s Sept. 4th meeting. I was told the city council voted to temporarily suspend the renewal based on a statement made to them by Police Chief Sonny Bruns that an Aug. 31 fight had happened in the Copa Cabana Bar. Because this statement was not correct, I requested the help of city attorney Earl Hill who called an emergency meeting of the city council for Sept. 7. At the meeting, councilman Mike Ostercamp said the decision to temporarily suspend the license was based on "hearsay" and councilman Curt Gast added the decision was made based on "a rumor going around town" that the Aug. 31 fight happened in the Copa. I told the council I was dumb founded and absolutely astonished that the city council would base a decision involving a legal document issued by a governing body of the state of Iowa on "hearsay" and "rumor." Councilman Ostercamp then said the council had not made a decision. Mayor Nelson overrode Ostercamp saying yes they had. It was then mentioned by councilman Gast there were several other reports of incidents on file involving The Copa Cabana. Officer Bruns said he received about 2 calls per month involving the Copa. I requested to see the file, but was not given the opportunity. Officer Bob Sankey who was the on the scene officer for the Aug. 31 fight was brought in to the meeting to give his account of that incident. Officer Sankey confirmed the fight did not take place at The Copa Cabana. When asked about the number of calls he received involving the Copa, Officer Sankey replied 1 maybe 2 in the past 5 to 6 months. Mayor Nelson then said enough conversation had been heard and a vote should be taken. He added, he would start the voting by voting yes to the renewal.
I am all for preventative action, maintaining order, and proper conduct: as is our staff and our clientele. However, once in a while you get a "bad apple." It just so happened the "bad apple" was not in the Copa.
Bettie Jo Vega, Britt