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By THE BAKERSFIELD CALIFORNIAN
Kai Mercado enjoys visiting Bakersfield's downtown on Friday or Saturday nights to unwind and just have a good time with friends. But at recent visits to The Padre Hotel, Mercado said she has felt unsafe.
Tuesday on "First Look with Scott Cox," she described some of the incidents she has experienced at the hotel, the most recent being the stabbing of a 22-year-old man. After the stabbing, she and a friend wrote letters to the editor to The Californian about their safety concerns.
Mercado also said she has talked to employees and a manager at The Padre about her concerns and they asked her what they could do to make things better. She said she's already seen improvements, including more security.
"I talked to them about over-pouring and not serving drinks to someone who is already drunk," Mercado said.
Last week, Padre Hotel CEO Brett Miller said safety is the hotel's No. 1 concern and he has sent someone from his corporate office to oversee the workings of his Bakersfield hotel.
The night of March 22, Mercado said, she was at the hotel when she and her friends saw an ambulance outside and figured something was wrong. But employees never communicated what was happening with those inside the Padre, she said.
Because they were locked in, Mercado said her friend ordered another drink at the bar. A few moments later a security guard told everyone they needed to get out, but Mercado's friend said she was waiting for a drink.
"And he flipped her off," Mercado said. "That was baffling to me because we couldn't believe that had happened."
Mercado also said that another day she witnessed a man kick a woman in the jaw outside the hotel after a fight broke out.
Simulcast host Scott Cox asked Mercado why she didn't look for another place to hang out on Friday nights after witnessing what she had.
Mercado said she likes the Padre and does not want to stop going there.
"It's one of the nicest places downtown and I shouldn't have to avoid it," she said.