By THE BAKERSFIELD CALIFORNIAN
Padre Hotel CEO Brett Miller responded Wednesday to community criticism in the wake of a Saturday-night stabbing that brought police to the popular landmark and cleared one of the hotel’s bars.
The backlash comes days after a 22-year-old man was stabbed in the abdomen March 22 by what police said Thursday was an unknown object that created a three-inch laceration. On Wednesday, Miller described the object as a ballpoint pen. The incident prompted some people, including two writers of letters to the editor in The Californian Tuesday, to question security and safety at the hotel.
Miller said that no altercation at the hotel is welcome, but also noted that this was the first incident at the downtown landmark in two years.
“We have had incidents before, but after changes made two years ago, we changed the demographics of the music and made it more fitting for hotel guests,” Miller said by phone on the “First Look with Scott Cox” simulcast.
The night of the incident, five security guards were on staff for about 160 people inside the Prospect Lounge, which offers a hotel dance club atmosphere from 9 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays.
“We try not to overcrowd the place,” Miller said. “We’re not all about every dollar.”
Miller said the security guards are not police officers and their main job is to diffuse any situation so it doesn’t escalate.
And that is exactly what security did Saturday night, Miller said.
“We got them outside and we did everything to ensure safety,” he said. “Safety is our concern, but we can’t have people walking through metal detectors” in order to gain admittance to the bar.
Miller said someone from his corporate office in San Diego has been dispatched to the Padre for the next three weeks to oversee the workings of his Bakersfield hotel.
“We hope it’s an isolated incident and we can rectify it by coaching and making things right,” he said.
The owner said the hotel, entering its third year of business, is doing well. He said he hopes to continue his hotel’s good relationship with people in Bakersfield.