Listen Local A chat with Bravas executive director about its new cabaret

first_img 0% Last Thursday for Listen Local, we spoke with Stacie Powers Cuellar, the executive director at Brava, about new cabaret space at the theater — a miniature theater space that will feature music, comedy and live theater. Tags: Brava Theater Center Share this: FacebookTwitterRedditemail,0%last_img

The decline and fall of Mission Beach Cafe was even messier than

first_imgThe way Bill Clarke sees it, he had the rug pulled out from under him. Many rugs, in fact, pulled by many people. That eviction, he says, came about because health inspectors — who had it in for him, he believes — conveniently arrived at just the time when they could shut him down, and deny him the end-of-the-month income he needed to make rent. This enabled his landlord to pull the trigger on an eviction. Was this a coincidence? Who’s to say? Clarke accuses the health inspectors of treating him more harshly than restaurants with even worse sanitation problems. And yet, as city officials have stated — repeatedly and publicly — the sanitation situation at Mission Beach Cafe isn’t what led San Francisco government to take the extraordinary step of attempting to rescind his business license. Rather, it was the $114,250 in healthcare costs the Office of Labor Standards and Enforcement found he systematically did not pay. Following the office’s audit, says Maura Prendiville, its supervising compliance officer, Clarke spent a year and a half failing to respond to city communiques regarding how and when he would begin paying what he owed. He had, previously, been given four extensions to comply with the audit, and missed at least one hearing during which the fate of his business hung in the balance. When asked why he didn’t pay voter-mandated healthcare costs, Clarke replied matter-of-factly it was because his staff was stealing from him. “Healthcare, you know, it just seemed to me, with the theft going on, that became less of a priority,” he said. “They don’t get their double coverage.” Clarke accuses his erstwhile workers of forming an organized cabal to fudge their hours, doctor receipts to add tips, and give away free drinks and pastries. It warrants mentioning that $114,250 could buy you a lot of pastries. When asked for proof of this alleged malfeasance, Clarke claims he would’ve brought this up at a pending permitting hearing — which is now moot, as he’s been evicted. There’s “video evidence” that he says he’s not allowed to share. He didn’t call the cops because he’s “not confrontational.”Attorneys for Clarke’s former workers dismissed these accusations. “There was no mention of videos,” says Vigne. “It was all very poorly supported. You and I both know that workers who steal are terminated.” More to the point: Is that how this is supposed to work? Clarke failed to abide by this city’s voter-mandated healthcare provision during the three years covered in the audit — and, despite repeated warnings from the city, he continued to blow off city requirements and simply bag this money until his landlord put him out of business years later. The city’s healthcare mandate dates to 2008, and Prendiville suspects Clarke never complied with it. So you’re entitled to simply not make these payments because you accuse your clients of stealing from you (and you don’t call the police or produce any evidence)? “Ohhhhh, probably not,” admits Clarke. And on this Clarke, labor attorneys, and the Office of Labor Standards and Enforcement  finally agree. This is no way to behave. There’s a term for that: wage theft.The burger.So, in summation, Clarke says his problems stem from vindictive health department inspectors who may or may not have been acting in cahoots with his landlord, so he could be evicted. Those health inspectors previously wronged him by assigning such punitive scores that his cafe was flagged on Yelp, which led to his business cratering, bankruptcy, and an inability to make the payments the city demanded. Sure, that bankruptcy was in 2017 and Clarke was documented failing to make those healthcare payments (and many others) years prior — but those workers, and their “free lawyers,” were conspiring to filch from him. More generally, “this is why labor law kind of sucks for restaurants. It doesn’t take into account how our business model operates.”By the way, while all this was happening, while all these debts were left unpaid, Clarke was putting scores of thousands of dollars into a potential second restaurant at the former Luna Park site.  After I recite back the above litany to him, Clarke pauses. “You’re making it sound like I’m blaming everyone else and not taking any of the blame.”Chef’s bite.Clarke blames himself, all right: “I should not have been so lenient.” “I could have made better choices,” he continued. “I could have hired a manager. I tried to do too much. But I don’t want to beat myself up too badly.” He laments that none of the obituaries for his restaurant mentioned his devotion to the place — he got up at 3 every morning to bake those pastries. They didn’t mention the great food or the magical atmosphere of a hopping neighborhood joint. “My focus was the employees, yes. But the customers even more so,” Clarke says. “And the food most of all. That was my main love of what I did. Being with food.” Sadly, that dream died. For Clarke. For his workers. For his customers. For everyone. Gradually. Then suddenly. Former cafe proprietor admits failing to provide toward workers’ city-mandated healthcare — and justifies it, because he accuses them of stealing. It was Ernest Hemingway who best encapsulated how one falls into bankruptcy: “Gradually, then suddenly.” That sounds about right. The end for the popular 12-year-old Mission Beach Cafe on 14th and Guerrero came suddenly, with an eviction notice this month affixed to its door Martin Luther-style by landlord Erich Pearson. But this was gradual, too. Was it ever. Email Address Subscribe to Mission Local’s daily newsletter In addition to Pearson’s lament that restaurant proprietor Bill Clarke had long neglected to pay his water and garbage bills and then followed that up by failing to pay rent, the Department of Public Health had, on multiple occasions, shut down the cafe for serious sanitation violations. The DPH was, additionally, in the process of revoking Clarke’s license to do business in this city after an audit by San Francisco’s Office of Labor Standards and Enforcement revealed that, between 2014 and 2017, Clarke did not make $114,250 in city-mandated healthcare payments toward his employees — and instead applied the money elsewhere. Despite this audit, and years of subsequent warnings from that office, Clarke continued to neglect his employees’ mandatory healthcare payments up until the day his restaurant was shuttered. None of Clarke’s employees apparently received any health benefits — with one incurring a $45,000 General Hospital ER bill during his time as a low-wage cafe worker. Mission Beach Cafe diners were, nevertheless, tacked with a “Tax & SF Surcharge” bill on their receipts. Okay, take a breath. We’re not done yet. There’s more.  Clarke was, in fact, sued by 10 former employees for this and other transgressions; his company  was hit with a $1.3 million default judgment. But there was no money to pay it. He declared personal bankruptcy in 2017. He fell behind on mortgage payments, owes $53,000 in back taxes for Northern California properties, and $49,000 to the California Franchise Tax Board. That last bit led the state to revoke his business license. The post-mortem for Mission Beach Cafe reads like Amy Winehouse’s toxicology report. Or Ernest Hemingway’s, for that matter. It warrants mentioning, however, that Clarke’s state business license was suspended all the way back in 2014. All of this — the bankruptcies, the non-payments, the lines around the corner to brunch at what was, by all accounts, a great restaurant — has occurred since.  “It shows you how little regulation there really is,” says Carole Vigne, an attorney with Legal Aid at Work representing Clarke’s former employees pro-bono along with lawyers from the Golden Gate University School of Law Women’s Employment Rights Clinic. “Things go under the radar all the time. People were lining up around the corner for Mission Beach Cafe even though they didn’t have a business license, they didn’t pay their Department of Public Health permit dues, they weren’t paying taxes and weren’t even paying the garbage bill. Meanwhile, our clients were threatened with eviction when their paychecks bounced. Their credit card rates went up.” That one guy hit his head and went to General Hospital and ended up with a $45,000 bill and no way to pay it.It was, continued Vigne, “like the perfect storm.” Until the end came. Gradually. Then suddenly.last_img read more

SAINTS popular Podcast has been revamped and upda

first_imgSAINTS’ popular Podcast has been revamped and updated for the new season.Throughout the season we’ll be bringing you all the latest news and views from the Saints as we enjoy the new era both on and off the field.Louise Fildes will continue her weekly round-up of all our Super League fixtures whilst audio reports from all Saints games home and away will be available to download on the website,This edition looks at the three ‘newbies’ who have joined the club in the off-season – Mark Flanagan, Lance Hohaia and Anthony Laffranchi.Royce Simmons also talks about the new season and stadium.To listen to the Podcast or download, click here.last_img read more

NATHAN Brown was pleased with the overall effort a

first_imgNATHAN Brown was pleased with the overall effort and commitment but bemoaned his side’s opening 20 minute display as they went down 28-16 at Wigan.Three first half tries had the Warriors 18-0 to the good before Saints mounted a spirited fightback.“I thought offensively we weren’t very smart in the first 20 minutes and defensively we let ourselves down,” he said. “But the last 60 minutes with the ball I thought we caused a very good team a lot of trouble.“We got back into the contest and they scrambled very well. I was really pleased with the effort of commitment to cope with that early adversity. I’m sure if we tidy up in a couple of key areas things will be ok.”Saints were missing Jonny Lomax, James Roby and Lance Hohaia heading into the match and lost Ade Gardner, Anthony Walker and Willie Manu as it played out.“We’ve had a tough run this year,” Brown added. “We have some good players in key positions not playing but we let ourselves down with our defence really. When we defended well we got going because of good defence. We scored enough points and created other chances and they defended well.“We will dust ourselves off and fight another day.”Saints take on Castleford on Easter Monday (3pm), with Tickets still on sale for the match.You can buy from the Ticket Office at Langtree Park, by calling 01744 455 052 or by logging on here.“I’ll be expecting another good effort,” Brown concluded. “There are a number of young players who have played this year and whoever slots in they will be expected to perform to the same level of effort and commitment. It will be a good game.”last_img read more

MEMBERS can bring a friend to Langtree Park for ju

first_imgMEMBERS can bring a friend to Langtree Park for just a fiver!Loyal Members are being offered the chance to bring a friend to the Saints vs. Hull KR First Utility Super League fixture on Friday June 17 for a great discounted rate.Saints will continue in their quest for league points and positions on the ladder in the run-up to the Super 8s phase of the competition when they take on the Rovers at Langtree Park.And, as a thank you to Members for their continued support throughout the 2016 campaign, we want to give you the chance to bring a friend, loved one or someone who may not have experienced a game at Langtree Park before for the heaviliy disounted price of just £5.Seated Members are free to move to alternative seats (to allow the £5 ticket holder to sit with them) for no charge.Please note terms and conditions apply. Tickets subject to availability. The £5 ticket is limited to one per member.£5 Member tickets cannot be purchased online, but can be booked via the ticket office at Langtree Park or over the phone on verification of the member’s ticket. Call  01744 455052 to enquire or book. Full contact details must be provided for the recipent of the £5 ticket.last_img read more


first_imgThe North Stand, the main away end at the DW Stadium is now SOLD out with more than 5,500 Saints fans already securing their ticket for the biggest game in Rugby League.Our added allocation of tickets in Block ES1 in the East Stand of the DW Stadium that has now SOLD out too!We now have limited tickets available in Block WS10 in the West Stand (the block closest to the North Stand) that will come off sale at 2pm TODAY!These tickets are priced as per the below:Adults – £29Over-65s – £2316-21s – £22Under-16s – £20Under-5s – FREEJunior Swap – £10You can purchase these online here, or by calling into the Ticket Office at the Totally Wicked Stadium (up until 2pm today Thursday 18 April)You can also call the Ticket Office on 01744 455052, however please be aware call traffic is currently high.Please note that the Ticket Office will be closed on Good Friday, therefore all ticket collections from the Club must be made before 5pm, Thursday 18 April. After this time, collections will be transferred to the DW Stadium Ticket Office.last_img read more

Burgaw commission votes to rescind free speech space ordinance after lawsuit

first_imgBURGAW, NC (WWAY) — Burgaw town leaders have rescinded a violation on free speech after facing a lawsuit by a preacher.Patrick O’Connell filed the lawsuit back in March challenging the ordinance passed in October 2015 that designates a specific location for free speech activities during festivals in the town.- Advertisement – Police cited O’Connell during last year’s North Carolina Blueberry Festival after he refused to move from the Courthouse Square, where he was preaching.Mayor Eugene Mulligan tells WWAY that at last night’s town commission meeting, the town’s attorney gave the background on the case.Ultimately the council voted to rescind the ordinance, which leaders says was originally set up to make sure freedom of speech was protected.Related Article: Barfield: ‘State of the county is strong,’ in Monday addressMulligan says O’Connell was impeding the flow of traffic at last year’s festival.The town’s rules now goes back to the way they were, which means there is no designated area for free speech during festivals in Burgaw.last_img read more

Isaac Bear Early College High School teacher accused of indecent liberties with

first_imgNEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — A chemistry teacher at Isaac Bear Early College High School is in the New Hanover County Detention Center under a $1 million bond, accused of sex crimes involving five students.Michael Earl Kelly, 48, was arrested late Tuesday as part of a joint investigation between the FBI and New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office.- Advertisement – The New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office says detectives were notified by the FBI of a victim who had child pornographic pictures on their phone.  Detectives began their investigation and arrested Kelly on Tuesday.Kelly made his first court appearance via video conference on Wednesday afternoon. Assistant District Attorney Connie Jordan said a 15-year-old reported the incident to law enforcement.Kelly is charged with three counts of indecent liberties with a student and one count of third degree sexual exploitation of a minor.Related Article: Wisconsin man who kidnapped Jayme Closs gets life in prisonJordan said the sexual exploitation of a minor charge could be increased from third degree to first degree, because as of right now, they are not sure how many images of child pornography there are.According to the arrest warrant, Kelly had an image of a naked 15-year-old boy. The warrants state the alleged crime happened from August 9, 2017 to February 6, 2018.A New Hanover County Schools spokesperson says Kelly is suspended without pay. Superintendent Dr. Tim Markley has also started proceedings to dismiss Kelly.Schools spokeswoman Valita Quattlebaum emailed the following statement from Dr. Markley, “While we can’t discuss the specifics of this case at this time, we take these allegations very seriously,” it reads. “Our primary concern is the safety and protection of the students. We will take all steps necessary to ensure this.”Kelly was hired in August of 1992. In March of 2016, Kelly was nominated by several students and became WWAY’s Teacher of the Week.If Kelly makes bond, he is forbidden to contact the victims or their families, can not be on school grounds, and must not be in the presence of any minor without direct supervision.His next court appearance is set for February 22.last_img read more

Bladen County residents living along Cape Fear River ordered to evacuate

first_img Residents are encouraged to mover further inland if at all possible.The closest Bladen County shelter will be at West Bladen High School in Bladenboro. Water (Photo: Public Domain Pictures) BLADEN COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — A mandatory evacuation order has been issued for residents living North of the Cape Fear River, in the vicinity of River Road, Burney Road, Tar Heel Ferry Road and along Harrison Creek.Flooding is expected to be near or possibly higher than Hurricane Matthew levels.- Advertisement – last_img read more

Woman accused of stealing from TJ Maxx driving off in a stolen

first_img After taken the items, she reportedly drove off in a car stolen from Fayetteville.If you recognize her, call Wilmington Police or use Text-A-Tip to make an anonymous report. Woman accused of stealing from TJ Maxx in Wilmington. (Photo: WPD) WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Wilmington Police need your help identifying this woman who they say stole clothes from TJ Maxx last month.WPD says it happened on February 24.- Advertisement – last_img