City Gets Bad Rap

Josh Dunn owns nightclubs in Escondido and San Marcos. His busiest night used to be Thursdays at Club Tropics in San Marcos, where he featured hip-hop. Last summer, he discontinued hip-hop at Club Tropics because he felt pressure from the City of San Marcos and sheriff's deputies.

"This is the way it works," says Dunn. "What they do is have 10 to 15 cop cars park out front. People see that and say, 'I'm not going back there.' That's how they shut [clubs] down.... The Boulevard [in San Marcos] just closed down. They were all hip-hop toward the end."

Blvd. club owners could not be reached, but San Marcos city clerk Susie Vasquez says she received a letter from club management stating that they'd relinquish entertainment and dance permits.

Sgt. Glenn Giannantonio of the San Marcos sheriff station says Club Tropics used to have the most calls for police service. ("The Boulevard was number two.") He says there were regularly six to eight sheriff cars in front of Club Tropics each Thursday night.

"We have compiled a big, thick binder with all the police calls and hospital reports related to Club Tropics' 'urban night,' " says Giannantonio. "There were fights, stabbings, rapes.... One guy got beaten with a chain. There were shootings in the parking lot. Since they stopped having urban nights, the number of calls for service at Club Tropics has dropped off dramatically.

"There were many Thursday nights when every San Marcos deputy on duty was at Club Tropics, and we had to call in other officers from Escondido. This city is too big to have all of our officers at Club Tropics."

Sgt. Giannantonio disagrees with Dunn's harassment charge.

"If you are looking to have law-abiding patrons, why would you be against having law-enforcement officers in your parking lot?"

Dunn moved his Thursday hip-hop night to Club Anita's -- which he owns along with Thee Spot -- in Escondido.

"San Marcos doesn't want hip-hop, but Escondido doesn't mind," says Dunn.

Rappers K-9 and Shy used to appear at the Blvd. Now they're at Thee Spot. K-9 agrees that the cops in Escondido are hip-hop friendly.

"They came in the other night when we were onstage, and we shout out, 'We got 5-0 in the house.' They smiled and gave us the [raise the roof gesture]."

Thee Spot hosts hip-hop on Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday; Club Anita's offers the same on Thursdays.

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