By January 2007, Sandoval's business neighbors and Pleasanton police had had enough. The Planning Commission, which has authority to cancel conditional use permits as well as to issue them, called Sandoval on the carpet, ordering the restaurant to stop selling alcohol after midnight, fire its DJ and his overly amplified sound system, get rid of the live band, put the chairs and tables back to cover the dance floor, and cancel karaoke and other forms of entertainment. It worked. Sandoval, already shaken by the immigration raids, complied. Capt. Finn said that where annual patrol checks at El Balazo had been running as high as 150 a year, they've dropped to two or three. Police visits to the restaurant, once confrontational, have become conversational, with employees undergoing training to identify excessive drinkers and stop serving them and also to be aware of potential problems in the restaurant parking lot.
The turn-around in what was once one of Pleasanton's most troubling restaurants enabled Sandoval to go back to the Planning Commission to seek a modification of his conditional use permit to add live music and entertainment again. Abiding by the new restrictions and with Finn and the Police Department agreeing, Sandoval has now been allowed to extend his hours, has promised to seek prior approval from the Police Department in advance of special events, has brought back karaoke, trivia night and football game night, and made friends with the managers of Burger King, Conroy's Florist and the variety of other retail businesses and restaurants, including Super Frank's, a popular children's attraction. Even Sajit Khatri, co-owner of the Pleasanton Inn, is supporting the calmed-down El Balazo, saying the restaurant now is a great place to send guests for casual dining. Sandoval has shown that troubled businesses can gain a new lease on life by playing by the rules.
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