“I need a hero to come in and save me,” says Alma Felan, owner of the Hot Monkey Love Café. “To buy [the café] and continue what we have done. I don’t want to sell it to just anyone who will just give me my investment back.”
Felan opened the original Hot Monkey on El Cajon Boulevard, in the College Area, in 2002. The venue showcased up-and-coming rock, hip-hop, and salsa artists. After a protracted fight with a neighbor over parking access, in 2006 she moved about ten blocks away.
“Before I came, it was empty. I remodeled the whole place. I spent over $100,000.…
“Even before I opened I had two city officials go to the Bank of America next to me and badmouth me. They told the bank manager that I was going to bring all these undesirable people.”
Felan says a neighbor who lives about 100 feet away filed noise complaints incessantly, and she suspects the code-enforcement officers “pressured neighbors” to file complaints.
“[The neighbor] bothered me from my opening day. I started getting citations [for noise complaints]. We hired a security company. [The neighbor] complained that noise was escaping from the roof. So, I spent over $20,000 for a new roof and another $6000 on soundproofing the inside and they were still not satisfied. We ended up going to the DA’s office. We had to pay a fine of $1000 and have 18 months of probation.”
Felan says she stopped having amplified music after 10 p.m. “Then [the neighbor] started harassing me at six in the evening. One citation was for 8:20 p.m.”
Felan wants to know why “eight to ten” SDPD officers would be stationed at her parking lot “…when nobody is doing anything wrong.… Kids really need an outlet. Do you want them to sell drugs or become couch potatoes?”
Felan says she is fighting back.
“I’ve already filed a complaint [regarding police harassment]. I’m talking to lawyers [about a lawsuit].”
A call to code-enforce ment officer Mike Wiley about Felan’s charges was not returned.
Felan, 42, says she may go back to school.
“It might take ten years, but I want to become a strong politician. I will make sure these laws change. It is hurting everybody.”
– Ken Leighton