Luke’s Sorry, Jen’s Busy, OysterFence Is Adjusting

Friday, June 14, 2013
Jennifer Koopman, left, directs preparations for tomorrow's OysterFest in Jacoby's Storehouse lobby. KLH | Eye

Jennifer Koopman, left, directs preparations for tomorrow’s OysterFest in Jacoby’s Storehouse lobby. KLH | Eye

Kevin L. Hoover

Eye Editor

PLAZA – The roiling strife surrounding Arcata Main Street’s plan to enclose the Plaza with a fence and charge admission to the Oyster Festival has taken some odd turns over the last few days. Today, the day before the annual bivalve ‘n’ beer fest, some of the kinks are being straightened out and issues resolved – though not to everyone’s satisfaction.

The front of the cards patterson delivered to Koopman at her Arcata Main Street office yesterday.

The front of the cards Patterson delivered to Koopman at her Arcata Main Street office.

Rape joke retracted

Luke’s Joint owner Luke Patterson has formally apologized, though not in person, to Arcata Main Street Director Jennifer Koopman for the two cryptic, menacing cards that he sent her yesterday.

The  cards – one a greeting card, the other a postcard – mention “nonconsensual sex,” a euphemism for rape, and seem to label Koopman as Patterson’s “enemy.”

Last night, Patterson sent Koopman the following note via e-mail:

The backs of the cards, with messages to Koopman from Patterson.

The backs of the cards, with messages to Koopman from Patterson.

“Dear Jen:

I am sorry.  That is the first thing I wanted to say to you, before anything else.

That subject of what I penned in that card, rape, no matter who the subject, no matter how it was interpreted, is simply untouchable, even the most tasteless, baseless and disgusting halls of dark humor.   

I don’t know what else to say, honestly, other than to tell you that personally, I feel like rape is, without any question, one of the greatest crimes against humanity.

In giving you this ridiculous card, I have thus compromised my own integrity, which is breaking me up, second only to how sorry I am to you.

I believe just as strongly in stern penalties for DNA-tested and proven guilty rapists as I do in the absurdity and senselessness of other far-less nefarious, local, common crimes.

I will not make excuses, but I can only hope that you can forgive me for my inexplicable lapse in judgment.

I wish I could take that back, like other mistakes I’ve made in my life, while under severe pressure.  But I can’t.  

So, like in the past, this is time for a chin check. 

First, I take full responsibility for giving you that card, and second, I would like to reiterate how sorry I am for leaving it at your office.

The more time passes, the more intensely sick I feel about my indiscretion. 

Sincerely,

Luke”

This morning, as she directed the frenzy of OysterFest preparatory activity in the lobby of Jacoby’s Storehouse, Koopman said she accepted Patterson’s apology.

“I accept his apology,” Koopman said.

“I didn’t appreciate it by any means,” she said, adding that, “I don’t think that Luke’s a bad person or ill-intentioned. He’s a smart and passionate person, really dedicated to his cause. But that energy is being used in a negative way.”

Plaza mapFence fidgeting

Though Main Street didn’t adopt the customer “validation” system he had proposed, Patterson did win something of a concession in that most H Street businesses, including his, will now be outside the OysterFest.

In a major modification to the fencing plan, the controversial fence will now extend from the Eighth and H Street intersection up to the wall between Luke’s Joint and Caravan of Dreams. Luke’s Joint will be accessible from Eighth and H street at no charge. Caravan of Dreams will be within the OysterFest.

Patrons will be able to access Luke's Joint and other H Street businesses via a sidewalk corridor which begins at Eighth and H streets.

Patrons will be able to access Luke’s Joint and other H Street businesses via a sidewalk corridor which begins at Eighth and H streets.

“We tried to come up with something so that people can access that business,” said Police Chief Tom Chapman. “It’s certainly not going to make everybody happy. This late in the game, it’s tough to make substantive changes.”

Chapman sees the fencing plan as a big plus for public safety – at least in concept.

“I’ve always been concerned about the crowd size from the perspective of worst-case scenario planning,” he said.

Chapman suspects that the new approach, with the Plaza enclosed and admission charged, will reduce the number of attendees. OysterFest attendance has swelled to upwards of 16,000 in recent years, making police and fire officials nervous about evacuation in case of fire or other safety emergency.

“I’ve been beating the drum that the event’s too big for that space,” Chapman said. Now, he said, with an actual evacuation plan in place, public safety forces will be able to respond to problems with precision. With potentially fewer attendees on hand, there will be more elbow room for all.

The major concern has been near the event’s end, when, as Chapman put it, some attendees become “rowdy,” a diplomatic term for “drunk.” And among the rowdies, there are those who become fully feisty.

“Intoxicated people get into fights along Ninth Street,” Chapman said.

Chapman accepts as plausible another of Main Street’s premises for adopting the admission charge – that those who pay to attend will have a sense of buy-in with the event, and may be less inclined to misbehave.

“With controlled access, it’s not as attractive a place for the demographic that wants to fight,” he said.

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15 Responses to “Luke’s Sorry, Jen’s Busy, OysterFence Is Adjusting”

  1. Lauraine Leblanc

    "DNA-tested and proven guilty rapists"? Is that like legitimate rape?

    #69305
  2. Sterling Hallbrook

    Luke has gone a little off his rocker.

    #69306
  3. Laurus Nobilis

    He might want to look into seeking medical help, that is just nuts.

    #69307
  4. I had an ugly experience just like this with Luke. He has some kind of serious problem. Ever since he ran a threatening rant on me that went on and on I don't want to be anywhere near him, I won't enter his restaurants for fear of running into him. I'm hardly a chicken but he's scary.

    #69311
  5. Mona McWhorter

    An apology was good but then he really had no other choice in the face of public criticism did he? He should have never sent that to her in the first place.

    #69312
  6. Kamrin Nawdy Little

    sublime swine is a PIG.

    #69314
  7. Dylan McClure

    he will probably lose more long term business from making rape jokes, then the fence would have impacted him for a day. good job dude.

    #69315
  8. Cathy Tobin

    Right?! That whole collection of words made absolutely no sense to me. Always a good idea to speak kindly and don't do things you have to apologize for…that's what my mom always says.

    #69316
  9. Kisaki Anrui

    I agree.

    #69321
  10. [...] legal threat led to an 11th hour revision to the fencing plan – the creation of the free access corridor along H Street to Luke’s [...]

    #69328
  11. The apology is as strange as the card.

    #69330
  12. Andrea Harrington

    I haven't had any kind of personal experience with him but I have heard so many things about him from past employees that I truly feel he's kinda digging his own grave, reputation-wise. Too bad, probably ought to treat people a little better.

    #69333
  13. found out he is a cokehead

    #69342
  14. Thanks for covering this, Kevin. Hopefully more people will realize that intimidation through sexual violence- whether implied or not- is never ok, and should never be tolerated nor excused by anyone.

    I wasn't there today, but my worry about the fence is the safety of people INSIDE, should there be any kind of emergency. It conjures up past disasters at soccer fields and the like in Europe where people were trampled and crushed against fences while trying to escape. I realize that's worst case scenario, but you kind of have to think that way when you have big events like this. It just seems like there would be a better, safer way to handle crowds without the negative impacts of a fence. Not to mention it seems contrary to Arcata Main Street's mission of promoting and supporting local businesses.

    #69343
  15. This is the kind of stuff he does weekly. He loves causing drama.

    #69359

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