Wong's War on a Reggae Club

Are the problems traffic and parking, or just the color of the customers?

"When I was at the Caribana in 1981, it was a full-fledged white business," says Beecher. "And then in less than a year and a half, there was a complete flip, and it was an 80 to 90 percent black business. And they were run out of there less than a year later."

Likewise, Beecher points out that a Richmond Avenue club, the Voodoo Lounge, didn't come under pressure until it began attracting a heavily black clientele.

As for Jamaica Jamaica, Beecher says he has no intention of acceding to Wong's demand that he relocate.

"For one, we don't have the money to move," he explains. "And moving a nightclub doesn't guarantee that the success you are having is going to follow you. You have to find an area or situation where you would not duplicate [the problems] you have right now." Wong once suggested that Beecher find a location downtown, but he says the costs there are too high.

The councilwoman says she's just representing her constituents, including nearby condo owners awakened at night by the music and noise from motorists.

Beecher responds he's a constituent too -- one who played by the rules and obeyed the law, only to find it is now being selectively used by an elected official to try to run him out of business.

"I have an 80-year-old mother in Jamaica and a three-year-old daughter in America," says Beecher, in a not-so-subtle reference to Wong's own heritage. "They both depend on my existence and what I do for a living. You take this away from me, you're taking everything away from them."

Your news tips are music to the Insider's ears. Call them in to him at (713)280-2483, fax them to (713)280-2496, or e-mail him at insider@ houstonpress.com.

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