January 13, 2003 12:04pm
LVDA: "No Business Licenses In The City!"
Source: Las Vegas Dancers Alliance
by: Company Press Release
(LAS VEGAS, NV) -- In the wake of the strong objections from Mayor Oscar Goodman, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Rick Rizzollo's attorney, and the Las Vegas Dancers Alliance (LVDA), the city's Recommending Committee put the city's amended erotic dance club ordinance on indefinite hold last week and instructed Jim DiFiore of the Business Licensing Division to sit down with all affected parties to work out a compromise. Addressing the packed conference room, Mayor Goodman told the committee "I cannot support this bill," adding that the city would not "follow the silliness of the county."
Following Mayor Goodman, Andrea Hackett reiterated LVDA's position that the amendments to the ordinance were unconstitutional. "Is there anyone here who actually believes this 650% increase in the cost of doing business is anything but a ploy on the part of the city to make money?" Ms Hackett also raised LVDA's concerns with new language that would give police the power to deny work cards based solely on an arrest. "Here we go again," she stated. "Metro police just don't seem to get it. Con-VIC-ted. A person must be con-VIC-ted before they can be denied a work card."
Next, Gary Peck of the ACLU took the microphone in opposition to the bill. "Any licensing scheme, whether work card or business license, must remain revenue-neutral. Government is not allowed to make money regulating a constitutionally-protected right-and dancing is constitutionally-protected free speech." He also took issue with the work card language as well as a new provision toward the end of the ordinance that exempts hotel/casinos from any compliance with the law. "The fact that hotel/casinos are specifically exempted from this licensing scheme is, on its face, absolutely political."
Lastly, an attorney for Rick Rizzollo (Crazy Horse Too) voiced opposition to the ordinance claiming business licenses would drive dancers into county clubs where business licenses are not yet required. He also complained that the ordinance didn't put enough responsibility on the dancers themselves.
Speaking at a press conference immediately following the hearing, Andrea Hackett said, "We're pleased with the committee's decision this afternoon and we applaud Mayor Goodman and the ACLU for their uncompromising support. But we also intend to stay on top of this issue both here and in the county."
LVDA Goes World-Wide!- An Associated Press article on LVDA, which hit the wire services on Jan. 3rd, was picked up by news outlets around the world including such major sources as the New York Times, CNN, MSNBC, CBS News, the Washington Post, the LA Times, the Seattle Times, and even The Times of India! Andrea Hackett also did interviews on the Mike Reagan Show and America Live! and an interview with The Nation, America's leading progressive news service. Speaking from her home in Summerlin, Ms Hackett said, "What this means, is that our struggle in Las Vegas against people like Yvonne Atkinson-Gates has received world-wide attention. Last summer Ms Gates called dancers 'stupid' and told us to "get another job." I wonder what she thinks now that the entire world is watching?" Copies of news stories covering LVDA are available by contacting LVDA.
LVDA Monthly Meeting - LVDA members met on Jan. 6 to hear a presentation on health benefits from a representative in the insurance industry. Unfortunately the message wasn't very hopeful. "Group coverage," he said, "as long as dancers remain Independent Contractors, is not a possibility at this time. However," he continued, "our company can write individual policies and track those policies for six months. If, after six months, dancers show they're no different than any other group we may be able to get health, dental, vision, and prescription drug coverage for LVDA members as a group." The situation in Las Vegas is no different than elsewhere in the country. As Independent Contractors, dancers have none of the legal protections that employees take for granted. Dancers can be legally discriminated against, fired without reason, are often charged outrageous base rents and dance fees, can be forced to tip floorwalkers, managers, DJs and anyone else as a condition of their employment, and have no say in how many dancers the clubs hire.
Support LVDA -LVDA is going broke! We beat business licenses in the city and we want to do the same thing in the county. But we can't do it without your support. If you're sick and tired of being robbed, harassed, threatened, degraded and abused, if you're happy you don't have to worry about business licenses, if you like the idea of someone standing up for your rights, if you like the idea of someone fighting the people who want to put us out of business come to a meeting, make a donation, or volunteer. We know how to fight for you and we know how to win. But we can't do it anymore without you.
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If you won't help, tomorrow there'll be only silence.
Las Vegas Dancers Alliance
"Together we can make a difference."
Paid for by the Las Vegas Dancers Alliance (LVDA)