November 18, 2003 06:00pm
LA City Council Repeals 'No-Touch' Strip Club Law
Source: Copley News Service
by: David Zahniser
(LOS ANGELES, CA) -- In a victory for the Adult Entertainment Industry here, city officials tentatively agreed Tuesday to repeal a law that sought to keep strippers 6 feet away from their customers.
Faced with a potentially hard-fought ballot campaign, Councilwoman Cindy Miscikowski and strip club lobbyists worked out a deal to restore the right of citizens to receive lap dances and place tips in strippers' G-strings.
The council is scheduled to vote Friday on a new, watered-down law that eliminates the "no-touch" rule for strippers but allows the Los Angeles Police Department to annually review strip club permits - and revoke them for clubs with multiple violations.
Activists who backed the stricter ordinance and have battled adult nightspots in Miscikowski's district were furious.
"I think everybody caved," said West Los Angeles resident Thomas Donovan. "They're going to take out the teeth they needed for enforcement."
The original law, passed only two months ago, was similar to one at the heart of a high-profile bribery case in San Diego, in which three San Diego City Council members are accused of taking payoffs in exchange for the repeal of a "no-touch" law in nude strip clubs. The three council members have pleaded not guilty and are fighting the charges.
Miscikowski conceded the compromise here was a retreat from the council's previous position, but said she could still decide to pursue a strip club ballot measure in 2005 if the proposed ordinance turns out to be too weak.
Los Angeles-area strip club representatives, who gathered 100,000 signatures to repeal the law, were jubilant. They called the compromise a common-sense move that will save strippers' jobs.
Police officials have argued there is a link between lap dances, where strippers gyrate on a patron's lap, and prostitution at some adult entertainment venues.