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LA Still Wants Ban on Lap Dancing

Los Angeles- Los Angeles City Councilman Tony Cardenas introduced a motion Wednesday to ban lap dancing, almost two years after lawmakers shimmied away from such a ban under opposition from strip club owners.

“Some of these establishments are in my district, and I’ve had a lot of complaints from constituents,” Cardenas said. He said he was motivated by hearing that children were picking up used condoms near the clubs.

The council on Wednesday also approved a trial plan to allow the public to testify via video feed from the San Fernando Valley. And it heard a report that Native American slave quarters may have been unearthed during construction of a dog pound in Mission Hills.

But it was feather boas and gyrating women that created a buzz around City Hall.

In 2003, adult club owners threatened to sue the city over the ban and to organize a citywide ballot measure. The council then repealed the ban and opted instead for rules forbidding private rooms – where prostitution was feared to be taking place – and prohibiting patrons from groping the dancers.

But Cardenas said that this time around, the city may be in a stronger position because the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in January upheld a lap dance ban in La Habra. That city’s law states that dancers must remain at least 2 feet away from strip club patrons. The court found that the law doesn’t stop dancers from being provocative.

On Wednesday, the manager of The Score, a downtown strip club, sounded a note of exasperation when informed of the revived proposals.

David Cardenas, no relation to the councilman, said his business suffered during the 2003 lap dance debate because some customers believed, mistakenly, that his club could no longer allow lap dancing. This time around, Cardenas said he was less worried. He figured patrons would see the renewed motion as an idle threat from a politician.

“There are a lot of other things going on right now – people getting killed on the corners,” he said. “A lot worse things than somebody getting a lap dance.”Councilman Greig Smith, who seconded Cardenas’ motion, said the city was in better financial health than in 2003 and in a better position to fight off an attempt by club owners to challenge the ban.

The council, in other action Wednesday, approved a pilot program to allow the public to testify before the council via a video camera in the new Van Nuys City Hall, which is to open in late August. The program, initiated by Smith, is intended to save people who live far from City Hall the trip downtown. There is a catch: People who speak at City Hall can see that council members sometimes don’t listen. Those who testify via video will have to watch a feed on the city’s Channel 35.

The council also learned that a 200-year-old foundation of Indian homes was uncovered last week during work on an animal shelter in Mission Hills. Excavation will continue, and findings reported to the council.



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