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Report on third and FINAL meeting held November 16, 1998 of the City of Phoenix regarding proposed swing club and sex oriented businesses'
See http://www.sexwork.com/coalition/Phoenix/contentsphx.html for extensive details on previous meetings and the specific City proposals to restrict adult sexual expression for no legitimate reason. See web site showing how their so-called "proof" shows the opposite of what they want the public to think while their proposed restrictions are needed.
At this final meeting the few supporters of the proposed restrictions were finally heard from but again were heavily outnumbered. In my view none had any concrete arguments specifically to support the new proposed restrictions. Some had valid points but it was all related to zoning and signage issues, not the proposals.
Some of them were really off the wall. Like the guy rambling on about his divorce, which he blames on the fact that he went to strip clubs. Bergthold at the first also related a tale of someone who became so infatuated with a dancer in Philadelphia that he killed his wife in order to collect on insurance, believing he could marry the stripper. By this kind of reasoning, no one should be allowed to drive automobiles because some people drive while intoxicated or cause accidents by other reckless activity. Similarly, because some parents are guilty of child abuse, no one should be allowed to conceive or raise children. Of course such ideas are absurd, just as the arguments given by opponents of "adult businesses."
As usual, the people with legitimate concerns seem to have no clear understanding what the ordinance does or doesn't say, and no arguments as to why it will help their concerns. For example, not one of the proposed regulations addresses extending the distance from an adult business to residences or schools, nor does the proposed ordinance deal with signs.
While about 80% of the speaker's spoke out strongly against the proposals pointing out they had no justifiable basis, I will me discuss the minority view mostly raised by "neighborhood leaders".
Other than the raving man blaming strip clubs for his divorce, we had Mr. T.C. Bundy who looked like a Church deacon delivering his sermon on how such business harm children, create violence, lead to pedophilia and rampant STDs. It was totally illogical with no factual basis. But when someone is so uptight against sex and wants to save the world from sexual freedom, this is the kind of nonsensical emotional outpouring you get. Nothing he said had a thing to do with the proposals but it made these types of folks feel good ... somehow more holy perhaps.
I loved the women activist that repeated so many times how she was speaking as a mommy and how terrible it is when she has to explain to kids what the sexy sign is about. Another women had the perfect answer. Instead of hiding child from reality how about honesty with age appropriate discussion how the sign is for a place that adults go for grown up entertainment. In many cases complaints were about signs. If more restrictions on signs are needed that is an entirely different issue and not addressed at all in the current city proposals to curb the sexual expression of consenting adults.
A man represented the community from Indian School North to Camelback in the 30th Ave area. His key point was enough is enough. There are 9 SOB's in his area. Later Billie (owner of Guys & Dolls) pointed out not one SOB is in the area he represents. They are ALL SOUTH of Indian School in the Industrial area! Billie has been a very sharp speaker at all the meetings. Guys and Dolls also had a police report analysis (which they gave me a copy of) showing the swing clubs have far lower police calls than the "regular" bars in the area. Secondary effect studies all over the U.S. (most recently in Sacramento) clearly show adult business are positive for neighborhoods and result in less police resources required not more.
The deterioration of the neighborhood argument was very effectively dealt with. Not only are few clubs anywhere near neighborhoods, and if they its because they were there first and then the neighborhood developed around it. For example much was made of a Day Care Center near 4500 N 19th Ave across from a the Excalibur strip club and how terrible allowing the strip club there was with their sign with naked women with her legs spread. But the strip club was there LONG before the Day Care Center...so the problem is the location selected by the Day Care Center, not the long-established strip club business. I drove by the sign. The fantasy of the speaker doesn't match reality. It has artwork of a topless dancer's back wearing a G-string. Hardly very objectionable.
Another great fact is all the high quality large corporate centers going in the neighborhood of many of the Strip Clubs in SE Phoenix. Corporate headquarters big hotels all being built near Sunset Strip and Le Girls for example. Certainly no negative impact in that area.
There were two very articulate speakers representing or hired by the Center For Fair Public Policy. Lex Byers presented an excellent demographic analysis of SOB customer taken from surveys done at Le Girls and The Great Alaskan Bush Company when people were assured they would be anonymous. The result showed the average customer age was 41, 65.5% were college educated, 16.6% had advanced college degrees and 63.4% had household incomes over $31,000. In other words the customers are better educated, make higher incomes than the general population of Phoenix. In addition, most were homeowners and 71% were registered voters. The customers are solid law abiding citizens - your neighbors. The clubs also bring in a huge economic benefit to the city in taxes, wages, make it easier to attract many conventions etc.
The raving man upset about his divorce said he found in the trash this terrible porn magazine Playtime which he showed to the audience as an example of horrible firth (what it has to do with the proposed ordinances is beyond me). I was sitting next to the asst. editor (Wendy, a very nice young women) who was obviously not in agreement! Wendy later did a wonderful job speaking about how she is also a mommy and how being honest with children might be more helpful than trying to hide them from adult realities.
Holly the owner of Sunset Strip and her very sharp manager both did a presentation on positive secondary effects and how the proposals that would but them out of business (they only offer private room dancing) are so discriminatory against women and the women in the business. I was mildly amused that they more or less admitted that their advertisements are false saying its just marketing. In other words, their reputation as a bit of a rip-off is deserved! However, if you expect no more than the chance to beat off in the presence of a gorgeous nude lady while she speaks and moves in a seductive manner for under $50, then Sunset Strip is the best in town. The advertising came up because the city in their "proof" that restrictions are needed included their ads as their "proof".
One supporter of sexual freedom and recent law school graduate said: "Although this meeting was not the proper place, I still felt obligated to use this opportunity to get in a plug for decriminalization of sex work." He has drafted a MODEL GENTLEMEN'S CLUB STATUTE (soon will have on web site) while also favoring total decriminalization of all sex work in private (not street prostitution) between consenting adults. We have extensive information on decriminalization at http://www.sexwork.com/coalition/
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