Strip Clubs Win Fight Against LAPD
The LAPD wanted to shut down a pair of adjacent strip clubs in Canoga Park. But the venues' operator won the battle.
A city decision set to go into effect Monday says Xposed and neighboring Wet Spot can keep the music playing with no further restrictions.
The police department claimed the site had a potent mix that included alcohol served at one place, full nudity displayed at another, liquor available at an adjacent store, and marijuana peddled at a neighboring dispensary. But ...
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... City zoning administrator R. Nicolas Brown said the LAPD failed to prove that other bureaucratic ways of dealing with the problems - including a review of its Police Commission permits - had been exhausted before it resorted to its effort to close the clubs.
"These circumstances are not present in this case," he wrote.
In fact, he noted, police did not make themselves available to talk it out with the club's owner and attorney despite several documented attempts to get a meeting.
The club's lawyer, Roger Jon Diamond, said he not only contacted LAPD officials by email and letter, but he actualy went to the local police station - to no avail.
"They never would speak to me or deal with me," he said. "We wanted to make sure the administrator knew we were trying."
Cops laid out a case that included 66 "calls for service" at the property between 2010 and 2012. Alleged crimes there include a shooting (which was not part of the department's case because it took place in 2013), drug possession by four of five dancers during a raid at one of the venues, fights, drunk driving and even a death threat.
But Brown said that a breakdown of the calls showed the two clubs were the focus of about about two-thirds of the calls, with the liquor store and a post office parking lot that served as a magnet for the homeless attracted their share of trouble to the property.
The administrator noted that the property is cleaned daily and that the clubs have a security staff of eight.
The department's problem with the clubs seems to stem from their clever use of a loophole:
California alcohol law prohibits fully nude strip clubs from serving booze. But you can drink at Wetspot, which features bikini dancers, then go next door to Xposed to view fully nude women.
The venues, founded by former adult performer Brad Barnes more than 10 years ago, base their marketing on this rarity.
An LAPD vice official told us previously that cops believed "all the businesses on the property should be considered as a whole."
So is this war over?
City Hall can still press a case against the clubs' zoning and permits if it wants. The city can appeal the zoning case to the local neighborhood council, Diamond said.
But he doesn't think it will happen.
"We're not bragging, but we did win," he says. "My client is not contributing to the problems. He is trying to correct them."