After voting to raise taxes on pot clubs earlier this year, San Jose Councilman Sam Liccardo has found a new vice to tackle: nudie bars.
Spurred by the imminent opening of a gentlemen’s club in downtown, Liccardo has asked the city to impose more restrictions on San Jose’s adult establishments. The city already bans nudity in downtown businesses, which leaves us to presume that the Gold Club, slated to open up Aug. 8 in the historic 81 W. Santa Clara St. building, will operate as a bikini bar.
But Liccardo wants to be clear that cracking down on pseudo strip clubs and medical marijuana dispensaries is not part of some puritanical crusade. Sexually-themed businesses are, after all, entitled to their First Amendment rights.
“This has nothing to do with my personal views,” says Liccardo, whose district covers downtown and north San Jose. “The point is that there are businesses that are more criminogenic than others. The data is pretty clear that this type of business is violent and theft-related.”
Liccardo points to a study by two University of Louisville social scientists who found that the “secondary effects” of strip clubs, compared to normal bars, results in higher rates of robbery, assault and theft crimes. Of course, the Gold Club may not be a true strip club, but that’s neither here nor there.
“At a time when this city’s police department remains strapped for resources, we cannot afford to stretch them any further with a poorly regulated club that will become an attractive nuisance for crime,” Liccardo writes in a memo.
With the city trying to lure investors to commit $100 million to $150 million for every new high-rise in downtown—a 23-story, $130 million apartment tower recently broke ground a half-block from the soon-to-be Gold Club—there’s a lot to lose, Liccardo continues.
“We can only hope that more groundbreakings will follow, but we can’t expect investors and developers to continue to risk their $130 million on towers that will be routinely surrounded by 24-year-old men with elevated levels of testosterone and intoxication,” he says, clearly from the camp that believes not everyone who frequents the Gold Club will be a gentleman.
Among the ideas Liccardo’s proposing to the city’s Rules and Open Government Committee meeting, the day before the club opens: assessing a fee on adult clubs to pay for a greater police presence; strict rules on patrons touching dancers, as well as restrictions on dancing platform heights and lighting; early closing hours, with midnight suggested on the late end of the spectrum; and zoning requirements that would keep clubs away from schools, daycares, libraries, parks and similar venues.