Councilman Sam Liccardo Says Gold Club Will Hurt Downtown Development

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.

Jennifer Wadsworth is the former news editor for San Jose Inside and Metro Silicon Valley. Follow her on Twitter at @jennwadsworth.


  1. Sam wants to make sure he not against or for the clubs.  Way to make a choice and decision Sam.  Must be tough to walk the fence all the time.  And the clubs can pay a fee for greater police presence.  But there are no police left to have that.  Did you forget they all left as they think you are a crook?

  2. What a waste of an iconic building in downtown. This strip club will attract exactly the kind of crowd that just drives people, especially families or the elderly, to other cities. How is it that Mr. Liccardo had no idea this was opening up in his own district, and is just now protesting? Way too late for that now. This strip club should have been put on the north side of San Jose with the gambling establishments, but that would have made too much sense. Be prepared for more scarce police services to be diverted to this strip club, while the neighborhoods go to hell. Any you want to be our next mayor, Mr. Liccardo????

  3. Let me see if I hear Sam Laccardo right.  He doesnt want nudie bars or any other business that are more criminogenic then others in his area.  Well what about all those pot clubs everywhere else we don’t want them either.  Plus now he states hes concerned about a police department that is strapped for resources.  What planet is this so call city leader been living in.  We have an out of control problem with prostitution, drugs (downtown) and gangs.  We have gangs stabbings or shooting almost every night.  This guys has been the mayors puppet and has refused to help better public safety in our city.  The police department is so undermanned that they cannot effectively provide proper service to the citizens of San Jose.  We have officers leaving as fast as they can because of what they created.  Get this guy out of office and bring in someone who can think for himself and not ride the mayors bandwagon.

  4. Sam,  A guy like you did not know about this until now? Come On!
    I got a chuckle when I saw your picture and that of Blanca Alvarado in this post.
    Come On!
    I would have thought you would have Ron Gonzales, and larry Stone to exorcise the neighborhood of scantly dressed women so close to the St Joseph Cathedral, and Silly Hall.
    Just when I’ve thought I’d seen it all I see this!
      The Village Black Smith

  5. its hard to believe that this Potato head is Harvard educated .  # 1 , the Gold Club has been in the plans for awhile , so why didnt Lickardo speak up then ??? #2 instead of going after the Pot clubs and Nudie bars , wouldnt it be better to work with those establishments and tax them accordingly??#3 points to a study by social scientists , Really?? you need a study to tell you of increased activities. #4 “At a time when Police resources are strapped” , again really?? . THEY ARE STRAPPED BECAUSE OF YOU AND THE REST OF REEDS POSSE. its typical that you want P.D. services ,BUT you want someone else to pay for it.#5 “lure investors” hahahahahahaha! anyone who can read , knows the problems this city is facing. ( all crimes on rise , homicides will surpass last years total) all because of you and reeds posse. #6 be happy that there is no fee/assessment for dumb decisions or you and the Reed Posse would be broke

  6. Bring it on. The Mayor and Liccardo have turned San Jose into a dump city anyways.  Once the safest, now not even on the chart. July 25, SF Chronicle. Now way would the Mercury News Publish this.

    These were the safest cities in 2012:

    1. Irvine, Calif. had a murder rate 80% below average; rape rate 86% below average; robbery rate 86% below average.
    2. Fremont, Calif. had a murder rate 81% below average; rape rate 76% below average; robbery rate 47% below average.
    3. Plano, Texas had a murder rate 92% below average; rape rate 28% below average; robbery rate 65% below average.
    4. Madison, Wisc. had a murder rate 73% below average; unreported rape data; and robbery rate 11% below average.
    5. Irving, Texas had a murder rate 72% below average; rape rate 55% below average; and robbery rate 47% below average.
    6. Scottsdale, Ariz. has a murder rate 71% below average; rape rate 26% below average; and robbery rate 55% below average.
    7. Boise, Idaho has a murder rate 90% below average; rape rate 35% above average; and robbery rate 73% below average.
    8. Henderson, Nev. has a murder rate 68% below average, rape rate 13% below average; and robbery rate 43% below average.
    9. Chandler Ariz. has a murder rate 65% below average; rape rate 1% below average; and robbery rate 46% below average.
    10. Chula Vista, Calif. has a murder rate 32% below average; rape rate 50% below average; and robbery rate 20% below average.
    11. Hialeah, Fla. has a murder rate 63% below average; rape rate 36% below average; and robbery rate 2% below average.
    12. Virginia Beach, Va. has a murder rate equal to average; rape rate 52% below average; and robbery rate 36% below average.
    13. Garland, Texas has a murder rate 37% below average; rape rate 25% below average; and robbery rate 12% below average.
    14. El Paso, Texas has a murder rate 28% below average; rape rate 2% above average; and robbery rate 39% below national average.
    15. Fontana, Calif. has a murder rate 47% below average, rape rate 42% below average; and robbery rate 27% above average.
    16. Oxnard, Calif. has a murder rate 5% below average; rape rate 85% below average; and robbery rate 32% above average.
    17. Reno, Nev. has a murder rate 35% below average; rape rate 46% below average; and robbery rate 25% above average.
    18. Chesapeake, Va. has a murder rate 12% above average; rape rate 41% below average; and robbery rate 22% below average.
    19. Laredo, Texas has a murder rate 31% below average; rape rate 24% above average; and robbery rate 34% below average.
    20. San Diego, Calif. has a murder rate 25% below average; rape rate 15% below average; and robbery rate 0.3% below average.

  7. Why don’t they create fees for all those businesses in the downtown “Entertainment Zone” that create the need for all that police overtime at bar closing time?

    Why should San Jose residents that live miles from downtown have to pay so that drunken patrons of downtown establishments don’t cause mayhem when the bars close?  Is police overtime required at bar closing time for other places in San Jose like Santana Row?

    The rich and powerful people that own downtown have been pretty much getting what they want from our city council, including laws to effectively exclude certain businesses from downtown – businesses that will wind up being relocated to other areas, like San Carlos.

    It’s time that special treatment for downtown stops.

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