R.I.P. Cheetah's San Diego.
Personally, I'm not into strip clubs. For the obvious, traditional reasons and more. As for the rules, in San Diego, you need a permit, and also can't serve alcohol if the dancers are "nude". Plus there's a no-touching rule -- neither the patron nor the dancer can touch each other -- plus they have to stay at least six feet away from each other. As a result, what transpires at this particular place is not exactly the same as you see in, say, The Sopranos.
At least in theory.
There are apparently a lot of dancers at this particular club. A lot. According to the Court of Appeal, "[b]etween 12 to 15 adult entertainers
perform on a day shift and an average of 50 adult entertainers perform on an evening
shift." I wouldn't have thought that alcohol-free six-foot-away dancing would result in such high employment rates, but that shows you how much I know.
As for the actual practices in this club, I think we can all agree that neither the letter nor the spirit of the various San Diego rules was consistently followed. Though, given the extent of the violations, I am surprised how long this club kept going -- as well as how slap-on-the-wrist most of the penalties were, at least until the end.
"In 2006, the City issued a 30-day suspension to Coe for multiple violations of the
six-foot and no-touch rules occurring during overt and covert inspections between
September 2005 and September 2006. Coe appealed the suspension. The parties
subsequently settled the matter in January 2007 with Coe admitting to no-touch violations
occurring between March and September 2006 and paying a $10,000 fine.
In July 2012 the City issued a 15-day suspension to Coe for multiple violations of
the six-foot, no-touch, and no-fondling rules occurring between March 2011 and April
2012. Coe appealed the suspension. The parties settled the matter in February 2013 with
Coe admitting the violations, agreeing to a three-day suspension, and paying a $20,000 civil penalty."
Man. I wish I could settle all my cases on such favorable terms.
"At the end of April 2013 the City sent Coe a warning letter advising her of
multiple violations of the no-touch and no-fondling rules by 14 adult entertainers. The
violations occurred during covert inspections in late March and April 2013, after Coe and
her staff had completed the mandatory training.
In May 2013 Coe and the business's managers met with police department
representatives. The parties discussed the recent violations and what measures Coe might
employ to reduce their occurrence. The police representatives warned Coe the next
penalty for further violations would be a 15-day suspension. . . .
Nonetheless, violations continued to occur at Coe's business. In August 2013 the
City sent Coe a warning letter advising her of multiple violations of the no-touch and nofondling
rules by 10 adult entertainers occurring during covert inspections in May, June
and July 2013. In October 2013 the City sent Coe a warning letter advising her of violations of the no-touch and no-fondling rules by one adult entertainer occurring during
a covert inspection in September 2013. In February 2014 the City sent a warning letter to
Coe advising her of multiple violations of the no-touch and no-fondling rules by nine
adult entertainers occurring during overt and covert inspections in January and February
2014. In April 2014 the City sent Coe a warning letter advising her of multiple violations
of the no-touch and no-fondling rules by three adult entertainers occurring during covert
inspections in February 2014."
Notice that there are no actual penalties for any of this stuff. So, on the one hand, it seems like San Diego was very aggressive in conducting covert surveillance at the strip club. On the other hand, it seems like San Diego was simultaneously uninterested in actually doing anything about the violations.
I wonder why San Diego would send so many investigators to conduct "surveillance" inside a nude strip club so many times and yet never actually do anything about the observed violations? Is there something enjoyable about just actually conducting the surveillance? Nah. Couldn't be.
Finally, the City decides to revoke the strip club's license. Mind you, the place appeals, and as a result, gets multiple additional years to operate while the appeals take their course. (Oh, yeah: "[W]hile the administrative appeal was pending, the
City sent Coe a warning letter advising her of multiple violations of the six-foot, no-touch,
and no-fondling rules by 16 adult entertainers occurring during covert inspections
in July and August 2014." We're still very excited about the ability to send our officers into strip clubs on the clock, even after the permit's been revoked.)
But, in the end, the Court of Appeal affirms. So that'll presumably be the end of the place.
But what a run, I guess.
The underlying problem, apparently, is one of incentives. As well as human nature. The patrons want to be touched. The dancers are independent contractors who get paid via tips, and tips are higher -- I assume much higher -- when they satisfy their patron's desires. And the security guards who are hired to monitor the dancers (and patrons) get tipped by the dancers, whom (as you'll recall) get higher tips when they violate the rules.
You can see the problem. Even if the owners want dancers to stop touching -- and it's unclear that they even do (since presumably touching means more customers means more money) -- it's a hard practice to stop. From the opinion: "Over 40 separate nude entertainers committed the violations, which included rubbing
breasts against faces; grinding breasts and buttocks against groins; and rubbing groins or
hands against legs, chests, or groins."
A shorthand lesson in human nature.