It’s now been almost one year since our community began this fight. And despite early predictions from the club’s representatives, our opposition hasn’t blown over or been forgotten.
The overwhelming sentiment we are hearing expressed time and time again is that people feel that their reasonable requests for restrictions on the club’s operating permit should be heeded. There is enormous concern that the findings of the Hearing Examiner’s report be upheld.
Among suggested restrictions, those that we hear time and time again as being most important to you are:
1. That hours of operation should be restricted from 7pm to 12am on weekdays and from 4pm to 1am on Saturdays and Sundays
2. That there be NO SIGN on the property indicating the Club usage (suggestions of a small, brass plaque by the door have been made)
3. That the minimum age for a patron be raised to 19
4. That the SKIN Club police the surround area each morning to remove condoms and other paraphenelia
5. That the SKIN Club hire a bonded, licensed, independent private security firm to provide regular security patrol of the area during business hours and up to 1 hour after the club closes
6. That the Club engage in active dialogue between the owners and community leaders
What happens now?
On Wednesday October 15th, there will be a further hearing on this matter in front of the Police Permit Review Panel.
The hearing will be held downtown at Parker Center, as before, and begins at 2:30pm. Parker Center is located at 150 N. Los Angeles Street, Los Angeles 90012.
If you are interested in attending, and need a parking spot, please email the following information to firstname.lastname@example.org no later than Tuesday 10/14 at Noon.
Subject: Strip Club Hearing
Name of driver
Type of car
Year and color of car
License plate #
The City Hall Parking is at 201 N. Los Angeles Street, Los Angeles 90012. Entrance is across the street from Parker Center.
What is this hearing about?
As posted below, the Police Permit Review Panel recommended at the last hearing that the Hearing Examiner, Mr. Mac Neil, should conduct an additional hearing into the specific concerns about crime and ownership that were raised by the community attorney, Mr. Pat Harris.
A small group of community leaders and our attorneys attended this additional hearing, and spoke on the community’s behalf. Complete details of the hearing can be found in Mr. Mac Neil’s second report. You can download that report here.
As you will see, Mr. Mac Neil agrees that there are significant questions about ownership and has recommended that the club’s owner, Mr. Woo Suk Yang, present himself in front of the panel on October 15th to answer questions.
We continue to be hopeful that we may eventually actually see or hear from the owner of this business, although to date the club has only ever been represented by his attorney, Roger Jon Diamond, and by his son, Stanley Yang (owner of Silver Reign on the WestSide) who attended the Hamilton Hearing.
What seems to be the issue? Is the panel asleep at the wheel?
This is a question we are hearing time and time again. We share your concerns, and find ourselves equally amazed that the Panel has not yet acted in accordance with the recommendations of the Hearing Examiner they themselves have appointed to hear the case and make recommendations. Our concerns have been well documented and supported, and we know that the club continues to have a history of behaving with a “selective” approach to city codes and rules.
We wish we had a better answer to this question, and remain hopeful that the Panel and the City Attorney will do the right thing in this case.
Has the club been breaking rules?
* In July, many of you called and emailed about the giant illuminated moving billboard advertisement that the club has been using, particularly when it was parked in front of the club at Earl Scheib, clearly circumnavigating city codes that require permitting for temporary signage, and causing significant additional distraction to drivers at a DANGEROUS intersection.
Thanks to your vigilance and efforts and a concerted writing campaign to Earl Scheib, we were able to ensure that the billboard is no longer parking in front of the club.
- Also in July, we heard from a number of you that the club was illegaly housing staff in a building they lease on Ellis Avenue (to the rear of the club.) Upon checking City records, we were able to verify that the certificate of occupancy for this building did not allow any residential use. The club was cited by Building & Safety and ordered to stop all residential use and undo the un-permitted dwelling unit they had created on the second floor. We agree with you that a “dwelling unit” which can be accessed through the back door of the club without ever being seen is not a good idea for an all-nude establishment, particularly one which has close and questionable ties to other clubs where prostitution has been a repeated problem.
We thank the hundreds of vigilant eyes, ears and cameraphones that continue to watch the club and inform us of their activities.
- The neighbors immediately surrounding the club in Regent Square continue to regularly complain about finding used condoms and other adult materials on their sidewalks. Several reports have been made to Pacific Police Division, and we continue to monitor these incidents closely.
Neighbors tell us that they have found three times as many used condoms in the last year than in the 10 years prior to the club’s opening. Why should these residents pay the price?
- Female employees who work at some of the businesses on Ellis Avenue behind the club have complained of being sexually harassed by club patrons on their way to and from their cars.
In one incident, a woman and her young daughter were the recipients of this unwelcome attention. Needless to say this is also of serious concern to us all.
So what happens next?
We attend the hearing on October 15th, and continue to put faith in the system which was created to protect and serve us.
BUT, we also acknowledge that this may be a long war, and although battles may be lost along the way, our proximity to the club and widespread level of continued concern makes us strong.
We’re not going away, and we’re not going to stop watching, listening, documenting and reporting.
With the economic downturn and impending recession, we’d be surprised if the club manages to stay in business over time, particularly with the poor reviews it receives online.
Can we picket the club?
Many of you have repeatedly raised the option of sustained, organized protests with Police protection outside the club.We know that many of the religious communities in our neighborhood have expressed interest in organizing their congregations for this purpose.
While this has not been our first choice of approach to date, it may become our strongest card moving forward. It’s hard to sustain a successful business in the face of such public protest.
Is there legal recourse open to us?
If we have reason to believe the the City of Los Angeles has not carried out its responsibilities as it should, this is always an option, and one that we continue to discuss with our attorneys.
Why are you so worried about this club and not all the other problems that we face?
We’re worried about those too. And we’re active in the community across the board. Many of us form part of your neighborhood council, and spend many hours volunteering on a monthly basis to address safety, crime, blight, “broken windows”, education, health, outreach and many other avenues of community concern. It’s not that we’re only concerned with this club, but we proudly admit that we tremendously concerned about our community, and that it should continue to grow and flourish in the best possible way. We feel this club poses a threat to that goal, and our collective efforts are a measure of the commitment we have all made to be proactive in our communities.
What can I do? I’m not prepared to give up on this…
We hear you, and agree with you. Here’s the good news:
This election year has brought out a strong sense of community responsibility and engagement in people across the country. People feel activated and determined to write their own destinies, not accept status quo. As community activists, we feel this on a daily basis. And we encourage you to get involved. It’s very, very hard to continue to deny the power of a motivated and activated community who is not afraid to raise its voice, or fight for its sanctity.
Our community remains galvanized on this issue, like no issue before. From our collected efforts to date, untold new connections and partnerships have been formed between residents, business owners, parents, teachers and neighborhood groups and as a result, we are stronger than ever before.
If you’d like ideas for how you can become more involved on this issue, and others facing our community, please email us.
Thanks for reading to the end. As always, we look forward to hearing from you and seeing you speak out to protect the place that you call home.