Three political heavyweights have joined a Catholic bishop, county attorney and gubernatorial candidate in supporting stricter regulations for Scottsdale’s two topless clubs.
The Yeson401.com political committee announced Friday the endorsements of Republican Congressmen J.D. Hayworth and John Shadegg, along with former Tempe mayor and Hayworth challenger Democrat Harry Mitchell. Also joining the growing list of supporters Friday was north Tempe activist Darlene Justus.
This announcement comes exactly one week after 13 members of the faith community, including Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix, offered support of the measure. Three more religious leaders have since added their names. And Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas and Republican gubernatorial candidate Len Munsil previously expressed support of the coalition anchored by the Center for Arizona Policy, a Christian conservative group founded by Munsil.
Hayworth said in a statement: “I have heard from my constituents on the importance of this issue to them. Scottsdale’s Prop. 401 is an important step toward protecting the local community from the negative effects that these types of businesses have on our neighborhoods.”
Mitchell said: “This initiative will help protect Scottsdale’s quality of life, and ensure that Scottsdale remains a great home for families and for businesses.”
Mitchell, however, had an inaccuracy in his statement. He praised the City Council for voting unanimously to send this initiative to the ballot. Actually, the council voted for the tougher regulations, and the two strip clubs gathered signatures in a successful referendum effort to force a vote to overturn the council. Mitchell’s statement has since been corrected.
The election is Sept. 12. If Proposition 401 is approved, Babe’s Cabaret — which is partially owned by adult-film mogul Jenna Jameson — and Skin Cabaret will have a new 4-foot distance requirement between semi-nude dancers and patrons. Club owners say the regulations will drive them out of business.
Lamar Whitmer, a political consultant representing the clubs, said: “You have a bunch of politicians sucking up to the religious right. Remember they are politicians, and it’s not surprising that they think this is a way for them to get their name out there.”