Crime can strike many businesses - East Valley Tribune: Opinion

Crime can strike many businesses

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Posted: Friday, August 4, 2006 4:54 am | Updated: 2:25 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

Allegations reported in Thursday’s Tribune that the husband of adult-film star and Babe’s Cabaret co-owner Jenna Jameson assaulted one of the club’s strippers may provide a boost to those contemplating voting yes on Proposition 401.

The Sept. 12 referendum asks Scottsdale voters to uphold the City Council’s new regulations regarding Babe’s and Scottsdale’s other strip club, Skin Cabaret.

The clubs have said that following the new rules — which include increasing the distance between stripper and customer from 3 feet to 4 feet in small buildings that they say the city won’t let them expand — will drive them out of business. They said their establishments are not a threat to the city in which they operate and do not justify the city’s actions.

A significant argument supporting more city regulation is based on the idea of “negative secondary effects,” which, legalese aside, means that some businesses are simply bad news for a community by their very nature, even if no evidence of actual harm exists.

This doctrine, upheld in a 2000 U.S. Supreme Court decision, was key to developing Scottsdale’s revised city Sexually Oriented Businesses Ordinance that the City Council approved in December. The clubs and their supporters then obtained enough valid signatures to force a public vote.

Are occasional assaults or allegations of them a negative secondary effect of a strip club? Of course. But then, criminal behavior can create similar black marks on any businesses where they might occur.

A then-member of the Arizona State University football team is accused in the 2005 fatal shooting of another former team member outside a regular nightclub a few blocks away from Babe’s. No one on the council called for cracking down on that nightclub.

Look at different kinds of establishments found in most every community. For example, convenience stores open late or all night tend to have more armed robberies than other neighborhood businesses. If a convenience store opens down the block instead of, say, a day care center, the odds of an armed robber entering a convenience store are much greater. Nobody’s calling for fewer convenience stores, however.

And prostitution is often found to occur in hotel rooms. No one’s lowering the boom on hotels.

Is this lack of concern because people find hotels and convenience stores to be morally better places than strip clubs and are thus allowed, despite their own negative secondary effects?

The Supreme Court ruled that a city can have such regulations, but didn’t require them. S cottsdale voters instead can choose reasonableness, a philosophy that would bode well for any other business regulated by the city.

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