Due to consistent vice raids seeking to uncover minor violations of the no-touch ordinance, San Diego's strip clubs are losing business and rapidly declining in number.
The San Diego Hospitality and Entertainment Coalition is extremely concerned at the impact the industry's decline is having on the local economy, and urges the city council to lift the no-touch ordinance.
Scrapping this outdated ordinance would have a substantially positive effect on the local economy. If strip clubs were able to operate without the no-touch ordinance and threat of regular vice raids, the city would attract a larger amount business conventions and tourism in general.
It's no secret that because of its lack of strip clubs, San Diego is known among male convention attendees as being a somewhat boring city to visit. And while adult entertainment venues are still viewed by many as controversial, the benefits of a thriving adult entertainment scene on a city's economy cannot be denied:
For example. Atlanta and Las Vegas have the highest volume of strip clubs not operating the no-touch policy in the U.S. and by no coincidence are the biggest attractors of conventions in the U.S.
In comparison, San Diego, the seventh largest city in the U.S. has just two alcohol serving strips clubs.
Even with so few strip clubs, San Diego's strip clubs generate over $70 million a year for the economy. The San Diego Hospitality & Entertainment Coalition estimates that with the lift of the no-touch ordinance, revenue could reach in excess of over $100 million per year.
To put some perspective on how outdated the no-touch ordinance is, we need look no further than a regular Hooters restaurant. A Hooters waitress is legally allowed to sit on a customer's lap, but an adult entertainer can be ticketed for the same act. In addition to a fine, the club can also be shut down.There is a clear double standard here.
The few remaining San Diego Strip clubs face an additional threat too. The industry is now losing millions of dollars as patrons turn away from the vice ridden city clubs and head to Mexico instead.
With kidnappings on the rise and our economy in decline, is it not our duty to provide safe, licensed adult entertainment venues within San Diego that benefit the people and the economy?
This further begs the question as to why the San Diego police department is so focused on shutting down strip clubs.
Who benefits from the closures? Who benefits from customers crossing the border to visit venues in Mexico?
Moreover, why spend hundreds of thousands of dollars each year enforcing the antiquated no-touch policy rather than target the hundreds of illegal full service massage parlors popping up all over the city?
In 2013, $96m was spent on the illegal sex trade in San Diego, of which not a cent was paid in tax. Why is vice not allocating more time and resource to catching the criminals benefiting from this trade?
If this trend continues, hundreds of legitimate taxpaying dancers will be made unemployed. With few flexible choices for gainful employment, this will mean turning to the welfare state for help.
Why give $300 each (per night) to a squad of vice officers to party in a strip club in the hope of catching a stripper in violation of the no-touch ordinance? That's $1,200 per party which equals hundreds and thousands per year at the taxpayers' expense.
Would this money not be better spent on catching real criminals like drug dealers, human traffickers, and street robbers? Would the money not be better spent making San Diego a safer city for its taxpaying citizens?
It's time San Diego caught up with the times. It's time the no-touch ordinance was scrapped and police time and taxpayers' money were spent catching real criminals. It's also time San Diego began benefitting from the huge potential of convention visitors by facilitating the growth of its adult entertainment industry.
-San Diego Hospitality and Entertainment Coalition