I did not really want this to be the first blog to cover this story, given all the lubricious stereotypes that apply to a college student, but since Off the Kuff has noted it, I will as well. Originally from the Houston Chronicle, Texpatriate has learned that longstanding litigation between the City of Houston and strip clubs have come to a close.
At a press conference, Mayor Parker announced that the settlement, which will be described in detail later in this article, only applied to 16 specific clubs that have been “grandfathered” into this agreement. Those were the clubs originally targeted in a 1997 Sexually Themed Businesses ordinance, which prohibited (among other things) building new clubs close to schools or churches, as well as prohibiting full nudity, a distance of less than three feet between any guests and dancers, the elimination of private rooms and a requirement of licensing from the city. Since the passage of the ordinance, the 16 clubs have been in nonstop litigation against City Hall.
The strip clubs were not following any of those regulations, save perhaps licensing with the City. Grave concerns remained over the safety and welfare of the employees, and issues persisted over alleged prostitution in the private rooms at these clubs.
Accordingly, the City reached a deal wherein those grandfathered clubs would still be allowed have nudity and be able to completely disregard the three-foot rule (i.e., allow for lap dances). In exchange, the private rooms will be eliminated, and the clubs will stop hiring anyone convicted of either drug offenses of prostitution in the last 60 days. Further, steps will be taken to prevent any woman affiliated with a pimp from being hired by the clubs.
In addition, if any dancer at one of the participating clubs is convicted of a drug/prostitution/sexual offense, she will be blacklisted from working at any of the other participating clubs. Information on human trafficking awareness will be brought up at all the clubs, which will also collectively contribute about $1,000,000.00 to the Police Department in setting up a fund meant to combat human trafficking.
An explanation that was prevalent among the network news channels (leave it to TV to report on the salacious stories) was that this will free up HPD to focus on more serious offenses, such as the completely underground clubs much more likely to harbor and enable prostitution and drug rings.
The proposal still must be approved by the full City Council. I’ve only heard Councilmember Cohen weigh in on the proposal thus far, but she has been supportive. And no, I do not know which clubs are included in the aforementioned 16 grandfathered ones.
UPDATE: The list is below. H/t to Perry Dorrell (Brains and Eggs).
- Centerfolds (6166 Richmond)
- Chicas Locas (8100 North Freeway)
- Club Onyx (3113 Bering)
- Colorado Bar and Grill (6710 Southwest Freeway)
- Cover Girls (10310 West Little York)
- Gold Cup (12747 Northwest Freeway)
- The Men’s Club (3303 Sage)
- Michael’s International (6440 Southwest Freeway)
- Rick’s Cabaret North (410 N. Sam Houston Parkway)
- Rick’s Sports Cabaret (9009 Airport)
- Ritz Houston (10520 Gulf Freeway)
- Splendor (7440 W. Greens)
- Sunset Strip (2425 Mangum)
- Treasures (5647 Westheimer)
- Trophy Club (1050 Rankin)
- XTC North (11415 North Freeway)