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September 8, 1997

Local News

Erotic dancing, bus tax on Sno. County ballots

  NW News Staff
   One asks for increased regulation of erotic dancers and nightclubs while the other requests voters to approve a small tax increase for bus service. Simple majorities are needed for approval in both cases.
   Referendum 96-01
   Voters will be asked whether or not to amend county code which would tighten restrictions on erotic dancers and add licensing requirements for dancers and managers of such establishments.
   Regulations would also include a four foot distance between dancers and the public, higher lighting levels, and placement of tips in dancer's hands rather than their clothing or body.
   Supporters say distance requirements would cut down on illegal touching. They point to 300 instances of fondling of dancers breasts and genitalia recorded by Sheriff's deputies at Honey's nightclub on Highway 99 between July 1995 and March 1996.
   Dancing, they contend, isn't free speech but merely a way for men to pay women to touch their breasts and genitals. Backers also say erotic dancing establishments lead to crime, lower property values and hurts children. Dissenters say the referendum is a "thinly disguised effort" to put a single nightclub out of business. They say this is an example of "paternalistic big government" deciding what is unhealthy for its citizens.
   "A no vote means that we believe that the citizens of our county are mature and responsible enough to make their own choices and they don't need the assistance of the County Council and the police," nay-sayers believe. Approval would lead to enforcement of County Council Ordinance 96-045.
   Proposition 1:
   Voters in the Cathcart-Clearview-Maltby area will be asked whether they wish to be annexed into the Public Transportation Benefit Area. Doing so would raise sales taxes in the area by .6 percent.
   Proponents argue that annexing into the PTBA would relieve traffic congestion and improve local bus service with connections out of the area.
   Opponents say that rural residents are being exploited to pay for bloated urban services. They also contend buses are driving around empty and are provide no environmental benefit.