4-foot rule's defeat means Seattle reverts to old law
It looks like lap dances will remain legal in Seattle. With a no vote on Seattle Referendum 1, voters were firmly rejecting the city's "four-foot...
Seattle Times staff reporter
It looks like lap dances will remain legal in Seattle.
With a no vote on Seattle Referendum 1, voters were firmly rejecting the city's "four-foot rule," which would have banned lap dances by requiring exotic dancers and customers to keep their distance.
The rule was part of a strict new strip-club ordinance approved by the Seattle City Council last year. The ordinance also would have banned direct tipping of dancers, forced clubs to install brighter lights and prohibited private dances some clubs offer in "VIP" rooms or booths.
Such regulations are common in more conservative suburbs. But they apparently went against the grain of Seattle's urban electorate.
"I think Seattle is more open-minded and liberal than our politicians give us credit for being," said Tim Killian, campaign manager for Seattle Citizens for Free Speech, the strip-club-funded campaign to overturn the rules, which were not being enforced pending the vote. The campaign was as lopsided as any in Seattle history, with clubs raising $866,000 for the effort to overturn the four-foot rule; supporters of the rule raised nothing. The clubs used the money to pay for TV ads portraying supporters of the ordinance as moral scolds.
Supporters of stricter rules, including Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels, had argued that the laws would allow police to more easily inspect clubs and spot illegal activities. But the city produced little evidence to suggest that strip clubs cause significant crime problems.
Tuesday's result could lead to new strip clubs opening in the city for the first time in decades. The city had a moratorium on new clubs for 17 years, but it was ruled illegal last year.
Nickels said the defeat of the rules creates "a financial motive to have strip clubs in the city." He has proposed zoning that would limit new clubs to an industrial part of South Seattle.
The defeat of the rule means the city will revert to its old law, which prohibits sexual contact and displays of nudity offstage in clubs.
Jim Brunner: 206-515-5628 or email@example.com
When vice president of Sub Pop Records Megan Jasper isn't running things at the office, she's working in her garden at her West Seattle home where she and her husband Brian spend time relaxing.