Thursday, September 07, 2017 1:00 am
New approach to strip clubs
City Councilman Russ Jehl's proposed crackdown on Fort Wayne strip clubs was shelved Tuesday, but his goal of addressing chronic problems at the so-called “gentlemen's clubs” might be met with a different approach.
Council voted 5-4 to table Jehl's ordinance, which would require strip clubs to end performances at midnight but allow them to continue to sell alcohol until 3 a.m.
Of 382 police calls to those establishments in a 16-month period, almost 70 percent of them occurred after midnight, according to the 2nd District councilman.
A majority of council members could vote to revive the measure, but Jehl isn't optimistic about its chances.
Councilman John Crawford, R-at large, might have a better approach.
He wants to rework a proposed chronic problem property ordinance, using it as a tool to address police calls to strip clubs.
It could serve to identify the worst offenders, not just at strip clubs but at all establishments where fights and criminal activity occur with higher frequency. The adult entertainment businesses operating responsibly wouldn't be affected.
Give Jehl credit for seeking well-considered regulations. He did the research to find an ordinance likely to withstand legal challenge, but the chronic problem property ordinance might prove to be more useful in the long run. Council should pursue it.