The article (by Melissa Holland of Awaken, published on ThisisReno) is not only full of half-truths and lies, it misquotes statistical data and twists it to show a side that does not really exist.
First, as the manager of the Wild Orchid we have offered to let Mrs. Holland to come and speak to the girls whenever she had time. We have offered to advertise her organization on our digital sign. Every time these offers have been extended her only response is to give her money for her organization. She does not want to talk to the girls or have her organization advertised alongside other midtown businesses and non-profit charities. She just wants to extort money.
Second, according to the city maps, no adult business is “legally” zoned. But according to the law, all the clubs are legally zoned since they went through the proper channels and appropriate application processes to receive permits to operate in their current locations. Proof that members of the city planning staff and Reno Police Department (RPD) believe that strip clubs are beneficial to the city can be found by looking at the August 1st, 2012 city planning meeting regarding Ed’s Knockouts where the same people who wrote the proposed regulations said the strip clubs have the same amount or less problems than bars located in nicer neighborhoods. Our crime rate was equal or less than Silver Peak’s downtown location. And we are open many more hours at night when the crime rate is higher.
Third, when questioned in the past, Mrs. Holland has stated that no girls she has interacted with had come from the Strip Clubs in Reno, but now, when it is convenient, two “unnamed” girls come forward. If there is any truth to their stories, which I doubt since clubs are so tightly regulated, these girls entered into the clubs illegally with fake ID’s and illegally obtained business licenses through the state and city to work in the clubs while the rest of their underaged sisters are walking up and down on fourth street, engaging in unprotected sex with drive by strangers, and are usually beaten regularly—things that never, never, never can happen inside one of the clubs in Reno.
Fourth, the constitution says you can’t eliminate the clubs, so at best, the City can only entice them to move locations. The several locations proposed by the city council are actually located across the street from schools and all of them are closer to schools and parks than any club is located now. So if the purpose of zoning is to put all the adult businesses in an appropriate place, then downtown in their present locations, near other adult businesses like casinos and bars, since a far better choice than moving them to a suburban venue—and the police can enforce the laws more effectively if the all the adult businesses are concentrated downtown.
Fifth as reported in the National Human Trafficking Resource Center only 3 cases of sex trafficking in the past 3 years have come out of any strip clubs in Nevada– not just Reno, that is ALL of Nevada. That is a low to zero score compared to other businesses.
Lastly, as for the secondary effects studies, critics keep citing studies from the 1980’s or earlier and the ones that are more recent come from places that conduct the studies on locations with new strip clubs put into remote locations with little to no police presence. The studies do not cover a club with 2 DECADES of existing data showing little to no violent crimes or sexual assaults as is the case for the Reno clubs. No murders which have occurred in these Reno clubs while there are plenty in other bars and nightclubs in Reno.
Why are we are the villains here? Is it because we give women a place to exercise their first amendment rights and an opportunity to make more money than other women, even those with college degrees? Do we want to have the government regulate morality? If so, are you prepared someday to accept adopting Sharia law and demanding woman wear barakahs outside the home.
The funny thing about all these secondary effects is government tried to ban playing music on the grounds it incited violence. From Elis to heavy metal to today’s most radical musical group, the authorities produced studies showing it disturbed our youth, and incited violence. Sorry, but we don’t live in a country that tells other people what they can read, or hear or see. If we take away the right of a dancer to perform without a top, then we should ban the ballet because the costumes are too revealing, and prevent Madonna from performing because of the gay/ BDSM undertones of her performances.
No one is forcing anyone to pay the cover charge to go into a strip club, or to pay the “buy in” to work as a performer there? So why should anyone care? Who are we protecting? And why are we letting other people tell us what we can see and do in America?
Ken Bell is manager of Wild Orchid.