Advocate Lake Highlands (October 2009) : Page 59
LASTWORD SAME OL’ SOB STRIP CLUBS HAVE A FUNNY WAY OF STICKING AROUND OUR NEIGHBORHOOD In an ever-changing world, where you can never be sure of what will happen tomorrow, isn’t it comforting and reassuring to know that, despite the slings and arrows hurled over the past several years by our neigh- bors, the City of Dallas and the Texas Legislature, Lake Highlands still has a neighborhood strip joint? Yes, I can imagine Lake Highlands families around their dinner tables every night, giving thanks for their meal, their health and for the con- tinued operation of the Gold Club at Miller and Plano. The only thing sillier than still having to tolerate a strip joint in our neighborhood is the path that led us to the current situation. Long ago, but still in Lake Highlands, the Gold Club had a pre- decessor venue atWest Lawther and Northwest Highway called “PT’s”, which, I’m fairly certain, stood for “Pretty Tasteless”. During its ten- ure at that location, not only were Lake Highlands families bursting with pride about the Wildcat football team, but we also had the dubious distinction of having a strip joint at our western entrance to welcome visitors. Now, there’s a chamber of commerce ad! Over the years, because PT’s actu- ally operated in violation of a city ordinance prohibiting such busi- nesses from being within a certain distance of parks, residential neigh- borhoods and people just generally trying to avoid the less-inspiring fea- tures of humanity, PT’s had to apply for and obtain an annual “exemption” from the ordinance. By asserting that it was not adversely affecting property values or otherwise causing trouble (and, by the way, generating welcome revenue for the city), PT’s routinely was awarded its annual exemption and continued its contribution to the cultural development of our com- munity. Finally, however, ongoing litigation to fully enforce the city ordinance forced PT’s to close its doors onWest Lawther in 2003, and Lake Highlands was at last rid of an embarrassing exception to its family-friendly repu- tation—or so it seemed. Almost as soon as the last lap was danced on at PT’s, a brand-new, big- ger, more opulent successor called “PT’s — The Gold Club” opened its doors for business on the east side of Lake Highlands at Plano and Miller. Understandably, the businesses in the area, as well as the countless Lake Highlands families that live nearby and drive up and down Plano Road every day, were not happy. Neighbors organized almost immedi- ately, and initiated a petition drive. As it turned out, this new location — although technically in compli- ance with the city ordinance — was in a “dry” area, meaning the Gold Club would have to apply for a “private- club” liquor license from the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission in Austin. So neighbors decided to sign a petition opposing the Gold Club’s application for a liquor license. Incredibly, the community collect- ed 3,000 signatures on the petition and presented them to the TABC. Not only was the TABC unaccustomed to receiving this kind of objection from a community; this was, by far, the largest expression of disapproval it had ever seen. Since the TABC’s decision was discretionary, community leaders opposed to the Gold Club still felt like they needed to pursue other strategies, just in case the TABC was impressed, but not persuaded. The community leaders contacted me, in my freshman term as state repre- sentative, to see if emergency leg- islation could be introduced to help address the situation. That was the year the Legislature was setting records for being in ses- sion because folks kept running off to Ardmore and Albuquerque (and maybe to the Gold Club). So, dur- ing one of those special sessions, I introduced an amendment to anoth- er bill and received full cooperation from State Sen. John Carona (as the Senate sponsor), House Speaker Craddick, Lt. Gov. Dewhurst and Gov. Perry, and passed a law that, very simply, prohibited any sexually-ori- ented business—SOB—from being able to sell alcohol in a dry area. The law went into effect Jan. 1, 2004. Presumably, a strip joint that is unable to sell alcohol is not as attractive an enterprise. The strip- joint fraternity apparently agreed and immediately filed suit, claiming that the law was unconstitutional. And that was just the beginning ... Read the second installment of BillKeffer’s SOBstory in December’s Advocatemagazine. Visit the Advocate blog at advocatemag.com/lake-highlands/blog Bill Keffer, a neighborhood resident and former state representative, writes a bi-monthly opinion column about neighborhood issues. His opinions are not necessarily those of the Advocate or its management. Send comments and ideas to him at 6301 Gaston, Suite 820, Dallas, 75214; fax to 214.823.8866, or email to edi- firstname.lastname@example.org. advocatemag.com/lake-highlands OCTOBER 2009
SAME OL’ SOB
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