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Teen Nightclub to Open Under Strict Regulations

Times Staff Writer

Gino’s II, formerly a Hollywood dance club, will soon be operating as a teen nightclub but will do so under rigid conditions imposed last week by the Los Angeles Board of Police Commissioners.

It becomes the fourth teen club in the city. The others, all in the San Fernando Valley, are Hot Trax in Van Nuys, Phases in Canoga Park and Sherman Square Entertainment in Reseda.

The latest permit was granted to Boris Burg, owner of the club at 1123 Vine St., after he voluntarily agreed to the conditions.

Burg said in an interview that he had no problem with the restrictions. “I’m remodeling, and it’s going to be a better place.’

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Gino’s II is located in the councilmanic district of Michael Woo. “Basically, I had some concern about a teen dance club opening up in my city,” Woo said. “I support the idea of adding some additional restrictions on the club.

“Hopefully (the restrictions) will enable Gino’s II to be a good neighbor. If not, I am in favor of taking away their permit and closing them down.”

Under the conditions, according to Detective Richard Rudell of the police commission:

- Two state-licensed security guards must be on the premises when the club is open and one must remain outside the club for one hour after it closes.

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- Copies of rules and regulations of conduct inside and outside the club must be posted in at least two locations.

- The operators must clean a one-block area around the club each night and keep it “clean and rid of refuse.”

- The entrance to the rear parking lot must be locked, so that all cars except those of employees have to enter and exit the lot through the front entrance rather than through an alley.

- The operators of the club must inspect patrons, their garments and bags before admitting them to the club to prevent drugs, alcohol or weapons from being brought into the club.

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- A dress code will be enforced.

- The owner and operators of the club must keep in contact with the surrounding community “to ensure the peace in the vicinity.”

These conditions are in addition to tightened regulations of teen discos contained in an ordinance passed by the City Council and signed by Mayor Bradley last summer.

The ordinance, which went into effect Aug. 31, requires that nightspots for teen-agers close by 10 p.m. on school nights and by 1 a.m. other nights. It also restricts attendance at teen clubs to those between 13 and 21 who are carrying proof of age. Youths 13 to 15 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian or have written permission to attend.

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No liquor can be served at the teen clubs.

Before passage of the new ordinance, the clubs could stay open until 2 a.m.

The ordinance also requires that club employees refuse admission to intoxicated youths and report them to parents and police.

Erica Scarano, president of Neighborhood Action Group (NAG), an organization supporting police efforts to curb crime and vandalism in Hollywood and West Hollywood, said she approves of the decision to grant the permit.

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Practical Approach

“I think it’s a very common-sense approach,” Scarano said. “We have a big drug problem in Hollywood. The kids need to be protected. This kind of club doesn’t add to the drug and drinking problem.”

The new ordinance and various conditions imposed on the three San Fernando Valley Clubs, however, have not been totally successful.

Complaints from neighbors of Phases, at 7230 Topanga Canyon Blvd. in Canoga Park, inspired San Fernando Valley Councilwoman Joy Picus to propose the ordinance passed last summer. After a raid on April 2, police cited the club for admitting patrons under 18. On April 23, the board issued the club a temporary dance permit allowing it to admit 16- and 17-year-old patrons and those under 16 if accompanied by a parent. Additional conditions were imposed, similar to those agreed to by the owner of Gino’s II.

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The police commission also agreed to review permits of all the teen clubs in the city.

Picus was not satisfied with the effort and began her fight to impose further restrictions on the teen clubs, resulting in the passage of the new ordinance

Neighbors of Phases, however, continued to complain of teen-agers’ use of drugs and alcohol, vandalism, noise and other problems. Barbara Miller, a hearing examiner for the Los Angeles police commission, was assigned to make a recommendation to the board commission on whether to close the club or possibly add more restrictive conditions of operation. She will make her recommendation after hearing testimony from police commission investigators and attorneys for Phases.

Outspoken Critic

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Another club, Hot Trax in Van Nuys, was in the news after a 15-year-old patron was killed in a shooting Aug. 17 outside the club.

Deputy Chief Daniel R. Sullivan, commander of the four police divisions in the Los Angeles Police Department’s Valley Bureau, is outspoken in his criticism of the teen clubs.

“They don’t serve liquor (in the clubs), but some go out in the lot (and drink). What happens is the people that run the clubs do try to comply with the rules. But when you have a place like that the people who go to them--they are all play-acting.

“They are children pretending they are adults. There are girls with million-dollar bodies and 10-cent heads. There are boys that dress like someone out of the bar scene in ‘Star Wars.’ They all see themselves as being in a music video.”

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The teen-agers get caught up in playing roles, he said. “Conflicts develop. They can’t back down, or be uncool. If it’s a choice between uncool and shooting somebody, (they think) you just have to shoot them. If someone makes a comment about the girl you are dancing with, you can’t just stand by. And bystanders won’t intervene. So you have problems all the time.”


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