Glendale Tries to Squeeze Out Adult Store

Times Staff Writer

Glendale officials took action this week to rid the city of its only sexually oriented adult book and video store and to discourage potential peep-show operators from locating in the city.

Frustrated by constitutional guarantees of freedom of expression, the City Council on Tuesday proposed an ordinance with regulations so stringent that they hope any adult entertainment business will be rendered unprofitable.

The action came just three weeks after the council adopted regulations that appeared to condone adult-oriented businesses in Glendale’s downtown redevelopment zone.

A measure introduced Tuesday and expected to be adopted next week would prohibit enclosed booths in any store that offers adult entertainment. Officials said the booths, used by customers to view sexually explicit videos, have contributed to incidents of lewd conduct among customers who frequent adult shops.


Outright Ban Prohibited

The council has grappled for months over what to do about the Total News & Video store that has operated since May, 1986, at 6524 San Fernando Road in the city’s industrial zone.

An outright ban on adult-entertainment businesses is prohibited by court interpretations of the First Amendment to the Constitution.

The council March 7 adopted a law confining such adult-entertainment businesses to the downtown commercial district--action that an attorney representing the video store said “opened a can of worms” and would attract, rather than discourage, adult-oriented businesses.


Attorney Roger J. Diamond, who contends that Glendale’s effort to ban Total News & Video violates the operator’s constitutional rights, said last month that the law restricting peep-show operations to the commercial district makes the city “ripe for the picking” by new adult-entertainment businesses.

But Mayor Carl Raggio said Tuesday that the proposed ordinance banning private viewing booths “will discourage this type of business in this city” by making such stores virtually unprofitable.

Booths Are ‘Lifeblood’

Glendale Police Lt. Michael Post, commander of the vice and narcotics division, told the council that the proposed ordinance “would eliminate 90% to 100% of the lewd conduct that has been taking place” at the adult entertainment store. He said the booths “are the lifeblood of the business” and account for 70% of the store’s income.

Glendale City Atty. Frank R. Manzano said “numerous studies” have shown that peep-show operations “have an increased incidence of lewd conduct.” He said an ordinance banning private viewing booths “is viable and enforceable and represents a reasonable means of dealing with the well-documented problems that this type of land-use activity generates.”

Diamond, in an interview this week, said he sees no purpose in protesting the council’s latest action, but is considering a legal challenge.

The law, when adopted, would give Total News & Video 90 days to get rid of its private booths.