Brandishing cameras and camcorders, hundreds of Simi Valley residents rallied Tuesday against what would be the first adult entertainment establishment in their city.
Build it somewhere else, such as Los Angeles or Las Vegas, they said. Build it here, and we will be filming you, they said.
The proposed 6,250-square-foot adult-entertainment establishment would include a “cabaret/theater” and a “video, novelties boutique,” according to a special use application filed with the city of Simi Valley.
Whether it was called an adult cabaret, or in rally organizer Steve Frank’s words, a “porn mall,” the prospect of the new business was enough to attract protesters to the site of the proposed business on Los Angeles Avenue near Sinaloa Road.
Frank estimated the crowd at 250 and said 3,000 people have signed anti-porn petitions.
At the rally, children held signs reading “Keep Simi Safe for Me” and “Stop the Sexploitation.”
The event began with the song “God Bless America” and ended with “America the Beautiful.” In-between, religious and political leaders joined residents in condemning the proposed business, which they said would bring with it crime, drugs, prostitution and immorality.
“The ones that want to build this need our prayers, they need our mercy, and they also need a strong warning,” said pastor Roger Willis of the Valley Bible Community Church. “The Scripture is very clear about immorality.”
Councilwoman Barbara Williamson told the crowd there was no way she would support the adult entertainment center.
“I will do everything I possibly can to keep this kind of business out of our community,” she said.
Laura Sharp, a self-described feminist and mother who moved to Simi Valley from Van Nuys in January, said pornography is an example of “moral depravity.”
“Pornography doesn’t just degrade women, it degrades and addicts men,” she said, warning that “charged-up” men would leave the theater and leer at, perhaps even assault, local women and girls.
Frank, who is running for the state Assembly, read aloud the phone numbers and addresses of the property owner and the person who has applied for the center permit.
He urged residents to voice their concerns politely to the two Simi Valley businessmen and warned that future protests may occur at the homes of the two men. Philip Young, listed with the city as the applicant, could not be reached for comment.
City Planner Laura Kuhn said in an interview that the request for a special use permit will be placed on the Planning Commission agenda after the applicants respond to a request from city officials for more information on the project, including floor plans, hours of operation and impact on traffic patterns.
No other special use permits for adult entertainment have been granted in the city, Kuhn said.