L.A. Delays on 3 Ballot Measures

Times Staff Writer

Los Angeles City Council members on Wednesday postponed decisions on whether to put before voters three ballot measures dealing with lap dancing, tax increases to pay police salaries and use of port money.

Putting the measures on the spring's presidential primary ballot would cost the city more than $3 million, and several council members said Los Angeles cannot afford the expense.

Still, the City Council must make some sort of decision on lap dancing within the next 18 days.

After the council passed a law in September saying dancers and their customers had to stay 6 feet from each other in the city's adult clubs, a coalition of adult businesses gathered enough signatures to force council members to rescind their lap-dancing ban or put it before voters.

City law says the City Council must respond within 20 days.

Council members decided Wednesday not to put the matter on the March ballot, and now they must decide whether to rescind the ordinance or include it in the next city election in 2005.

Steven Afriat, a lobbyist for adult businesses, said many of those firms would be willing to work out a compromise on the law instead of putting it before voters.

On another issue, Councilwoman Cindy Miscikowski said she does not believe officials have done their homework when it comes to asking voters to approve a tax increase to pay for additional police officers -- which also is being considered for the March ballot.

"We can't run willy-nilly and put something on the ballot," she said.

Still, other council members said the city is desperate for more police officers.

"If we can make this city safer, sooner, $3 million is something we should contemplate," Councilman Tony Cardenas said. "We're talking about a crisis."

The council has until Nov. 26 to decide whether to put anything on the March ballot.

The port measure would change the City Charter to allow funds of the Port of Los Angeles to be spent on education, recreation, culture and tourism.

Currently, money generated by the port can be spent only on maritime purposes.

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