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Not everyone finds candy sweet Tom Basinski | Sat, Aug 16 2014 12:00 PM

Please do not infer from what I write on this topic that I favor one side or the other. From my "investigation" so far it seems Eyecandy Showgirls may have submitted a fraudulent application when they declared the business would be a "comedy club" instead of an all-nude strip joint.

It also seems the city is being heavy-handed in their dealings with Mr. Randy Welty, owner of the club. The city called out the dogs and went through Welty’s business with a fine-toothed comb to find violations regarding lighting, storage of materials etc. Code Enforcement, the most useless bureau within the city, even weighed in and found violations.

The only thing I have been able to get Code Enforcement to do is write a letter to the violator when a blatant violation is reported. The letter is then ignored.

The other thing that gets me is the city is afraid that Eyecandy’s existence will result in a failure of morals and the takeover of the city by troublemakers and sex fiends.

Every now and then I attend the monthly breakfast where Councilwoman Pat Aguilar presents an interesting topic and speaker. Even though Eyecandy has never been the main topic, some attendees express their outrage and predict the doom of us all if Eyecandy is allowed to continue.

Talking with Randy Welty, Eyecandy’s owner, is more entertaining than a good movie. The iconoclastic Welty is fun, funny, and doesn’t give a darn what the city plans to do. He’s going to do what he wants, until some judge orders the locks changed. If Ms. Aguilar would invite Welty to speak she could sell tickets and make a profit.

In an interview with my colleague Robert Moreno, Councilman Rudy Ramirez said, “I’ve spent some time looking at the volumes of cases and reports on the secondary effects [of adult entertainment] and I’m convinced that they’re real.”

According to the city’s hired gun attorney from Los Angeles, Deborah Fox, the “secondary effects” include crime, the destruction of neighborhoods and commercial districts, and the increased threat of the spread of sexually transmitted diseases.” Quick, hide the women and children!

Some months ago I filed a Public Records Act request with the police department covering January 1, to December 31, 2013. I requested police activity numbers, both officer initiated, and calls for service for three locations: 1) Eyecandy Showgirls, 2) The Good Nite Inn, a motel next to Showgirls, and 3) The trolley station across the freeway.

The Good Nite Inn had 59 police actions, including obstructing an officer, a firearms violation, four narcotics cases and five domestic violence calls.

The Trolley station had 277 police activity situations, including eight robberies, 14 domestic violence calls, 15 assaults, 4 felony arrests, 3 narcotic cases, and one rape.

Eyecandy Showgirls racked up a whole 20 police activities during the 12 months. There was one felony arrest and one narcotics call. There were zero prostitution or sex cases. The police department wouldn’t share with me their enforcement methods for Eyecandy (and I don’t blame them for not sharing), but you can bet a buck or two that they had their eyes on that place. I don’t know if they sent in any undercover cops, but I imagine they did once or twice.
I personally like everyone in our city attorney’s office. Deborah Fox, the L.A. attorney returned a phone call to me on the day it was received. She was polite, informative, and helpful. Her description of what is a residential zone, and how Eyecandy is within 500 feet of that zone, left me scratching my head, but I’m no attorney and that will be decided by someone who knows.

I feel duty bound to conduct at least one more site visit to see if Eyecandy is complying with the city rules. And, despite many offers of backup, I don’t need company. I work alone.

Basinski is an author, former Chula Visa police officer and investigator with the San Diego County District Attorney’s office.

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