Believe it or not, Waldon "Randy" Welty, owner of Eyecandy Showgirls, is a tweaker. No! He's not a tweaker as in using crystal methamphetamine. Rather, Welty likes to tweak the noses of those in governmental authority.
A very interesting guy, Welty has an apparent bottomless pit of money, a fact much beloved by his long-time attorney Roger Diamond.
Welty, a slow-talking Texas native with a twinkle in his eye has the craggy, lined skin, and deep, gravelly voice of someone who has smoked a few hundred thousand cigarettes in his life.
Welty’s fight with the city of Chula Vista over the strip club has been percolating for close to a year. I predicted in this space that a court decision would be a long way off, following a myriad of maneuvers, delays, hearings, and other stuff that prolongs the legal process. Deborah Fox, the Los Angeles-based attorney hired by the city, told me the trial is scheduled for Oct. 14, 2014, even longer than the snail-like pace I predicted.
I am interested in only three of the factual components of the case. First, when Welty’s parent company, Manta Management, applied for the business license at 215 Bay Boulevard, Manta’s application indicated it would be a comedy cabaret club. When the business opened, it was a nude cabaret. I would think the city’s position of fraudulent application might have some merit based on dishonesty in filing the papers unless there is some confusion over what constitutes a “cabaret.”
The second point of interest is the city says Eyecandy is within 500 feet of a residential zone. I dispute this, unless the city has some convoluted way of defining a residential zone. In the interest of journalistic accuracy I paced the distance from Eyecandy’s driveway to the driveway of the nearest residence, Woodlawn Colonial Apartments, and came up with a minimum of 1,000 feet and a maximum of 1977 feet, depending on variable factors.
Deborah Fox explained to me that the “E” Street Trolley Station is considered the start of the residential zone. Huh? Say what? A commercial trolley stop with no residences in sight is a residential area? The homeless can’t even congregate there. You must show the trolley police a ticket or boarding pass if you are at the trolley station. I don’t know how they figure the station is a residential area, but a judge will make a ruling, and hopefully explain.
A third thing also intrigues me. The Fire Department and Department of Code Enforcement dropped everything and responded like the U.S. Cavalry to the city’s complaints about Eyecandy. They examined everything from light fixtures and smoke alarms, to the trash cans, and found Eyecandy out of compliance on many things.
Keep in mind this is the same code enforcement unit that a private citizen can’t get to do anything about neighborhood blight except write a letter to the person being complained about. They should change their name from “Code Enforcement Department” to the “Letter Writing Department.”
Welty is a friendly entertaining guy, unless you are a city council person or work in the city’s legal department. He recently did an interview with a television reporter. She asked about the presence of drugs, specifically crack, within the business. With a straight face, Welty said, “Yes, I’ve seen lots of crack in there.” The reporter was taken back.
We street guys knew he meant “crack” in the anatomical sense. He admitted to having other drugs on the premises—a large container of Viagra near his desk.
I think another site visit to Eyecandy by a Star-News columnist is necessary. I’ll investigate this with every ounce of thorough journalistic energy I have. I’ll keep you posted until the big court event on Oct. 14, 2014.
Basinski is a former Chula Vista police officer.