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Denver Repeals Strip Club Crackdown

April 23, 1998

GLENDALE, Colo. (AP) _ Some see it as a victory for business entrepreneurs, artistic expression and freedom of speech. Others call it a setback for this commercial enclave’s bid to escape notoriety as Denver’s skin central.

Tuesday, a new slate of City Council members fulfilled a campaign promise, repealing an ordinance that restricted the conduct of female employees of two strip joints.

Mayor Joe Rice defended the ordinance, saying Glendale has tried to fight being known as one long strip of bars and clubs in the shadow of nearby Denver.

The ordinance raised the age limit for dancers from 18 to 21 and imposed a 6-foot barrier between the customers and dancers.

``We had representation that did not give a fig about us, but was putting our property in jeopardy,″ said John Hill, who owns Mile High Saloon, one of the strip clubs.

Tuesday night’s council decision to rescind the ordinance was an example of ``democracy in action,″ said Michael Dunafon, who owns a portion of the parking lot of Shotgun Willie’s, the other club.

The repeal was made possible by the election to the seven-member council of three outspoken opponents of the strip club restrictions, one of them Shotgun’s owner, Debbie Matthews. They called themselves The Glendale Tea Party.

Even one of the holdover councilwomen, Irma Reiss, sided with opponents of the ordinance, saying the dispute needs to end because it is dividing the community.

Rice’s backers presented him with thank-you cards signed by 137 residents, and some said they might try to reinstate a less-restrictive version of the ordinance by referendum.

``Adult businesses are here and I think they will always be here, but I think Glendale should be known for something other than sexually oriented businesses,″ Rice said.

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