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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, December 31, 2010 - Volume 38 Issue 53
McGinn orders a review of Gay bars being unfairly scrutinized
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McGinn orders a review of Gay bars being unfairly scrutinized

by Shaun Knittel - SGN Associate Editor

Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn has ordered a review of enforcement activity on Gay and Lesbian bars and nightclubs that say they have been unfairly singled out for scrutiny.

On December 28, at a news conference where McGinn updated the status of his Nightlife Initiative, he told the press, 'There were those in that community [of bar owners] who felt like enforcement was selective or unfair, and that they were being targeted. We want to first get data on the question, and then respond to it.'

McGinn told reporters that he has requested an audit of the city's Code Compliance Team enforcement efforts - a squad made up of representatives of the Seattle Police and Fire Departments, the Liquor Control Board, the city attorney's office, and the mayor's office. The goal, he said, is to encourage businesses to follow the laws and regulations governing nightlife establishments in a collaborative way.

One of the local Gay bars reporting that they've been treated unfairly is the Eagle. In November, state Liquor Control Board Officers conducting a routine inspection issued a violation to the Eagle for allowing 'lewd conduct.' According to news reports, the enforcement officers said they saw video footage being played inside the bar they considered pornographic. However, members of the LGBT community say that bars catering to heterosexuals have allowed similar behavior and have been given warnings instead of violations.

According to the Seattle PI, the Nightlife Code Compliance Team presented a report to the Public Safety Committee earlier this month. For 2010, there were 1,766 establishments with liquor licenses in the city - an increase of 15% from the year before. For the year, 208 establishments - more than 11% - had 'non-compliance' issues, council members were told. These issues included public safety concerns, as well as health, noise, licensing, taxing, or permitting violations. Of these places, all but 11 were back in compliance shortly, the compliance team reported.

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