July 24, 2005

Court Upholds Law Restricting Alcohol Sales at Neighborhood Strip Club


Dear Friends of District 107:

Without any advance warning, Federal Judge Jane Boyle upheld the law passed during one of the 2003 legislative special sessions by State Representative Bill Keffer and State Senator John Carona dealing with sexually-oriented businesses. Specifically, when PT's Gold Club announced its intention to build a new strip club at Miller and Plano Roads near Lake Highlands, the community kicked into high gear. Sunbelt Pool owner Rob Morgan led a petition drive to persuade the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission to refuse the Gold Club's application for a private club permit to sell alcohol. Over 5000 sworn petitions were collected. Nevertheless, the TABC would still have had the discretion to grant the permit, notwithstanding the overwhelming community opposition. More was necessary. With the leadership of Senator Carona and the help of Governor Perry, we were able to take advantage of the legislature being in special session and passed a lawthat would prohibit any sexually-oriented business from being able tosell alcohol in a dry area - period. The law went into effect in January 2004, and almost immediately the Gold Club and similarly situated strip clubs filed suit in Dallas federal court, challenging the constitutionality of the new law. In the meantime, the Gold Club opened its doors, operates as a totally nude club where patrons must bring their own alcohol {BYOB}, and has routinely had a full parking lot, presumably planning eventually to have the law struck down so they can sell alcohol as originally planned. On July 13, Federal Judge Jane Boyle issued an order upholding the law and finding it constitutional. It is likely that the strip clubs will appeal the decision. But, for now, District 107 and the citizens of LakeHighlands have realized a significant victory in our effort to shutdown an unwanted business in our community. "Perseverance in the pursuit of principle pays. Thanks again to Rob Morgan, Sunbelt Pools, the Lake Highlands Area Improvement Association, Dallas City Councilman Bill Blaydes, Senator John Carona,and Governor Rick Perry. Stay tuned for more updates, but let's hope that the Gold Club finally comes to the conclusion that there is no gold for them in our community, and they should pull up stakes and go panning somewhere else. Please show your appreciation for this happy result by calling or dropping a note or giving a phone call to the following individuals, who contributed to our legal effort:

Robert Johnson:
Office of the Attorney General
PO Box 12548
Austin, TX 78711-2548

Lou Bright:
Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission
PO Box 13127
Austin, TX 78711-3127
(512) 206-3204

Scott Bergthold:
6830 McCutcheon Rd.
Chattanooga, TN 37421