San Bernardino Aims to Close Strip Club

A twelve-year fight between the city of San Bernardino and a local strip club has taken another turn this week.

According to the Mercury News, the city is attempting to prove that The Flesh Club is operating as a brothel. If the city succeeds in its argument, a judge could shut the club down for a year under the Red Light Abatement Act.

The club shut down in 1995 after a local judge issued a restraining order, saying the location wasn't zoned for nude dancing. But a Superior Court judge overturned the decision a year later. The city appealed, but a state court ruled in 1999 that city ordinances used to close the club were unconstitutional.

"An occasional act of prostitution is not enough to shut the place down; we have to show more than that," attorney Joseph Arias, who is representing the city against the club, told the Mercury News. "Exactly what the burden is remains an elusive question."

"It's the right of free expression versus the city's attempt to censor," added Roger Jon Diamond, who has defended adult businesses since 1969. "San Bernardino is like most cities; they try to suppress freedom they don't like, especially when it involves erotic material."