An Ordinance to Help Protect Paso Robles from Prostitution

Ty Lewis Represents the Police Department at 10-10-12 Hearing on Massage Therapy Ordinance

Ty Lewis Represents the Police Department at 10-10-12 Hearing on Massage Therapy Ordinance at Paso Robles City Hall

Yesterday, October 10, 2012,  I observed a public hearing for an amendment to title 5 of Paso Robles Municipal Code pertaining to business licensing for Massage Therapy and Massage Establishments. Many of the legitimate massage therapists, patients, and those in related fields, as well as interested citizens such as myself, were on hand. I can’t say the room was full, and I would not expect that at 11 AM on a workday. But as I mentioned in a previous blog on the September 18 City Council Meeting, many people were concerned about the ramifications of this proposed ordinance on those who provide an important service to both residents and tourists in our community.

10-10-12 Hearing Back of Room

Participants at the back of the hearing room.

10-10-12-Hearing Front

Participants at the front of the hearing room.

Above are some of those who actively participated in the discussion. There were others in the middle I did not get into the picture, but may appear in the video. I was actually surprised at the spirit of cooperation I saw from both Ty Lewis, who represented the police, and the massage therapists who were concerned about the costs of the licensing and new restrictions in the ordinance such as not giving a massage in a room with a lockable door. (My video begins during this discussion. I was a few minutes late.)

What I picked up was that both the massage therapists and the police are concerned about how some massage establishments downtown which perform illegal acts, such as prostitution, give all massage therapists a black eye in the eyes of the public. Both the legitimate therapists, who are certified by the state,  and the police, want to work together to solve the problem and clean up the mess. By the end of the hearing it appeared they were on the same team and planning to work together in helping to shut down illegal establishments  most of which are started by people from out of town.

Meanwhile, it appears the fee structure in the proposed ordinance will not be as burdensome as first proposed and will be down to the $80 other professionals in the city are charged for a business license. Much more was discussed, and you can see that on the video I made of most of the meeting. I wish every disagreement between the city council and the citizens could be discussed this reasonably. It’s my understanding that the latest version of this proposed ordinance will be read at a future city council meeting, but I didn’t see it on the agenda for October 16. To keep abreast of upcoming city government meetings and agendas, check out the Paso Robles City Government Website.