What Lowest Greenville needs are a few good massage parlors

The Dallas Observer's Unfair Park blog (Judge's Ruling in Massage Parlors' Lawsuit Rubs Spa Owners the Wrong Way), reports that the City of Dallas' current imbroglio over illegal massage parlors took two steps forward, one backwards, in the last month.

...the massage parlors sued Dallas, claiming the city had revoked their certificates of occupancy without due process.

At which point, the city fired back: Said City Attorney Tom Perkins,

The certificates of occupancy were revoked because each application for a Certificate of Occupancy did not state that the use would be operated as a massage establishment, nor did the applicant supply a copy of a massage establishment license.

In simple English, the parlors were not what they said they were, and could not prove otherwise. The judge dismissed the suit by the massage parlor owners against the City, but they filed back, saying...

Complainants are spas and do not concede that Complainants offer massage services to customers.

With the current discussions for a Lowest Greenville PD, many of us on the street have been wondering -
Why can't the City's existing departments - eg police, fire, code enforcement, etc - do a mass inspection of everything down here?

Since these same departments have avoided the area like the plague for nearly ten years (not counting the dozens of DPD officers babysitting the gangbangers every weekend), it would be a learning experience for all involved.

Park a command post on the corner for 48 hours and work day and night to inspect and verify. Don't worry about the audits, those are cooked books anyway (ketchup anyone?). Of course, this would need to happen on a weekend since most of these places are not open during the week. Whoops, there goes the overtime!

Of course, the City is too scared to do this in such a large area, since that would raise a hue and cry of harassment by the bar owners. As if they are not harassing the residents with their drunk patrons and parking issues, right?

Every on-the-street business in Dallas files for a Certificate of Occupancy before they open their doors. It tells City staff what the business is going to be, what kind of signage they may need, how many square feet they have, etc. It starts in motion inspections for plumbing, electrical, parking requirements, and even the zoning around that business.

Let's look at the biggest gangbanger and underage bar on the street... Lost Society. According to their Certificate of Occupancy (link), they are classified as a restaurant without drive-in service. That means they serve food (you would think?), and at least 25% of their sales must be non-alcoholic in type. The good news is that 25% includes food, but the bad news is that also includes t-shirts, cover charges and those little baggies for carrying your drugs.

Common sense says, if you serve food, you must have a kitchen. BD's been inside this hellhole, and knows lots of people who have been inside. It's no secret the owner (the real owner, not the little old lady whose name is on the CO) lives inside the bar after hours, but not one person BD spoke to could tell him for sure there was a kitchen in the building.

According to the City Attorney's logic, this place - and others like it - should be closed down just like the massage parlors for operating out of compliance with their CO's.

In Arlington, the City yanks the electric meters of massage parlors. No electricitee, no rubbee! In Dallas, they just drag it into court and wait five years for the whole thing to blow over.

BD regularly gets emails from neighbors who complain how they were cited for having their bulk trash out a few hours too early, or for having the grass a little too high in the front yard or back alley.

Even people operating legitimate businesses are beginning to see how this negatively impacts their operations. As one restaurant owner told BD...

When I opened my business, I had to do backflips to get the permits - legal forms, inspections, architectural renderings, and more. And every time I signed my name to the application, I was giving my word that everything was true and correct.

Why can't the City go back through all the applications for all the bad business operators and revoke their CO for filing a false government document?

There's a real world example of this split personality at City Hall. A new Lowest Greenville restaurant had to delay its opening for weeks because the City would not give them a Certificate of Occupancy for a billion reasons, none of which made much sense.

But not 100 yards down the street, another so-called restaurant brought in contractors to renovate the kitchen, install doors, and add some wiring for new equipment. Not only did they have no permits, but when the owner showed up to open shop for the evening (cuz you know they hate the daylight), he took the City's Stop Work Order off the door and trashed it. It was three days before the City could get inside to see what was being done (some work needed permits, some didn't).

Two restaurants, two completely different attitudes. Too bad we don't have any massage parlors on Lowest Greenville - things might not be so bad after all.

By Avi S. Adelman under Neighborhoods , Code enforcement