Monday, November 14, 2011
7 News Investigations: Strip Club
Would you like a strip club in your neighborhood? Some people would say yes, others no. But now, one small city in Miami-Dade County may be getting one, even though a former mayor says no residents want it. 7's Patrick Fraser has the story.
WSVN -- For 50 years, drivers coming into North Bay Village would see the radio towers sending out the signal from WIOD, so proud of its location, their call letters stood for Wonderful Isle Of Dreams.
Today, it could stand for: Watch It Openly Deteriorate.
Ed Ansin, Owner/WSVN-TV: "I don't think anybody wants a strip club in their backyard, but certainly, North Bay Village is not a suitable place for a strip club."
Ed Ansin owns Channel 7, which used to share the North Bay Village property with WIOD. Then, WIOD sold their side to a developer, who now wants to build a five-story building to house a strip club. Ansin worries about his female employees walking into work.
Ed Ansin, Owner/WSVN-TV: "It's extremely dangerous. There are many instances, both with our station and elsewhere, of women in television being stalked, harassed, threatened. Having a strip club would certainly be a major problem in that regard."
Opponents of strip clubs say they attract prostitutes, drugs and criminal elements. That's the dangerous side effects.
Kevin Vericker, North Bay Village Resident: "It's a terrible idea."
Kevin Vericker is an North Bay Village resident who writes a blog about the political and economic side of North Bay Village. He feels a strip club would be a devastating development.
Kevin Vericker: "It's not particularly public-friendly. People going in and out don't want to be seen. It's going to be a disaster."
It might be a disaster, and the residents in this small city might not like the idea of a strip club.
Oscar Alfonso, Former Mayor: "Absolutely not. No one, no one that I am aware of in North Bay Village wants a strip club."
But Oscar Alfonso, who was the mayor when the council turned down the same proposal, says get ready for it.
Patrick Fraser: "Do you think it is going to pass?"
Oscar Alfonso: "I guarantee it will pass."
Alfonso and Vericker both agree that this time, the developer, Scott Greenwald, has allies. State records show he has made campaign contributions to some people who will vote on whether or not to let the lap dancing begin.
Kevin Vericker: "The guy has a huge amount of influence."
So is the strip club inevitable? Maybe, maybe not.
Patrick Fraser: "We asked Scott Greenwald to talk to us about his proposed club. He said no, because he is involved in a lawsuit with Channel 7, in which he is asking a judge to let him make changes to the property, which will include the strip club."
Ed Ansin, Owner/WSVN-TV: "I think ultimately, our property rights will prevail. So far, it's been a never-ending litigation, but I think our rights will prevail."
Greenwald, of course, hopes the judge will let him build a strip club.
The people like Vericker are hoping their neighbors have a say. He has sent out flyers to get North Bay Village residents to contact the politicians, even though he says the strip club supporters are trying to shut him up.
Kevin Vericker: "There is a constant attack against people going on to silence people who are against these plans."
Ansin hopes the politicians will listen to the people who will really be affected by the strip club: The residents.
Ed Ansin, Owner/WSVN-TV: "I hope the public in North Bay Village makes their views on the strip club clear."
Maybe they will. But will the politicians listen, or turn the isle of dreams into table dance territory?
Patrick Fraser: "The planning and zoning meeting is 7:30 Tuesday night at North Bay Village City Hall."