Saturday, October 20

Homeowners trample night life yet again


Association should hold no authority over Village entertainment

Ivicevich is a UCLA alumnus who graduated with the Class of
1998.

By Christopher Ivicevich


Sandy Brown and Co. strike again. This time, it’s against
sinful belly dancing at that local den of iniquity, the Gypsy Cafe.
A timorous, “˜upstanding’ local resident filed a
complaint with the L.A. Vice squad against the hapless cafe to
enforce Westwood’s latter-day Comstock laws and squelch any
entertainment in the Village not officially sanctioned by the
odious and officious homeowners’ associations.

The problem is the corrupt bureaucracy ($5,000 for an
entertainment permit!) of the city of Los Angeles, which the
homeowners use to trump the private property rights of business
owners and the entertainment choices of the university student
population.

The rhetoric about the Village being a balance of interests
among homeowners, UCLA students and Wilshire corridor professionals
is no more than a smokescreen for homeowner domination of the
Village; it is the public relations mask that Laura Lake and Sandy
Brown wear when talking to the press. Councilman Jack Weiss, Lake
and Brown’s compliant lapdog, shares the homeowners’
anti-nightlife and anti-student animus and knows full well that
some Westwood constituencies are more equal than others. The white
picket fence more than demarcates residential property lines
““ it symbolizes the exclusion of students from their own
backyard.

The solution is to curb the city’s power and reign in the
bureaucracy. The Vice squad, L.A.’s version of the Taliban,
should be abolished. Activities between consenting adults on
private property is no crime; enforcing puritanical rules at the
behest of homeowners is no virtue. The city should have no power to
prohibit music, dancing, entertainment, erotica and other
legitimate pursuits. Restaurants, bars and nightclubs should not
need permission to entertain, nor should establishments need city
sanction to have the words “erotica” or
“nightclub” on their storefronts.

I will rejoice when vapid, pious declarations about
“family entertainment” find no echoes in city hall. I
will rejoice when the city has no power of regulation over these
issues, when the inane American experiment with Prohibition is over
(make no mistake ““ the drinking age of 21 is a legacy of
Prohibition) and college students can drink without fear of
harassment by the Carrie Nations of America.

The Westwood homeowners’ associations will remain an
impediment to a vibrant nightlife until the city bureaucracy is
downsized and de-fanged. Until UCLA students stand up and fight for
their interests, Sandy Brown and Co. will continue to rule the
Village with an iron fist, squeezing the nightlife out of Westwood.
Only when the city is curbed will Sandy Brown’s influence
extend no further than her own white picket fence.

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