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Curb on Teen Discos Wins Endorsement in Assembly

May 09, 1985|MARK GLADSTONE and RICHARD SIMON | Times Staff Writers

SACRAMENTO — A measure to crack down on teen-age dance clubs has been approved by the Assembly Governmental Organization Committee.

The bill, carried by Assemblywoman Maxine Waters (D-Los Angeles), was passed last week on a 12-3 vote and sent to the Ways and Means Committee.

Waters said problems at some of the clubs, including the sale of drugs and alcohol, have "gotten out of control," particularly in Los Angeles.

"There is no reason why government . . . should encourage minors to stay out to all hours of the night," Waters said, adding that her proposal establishes the first statewide regulation of the clubs.

'This Is Not 1936'

But Assemblyman Richard E. Floyd (D-Hawthorne) objected, contending that teen-agers' activities could not be so easily controlled.

"You're not going to restrict young people. This is not 1936; it's 1985," said Floyd, who suggested that teen-agers be allowed to vote on the issue. In addition to Floyd, Assemblymen Frank Hill (R-Whittier) and Larry Stirling (R-San Diego) opposed the measure.

Waters' bill seeks to bar youths ages 13 to 16 from the clubs unless accompanied by parents. It also would require the nightspots to send home anyone under 18 years of age by midnight on Fridays and Saturdays and by 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday.

Under the bill, teen-agers also would be required to provide proper identification and would be denied admission if they were under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Moreover, alcohol could not be sold or consumed inside the clubs, even if some patrons were of legal drinking age.

Controversial Clubs

Waters announced her bill earlier this year outside the Odyssey, a West Los Angeles club whose city permit was revoked in response to neighborhood complaints.

Citizen complaints about drug use and rowdiness at Phases, a Canoga Park teen-age club, also prompted a proposal by Los Angeles City Councilwoman Joy Picus to regulate the clubs in the city.

Both the City Council and the Legislature have acted partly in response to complaints by Betty Beaird, a Van Nuys comedy writer and mother of two sons, 16 and 12, who heads a group called Parents Concerned About Teen-Age Discos.

Beaird appealed to the lawmakers to "help us reclaim our kids who have left home for the discos."

She went on to say, "We want our teens to have their clubs but at an hour reasonable for their age and their position as students. . . . We must prevent what we've gone through in L.A. from becoming more widespread."

However, Willie Feltus, owner of the Jukebox NiteClube disco in Sacramento, told the committee that the bill "would hurt us as far as the hours of closing."

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