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Employee of Adult Bookstore Cited Over Enclosed Booths

August 10, 1989|ESTHER SCHRADER | Times Staff Writer

An employee of Glendale's only sexually oriented book and video store has been cited on misdemeanor criminal charges by police for failing to comply with a city ordinance banning the store's video display booths.

Glendale police on Saturday cited Rodney DeFazio, an employee of Total News and Video, for violating an ordinance that prohibits fully enclosed booths in any store that offers adult entertainment. The ordinance went into effect Friday.

The action against the store--formerly called Unique News and Video--is the latest episode in a battle between Glendale officials and the store, which sells sexually explicit videos and where police claim sexual liaisons have occurred.

Police said they warned DeFazio after inspecting the store Friday that the shop was in violation of the ordinance. When police returned the next day and found nothing had been done to change the layout of the store, they issued the citation, according to police reports.

Manager Not Cited

Police said they cited DeFazio, rather than the manager of the store, Gary Enea, because DeFazio was on the premises when vice officers inspected the store.

Police said in a report that the store at 6524 San Fernando Road was also not in compliance with other sections of the ordinance, which mandate that the booths be visible from the front door of the shop, be well lit and be constructed of material suitable to withstand fire for up to one hour.

The ordinance was adopted by the Glendale City Council on April 4.

Glendale officials have sought for more than two years to rid the city of the store and to discourage other potential adult-store operators from locating in the city.

In November, 1987, a Glendale Municipal Court judge found Enea and the owner of the store guilty of violating a city use and occupancy permit after video booths were installed without city permission a week after the store opened.

This spring, in an effort to regulate adult video businesses stringently so that they would be rendered unprofitable, the Glendale City Council adopted an ordinance confining adult-entertainment businesses to the downtown commercial district in addition to passing the ordinance prohibiting enclosed video booths.

Constitutional Issue

The First Amendment to the Constitution prohibits the outright ban of adult-entertainment businesses and Roger Diamond, an attorney for the store operator, contends that Glendale's efforts to restrict Total News and Video violate the operator's constitutional rights.

Diamond said he hopes to resolve the issue outside the criminal courts system.

"We're a little upset that the city has chosen to give us a citation because we think the appropriate forum for this would be an administrative licensing hearing," Diamond said.

"We don't believe that the ordinance gave Gary sufficient time to remodel and renovate his place," he added.

But city officials said they are frustrated with excuses. They say that the ordinance was passed and the store does not comply.

DeFazio is scheduled to be arraigned on the misdemeanor offense Aug. 30 in Glendale Municipal Court. He could be sentenced to six months in jail and fined $500.

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