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Officials Look at Stricter Rules for Pool Halls


It's been more than a year since the double homicide at Stanton's Tri-Q Billiard hall. But as the last of several violent events occurring at billiard halls, it made a lasting impression on Stanton City Council members.

On Tuesday, the council is expected to tighten billiard hall regulations. The new regulations would ban tinted windows and limit a facility to only one room. They would also require patrons to check out pool cues and security guards to patrol both inside and outside the establishments.

Council members hope the measures will deter violence.

"We've had problems with billiard halls," Mayor Al Ethans said. "We're trying to control it, make it more stringent. If something happens, we have more authority to act faster."

The bans on tinted windows and multiple rooms will help police patrol and respond to emergencies, as well as cut down on illegal activities, said Community Development Director Mark Lloyd. Pool cue checkouts will ensure that if fights break out, patrons can't grab extras to use as weapons, he said.

Council members and police said the new regulations aren't aimed at the three billiard halls already in Stanton. In fact, police have had little trouble with billiard halls since the Tri-Q billiard homicides, said Sgt. Mark Levy of the Orange County Sheriff's Department. The Side Pocket, with tinted windows and back rooms that exemplified the type of establishment council members don't want, closed a few years ago.

Rather, the new rules should help eliminate loopholes, Lloyd said. New billiard halls will have to abide by them. And if problems arise at an existing establishment, police or Stanton code enforcement officers will have more authority to take action, he said.

"We're doing all we can to ensure the environment is safe and well-managed," Lloyd said.


Judy Silber can be reached at (714) 966-5988.

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