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Orange County

City Nixes Massage Proposal

June 19, 2002|TINA BORGATTA | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Massage patrons in Lake Forest won't have to worry about anyone peering through windows while their aching muscles are getting therapy.

The City Council voted Tuesday not to pursue new rules that would have required 6-inch windows in all massage room doors and signs advising clients that their activities might be monitored by police.

"I at first thought there were a couple of good reasons to have windows and signs," Mayor Richard T. Dixon said. But he and other council members changed their minds after hearing from 15 massage therapists who said such rules would be unreasonable and insulting to them and their clients.

"A lot of my clients are law-enforcement officials, and I think they'd be a little embarrassed to walk in and see a sign like that," said massage therapist Danielle Frances, whose father is a sheriff's deputy.

Massage clients said such surveillance would be a blatant invasion of privacy. Masseuses objected that the proposed rules would punish all businesses for the transgressions of a few. Others criticized the city for not collaborating with industry professionals while drafting the new rules.

City officials thought that illegal behavior such as prostitution would be less likely if the rooms could be monitored. Authorities have made several prostitution arrests in recent years.

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