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by Carolina Charm Saturday, Oct. 27, 2001 at 11:20 AM

All white commission in allegedly tolerant City of West Hollywood threatens closure of famous club for predominatley minority transgenders, youths & lesbians

By Carolina Charm
Pressured by about two dozen sign carrying residents, one of whom characterized
patrons of Club 7969 as trash from East and South Central LA, the all white
West Hollywood, California Business License Commission voted unanimously on
October 23 to revoke the 40 year old clubs operating licenses.
The five commissioners, all of whom except the chairperson are male, were
unmoved by the pleas of mostly non-white patrons and employees of the renowned
Santa Monica Boulevard club. These included the famous entertainer Ru Paul, who
stated This world class entertainment spot is being singled out for reasons not
being stated here racism and prejudice against life-style diversity.
Indeed, diversity was one of the reasons that the city of West Hollywood was
founded about two decades ago, Robert Mundey, one of the leaders of that
incorporation movement, pointed out at the commissions 3 hour public meeting
West Hollywood is generally considered the most gay-friendly city in Southern

In accord with that concept of multiculturalism, the club, formerly known as
Peanuts, has, since incorporation, presented theme nights for transgenders,
lesbians, youth and fetish lovers.
Club 7969s Monday and Friday night drag shows have become a central meeting
place for Los Angeles areas vibrant trans community, estimated to be one of
the worlds largest. Most of these patrons are Hispanic and Asian Pacific.

Residents of the neighboring side streets, complaining of noise and traffic,
expressed often ugly opinions. Club 7969s customers are garbage, trash. They
dont live here; they come from places like East and South Central LA. They
cause my rents to be lower, complained Bob Alexander, who claimed to own a
small interest in apartments abutting the back of the club.

The demurrers of the Clubs owner, attorney, employees and patrons that much of
the noise and traffic emanates from neighboring clubs and restaurants, some of
which stay open well past the 2 am closing of 7969, fell on deaf ears of the
white commissioners.

Members such as Rodney Scott, whose close cropped hair and business attire
contrasted sharply with the cut and garb of most patrons, kept emphasizing minor
complaints, many as old as 1994, such as doors being left open.
Several after hours bars and restaurants adjacent to and within a few block s
habitually keep their doors open, and even provide outside tables, for crowds of
mostly white male customers.
The mostly Anglo residents attending Tuesdays meeting, however, blamed 7969 for
all nuisance problems.

Public access cable TV host Mark Heineman was so enraged by their rhetoric that
he walked out after stating, Im ashamed of West Hollywood. House of Blues
Caf on Sunset [inside city limits] generates 20 times as much noise and traffic
as Club 7969, but you leave it alone because its mainstream. Youre
scapegoating transgenders, just as you did last summer. [At a July 31
community meeting the City provided an interpreter for Russian speaking
residents, but not for Spanish-speaking transgenders.]

Steve Goldberg, whose family has operated the club at the same location for
forty years, emphasized that most city citations ended in 1994 when he took
over, and that remodeling after a 1999 fire had reduced noise escaping from the
disco sound system. He offered to meet with the neighbors regularly and even to
soundproof and air-condition their apartments.

The local Neighborhood Watch, lead by a blonde woman, Britt Sands, discouraged
residents from accepting the clubs invitation to meet. Talking with them now
wont change anything. Weve met in the past and things have only become worse.
I dont care if their customers are transvestite, gay or whatever. They keep
disturbing our sleep at 2 am , she said.
No city official suggested allowing the club to stay open after 2 am, as the
mens clubs and French Quarter Restaurant do, which might diffuse crowds all
leaving at one time. Chairperson Maxine Sonneberg did suggest forcing it to
close at midnight, which effectively would exclude the nocturnal transgenders
and transsexuals, whose shows start at that time.

Patrons were never informed of these neighborhood meetings, some of which were
held as long as a year ago.

Management is expected to appeal to the City Council, which will delay the
closure, at least temporarily.

After the meeting adjourned at 10 p.m., the valet lot at Club 7969 was
overflowing as usual for the regular Tuesday night lesbian strip show, but if
the City Council doesnt reverse its commissions decision, this lot may soon be
empty every night.

{John: per your request : "I have no source, and I must make"}

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also, straights, euros too. it is a diverse crowd. johnk Saturday, Oct. 27, 2001 at 11:51 AM

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