Proposed club attracts critics

County manager: Regulations don’t prohibit adult entertainment clubs

By Vanessa Kahin

vkahin@cnjonline.com

A man who said his brother is seeking to open Clovis Gentlemen’s Club just outside of Clovis spoke directly to the Curry County Commission during a special meeting Friday morning at the Clovis-Carver Public Library’s North Annex.

Although the special meeting had been called to finish canvassing the vote from June 3 primary elections, the main topic of the day turned into the proposed strip club that would be located in the county, just east of Clovis.

“This is a legal business that’s going to bring jobs and economic opportunity to Clovis, New Mexico,” said Patrick McDonald, whose brother, Dwight McDonald, wants to open the adult establishment, according to county officials.

Patrick McDonald described his brother as an upstanding citizen.

“My brother is a well-respected attorney in Lubbock,” Patrick McDonald said. He addressed those attending the meeting who had already voiced their opinions about the establishment, saying they believe it will bring drugs, prostitution and organized crime to the region.

About a dozen visitors expressed their disapproval of the establishment during the meeting.

“My brother’s not involved in any (organized crime),” McDonald said. “He’s not involved in prostitution. He’s not involved in drugs.

“I’m not understanding how with a gentlemen’s club, crime is going to take over Clovis.”

Tim Shade of Clovis said Patrick McDonald is reminiscent of a front man — a clean-cut person who does the dealings of a transaction under the auspices of another person or organization of questionable character.

“I’ve lived and worked in 14 states,” Shade said. “I’ve never seen (a strip club) that was not directly or indirectly affiliated with organized crime.”

Shade said there would be negative ramifications of hosting the strip club.

“The problem is that when these establishments get a foothold, there are other things that come with them,” Shade said. “I’m not against the club per se, I’m against what it’s going to bring with it.”

Several visitors noted a sign just outside of Clovis that calls the city a community for families.

“This does not tell me that you guys are promoting family,” said Diana Duran, also of Clovis, to the commissioners. “I can’t even imagine what you guys are thinking. … This (strip club) will be detrimental to the men in our community.”

Duran said the issue will not be over even if the establishment were to open in Curry County.

“We as women will picket,” she said.

County Manager Lance Pyle gave a report on his findings regarding county ordinance and how the county can legally proceed with the application for the strip club.

“County ordinance 86-2 only pertains to public dance halls and public dances,” Pyle said. Dwight McDonald had sent Pyle an email, stating that his gentlemen’s club will be a private membership club with yearly membership dues.

“As you are aware, Curry County is not zoned and/or has any other regulations that bans and/or prohibits adult entertainment clubs or gentlemen clubs,” Pyle said. “As a result there is no action required by the county.”

Commissioner Robert Sandoval said he’s been trying to get zoning in the county the past eight years.

Sandoval recalled individuals who have attended Curry County Commission meetings to state that they live in the county precisely because they do not want zoning laws and someone telling them what to do.

“Yet, when something like (the gentlemen’s club) comes up, people want it regulated,” Sandoval said. “We can’t have it both ways.”

Commissioner Tim Ashley said it is up to the citizens now to exercise their right to protest the establishment.

He noted that the county did not take measures to attract the business, and acknowledged there is nothing the county can do to prevent it from moving in.

“I want to make sure that everyone knows this is not a business that we went out and recruited,” Ashley said. He paraphrased Ronald Reagan, stating that government isn’t the solution; it’s the problem.

“The laws are the laws,” Ashley said. “You have the right as a citizen to protest the business.”

Commission Chairman Frank Blackburn agreed with many of the naysayers at the meeting.

“I’m personally opposed to it, strongly,” Blackburn said of the gentlemen’s club. “But it’s a business, and they have a right to do business.”