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Welcome to STop, the Seattle Times Opinion blog where our editorial writers and editors share their evolving thoughts on a variety of issues. STop is a place where opinion writers and readers can exchange views and readers can learn more about how editorial positions are formed.

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Jim Vesely
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Lee Moriwaki
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Lynne Varner
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May 14, 2005

Finally a strip club lawsuit

I wondered when someone would sue the city of Seattle over its selective ban of strip clubs. In a column a couple of years ago I called Seattle’s law the “Strip Club Oligopoly Act.” An oligopoly is a shared monopoly—and that’s what Seattle has: four strip clubs with licenses and a moratorium on any further licenses. Well, now someone has filed that lawsuit.

When I bring this up to people, the most common reply I get is, “So you want more strip clubs?” Or “So you think Seattle needs more strip clubs?” But I don’t see the role of the City Council, or of government at any level, to decide how many of each sort of businesses the people need. The people decide that through the market. Government decides whether a business is legal or not, and the conditions of operation. You can ban it, you can allow it subject to a lot of regulations, or a few regulations or no regulations. But if you want to set the number, there is only one fair number: zero. Otherwise the market sets the number.

 
Posted by Bruce Ramsey at May 14, 2005 06:08 PM



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