Just how much is close-up nude table dancing worth to the Seattle strip-club industry? Apparently at least a half-million dollars in future receipts. As of last week, club owners have gambled more than $500,000 on a campaign to head off a city-legislated ban on some types of table dancing and other new strip-club rules. That's a record amount for a local referendum effort. But the owners presumably figure they'll lose that and a lot more if the City Council succeeds with a ban on lap dancing and direct tipping, as well as brighter club lighting.
Referendum 1, if placed on the fall ballot and passed by voters, would counter the city ban. The measure is backed by Seattle Citizens for Free Speech, which has just two contributors, Seattle Amusement, headed by Roger Forbes, and Lake City LLC, operated by Frank Colacurcio Jr. and Sr., strip club impresarios all. As of June 30, they have contributed $535,000 to the nudie-dance cause - just $2,000 less than Mayor Greg Nickels spent on his entire re-election last year - and have used up $291,000, mostly on collecting referendum signatures. That leaves about $244,000 in the bank - certainly enough to finish out the campaign and throw one hell of a victory party.