By Katrina Van Duzee/Garden Grove Journal
The Garden Grove City Council took a step towards trying to eliminate illegal gambling, gang activity and lingerie wearing waitresses in local coffeehouses at Tuesday’s council meeting.
“These cafés are the gathering spots of the gangs and gambling activity,” Westminster resident Nguyen Uong said. “Some of the waitresses are not wearing anything except a thin layer, so we can see 99 percent of private parts.”
The city council voted 4-0 to approve the first reading of the change to an existing ordinance, which will have to be officially passed sometime in late June.
The amendment to the municipal code targets Vietnamese cafes located in Little Saigon, where waitresses dress in pasties, bikinis and heels, while serving mostly non-alcoholic beverages and housing local gangs and video gamblers.
The purpose of the amendment is to prohibit amusement devices in cafés, heavy window tinting, smoking indoors and mandate certain parts of the female and male anatomy cannot be exposed. The change also was set to extend the hours minors are allowed in coffeehouses to 10 p.m., but the council recommended keeping the time at 8 p.m. since these shops cater to different crowds.
“Does this (the change to the code) cover up the girls? Can’t we make them wear a poncho or something,” council member Bruce Broadwater said.
The police department proposed this amendment after recent raids in 20 coffeehouses, where over 200 gambling machines posed as amusement devices and more than $145,000 in cash were ceased. Chief Raney also cited a rise in criminal activity and gang affiliation surrounding these facilities as another concern.
California Café located on McFadden Avenue and Miss Guilty, near Harbor Boulevard and Westminster Avenue were mentioned as two specific locations supporting scantily dressed female employees.
The council agreed that facilities like Starbucks, which cater to patrons looking to study, grab a snack or work should be able to house minors until 10 p.m., but these larger coffee joints appealing to gamblers and gangs should not be available, more then they already are, to underage teenagers.
The proposed extension in hours was included to stay consistent with the citywide curfew and also expands the opening time of coffeehouses from 7 a.m. to 5 a.m.
Councilmember Dina Nguyen commended Police Chief Kevin Raney for his diligence towards stopping the city code violations and indecency.
“We have been going for a long time without monitoring this business which has lead to more and more crime every day.” Nguyen said.