It was only a caucus meeting so no public comments were allowed but 660+ attendees online impressed the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board at this morning’s 10 am meeting. That impressive attendance was the result of Seattle’s LGBTQ community getting the word out to let the WSLCB know they weren’t happy over this past weekend’s surprise inspections of 4 area gay bars that seemingly focused on policing dress codes and harassing LGBTQ staff and clientele.
The meeting also clarified some facts about the “inspections” which the Board was adament in not calling “raids” and emphasized that they were all standard visits and that’s it’s normal practice on these inspections to “observe and cite after review” and as of this morning’s meeting, no violation notices had been issued thus far. The board also went out of its way to state they understand the need for LGBTQ safe spaces. Despite those statements, there were contradictory messages sent during the meeting.
It was clarified that the Friday night/early Saturday visits were instigated by the JET, the Joint Enforcement Team who requested that the WSLCB join them…which is an interesting thing to state since it counteracts statements made by Seattle Police Department that the inspections were made due to a filed complaint with the Office of Police Accountability. The WSLCB claims it was a routine inspection but the SPD states they investigated because someone filed a complaint about dress code violations.
The Saturday night visits were apparently only the WSLCB…so, apparently no Seattle Police Department. The timeline seems to be that Neighbours and The Cuff were visited Friday night/early Saturday and The Eagle and The Lumber Yard were visited on Saturday night. Today’s meeting suggested that the visits did result in observing people dressed in a way that could violate the “lewd conduct law” and that it is standard to communicate problems to management on site and then to follow if a violation is issued. Photographs ARE taken as evidence. (Which is a tad creepy when they’re looking for violations of lewd conduct/appearance so that means taking photos of people with exposed nipples and jock strapped asses…)
The Board insisted that:
“There is no crackdown on gay clubs”
The Board also seemingly admitted they need to figure out how to do things better and what should be done about current laws that don’t need to be an enforcement priority.
You can watch the video of this meeting at: https://tvw.org/video/washington-state-liquor-and-cannabis-board-2024011026/?eventID=2024011026
The Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board has a PUBLIC meeting on Wednesday, January 31st where the public CAN make comments. Here’s the info for that meeting:
- Wednesday, January 31, 10:00 – 11:00 Board Meeting, Agenda, Handouts 4A, 5A, 5B
And, I’ll repost the other ways you can contact officials about ending this useless harassment:
Go bug the Mayor at https://www.seattle.gov/mayor
Go bug the City Council at https://www.seattle.gov/council
Go tell Seattle Police Department to quit wasting time checking on gay nipples and jock straps: https://www.seattle.gov/opa/complaints/file-a-complaint
Go tell the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board to stop policing things that really don’t need policing…like nipples and jock straps in bars: https://lcb.wa.gov/contact
AND, thanks to James for the additional reporting…he’s getting an inter-office Pulitzer Prize for Internet Snooping in the Middle of his Regular Job Workday!