Local Politics

Spokane bikini baristas avoid government shutdown

SPOKANE, Wash. - Bikini baristas vo

Spokane's controversial lingerie coffee stands avoided their own government shutdown Monday night after the city council voted down a measure that would put more clothes on employees.

The most significant piece of the public exposure ordinance would have had clear language that employees wearing only pasties to cover their breasts and thong underwear would not be allowed.

Though they had several concerns, the constant argument made by proponents of that ordinance was that something must be done to protect the children.

They're usually fairly dry but on a rare occasion city council meetings draw big crowds. Mention sex and people begin paying attention.

"When a naked or nearly naked female employee can stick her breast out the window and give the child candy, I believe we have reached a level of absurdity," Keith Price said.

City councilman Mike Fagan drafted the ordinance and before the vote he made a final sell.

"I believe we will be ringing the dinner bell to a proliferation to a similar type of coffee stand as well as who knows …mom getting her hair done by Sergio in a jock strap?" Fagan said.

One parent who supports Fagan said she sees high school boys frequent these stands on their way to school. She worries this puts one thing on their minds while they are around her daughter.

"If you don't think they are going into that classroom sexually charged and looking at every woman like a piece of meat, you are wrong, it was so obvious," the woman said.

City Council President Ben Stuckart argued that he and his fellow members aren't elected to be morality police.

"I think regulations are okay if they deal with the environment and physical harm, and some people think it's okay to regulate morality, but I think people have different morals so there's a problem there," Stuckart said.

"The women employed at these stands don't need the Spokane City Council to help them make decisions about their employment and their bodies, and I think it is ludicrous to believe that children will be somehow traumatized by seeing a female breast," one woman who spoke out against the ordinance said.

The ordinance failed with a 4-2 vote, meaning the city's bikini coffee stands will remain open for business.