It’s time for the Pierce County Council to take a field trip.
Not to Fox Island, Ashford, South Prairie or one of those other exotic locations where they’ve already taken their gavels and microphones this year.
No, we think they should pack a van and a picnic lunch and take a road trip to a strip club — namely, DreamGirls at Fox’s.
It’s the pride of Parkland and the county’s one and only licensed den of skin, where the entertainers are topless and the soft drinks are bottomless.
Council members have spent weeks — including three hours Tuesday — cloistered like monks in their council chambers, debating new rules for adult businesses, naughty magazines and such. They’ve hashed and rehashed resolutions, definitions, amendments and findings of fact.
They’ve considered every possible angle for imposing their will on Fox’s, short of requiring an “In God We Trust” plaque to hang on the gentlemen’s club wall.
But have they ever crossed the threshold of the joint, felt the pulsing beats and red-hot lights, observed the working conditions of the misunderstood misses they say they want to protect?
We’re betting against it. Some of them seem to lack an intimate knowledge of the industry they aim to regulate.
Take Jim McCune.
The Graham Republican is the lead dog in this hunt. As chairman of the council’s public safety committee, he has put himself out front as the the county’s No. 1 anti-smut crusader.
And yet this week he needed help from a county staff member to grasp the concept of dancers’ stage names, which the county keeps on file as part of its adult-business license records.
“I’m not familiar with this stage name stuff,” McCune said at Tuesday’s committee meeting. “So they have a different name and sometimes they come in and use that name instead of their real name?”
Council analyst Tom Swanson was briefly tongue-tied, like a parent asked for the first time where babies come from. Then he regained his footing.
“Well, Mr. Chair, I could understand the logic for not wanting to tell a customer their full name, date and Social Security number,” he said. “I’m sure that’s information you’d want to keep to yourself.”
Well played, Mr. Swanson. Responsive but not condescending.
Just be thankful he didn’t ask you to explain what a lap dance is.
So let’s make it happen! They can bring earplugs, blindfolds and hand sanitizer, if it makes them more comfortable.
They can call it a fact-finding mission, if that plays better among their more chaste constituents.
They can even go undercover, like sheriff’s deputies do when they check up on Fox’s.
There must be some discretionary council fund to pay the $20 cover charge.
But if they want to put $1 tips in the string bikinis, they’d better ask for receipts.
Alas, we hadn’t received them as of Thursday, so we went back to look at the license applications we received in 2012.
Coincidentally, the auditor also maintains records of all licensed pets in Pierce County. So we’ve cross-referenced them, and now challenge you to a quiz:
Each of the following names is an authentic local stripper stage name, an authentic local pet name, or both. How many can you get right?
Answers: (A) dancer; (B); both; (C) pet; (D) both; (E) both; (F) both; (G) pet; (H) dancer; (I) dancer; (J) both; (K) dancer.
Answer: Mark “ Our Prosecutor” Lindquist. By a longshot.
We included candidates who faced no ballot competition and who snagged countywide votes: 12 judges, one auditor and one prosecutor. Then we counted the write-ins.
Lindquist had 6,070 write-in ballots cast against him.
The highest number for any of the other 13 unopposed candidates? 3,189.
Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, we give you the least popular candidate who got a free ride in Pierceland.
An open-and-shut case.