Guest column: A recipe for failure


This column is in regards to the city’s attempt to craft an incidental entertainment permit, which has been in the City Hall pipeline for over a year now. Community Services Director Jim Basham was handed the task.

This is the city’s attempt to offer a new ordinance, which they claim will allow businesses to conduct an entertainment program or provide entertainment to their customers as needed.  This came about after Taco Surf on P.C.H. in Sunset Beach, which had been providing a music program, had a single complaint of excessive noise and had their program shut down. Taco Surf obtained an attorney in order to facilitate a new entertainment permit system.

What Mr. Basham has come up with is a blatant attempt to make this new ordinance so restrictive it would be nearly impossible to run a viable and successful program. There are so many things wrong with this. It was obviously compiled by a person who has absolutely zero experience or knowledge how such programs works or the dynamics that give the venues its best chance to have a successful program.

Mr. Basham has said that he used as a guideline ordinances from other cities that had similar community dynamics. With the exception of hiring a sound engineer to conduct a study on proper decibel levels, to my knowledge Mr. Basham failed to consult any entertainment professional with real time experience building a successful entertainment program, zero. I would like to ask Mr. Basham, which cities entertainment ordinance did you use as a template?

I’ve been a professional performer for 34 years, I’ve performed all around the world and most states in this country, I’ve also performed in just about every major city in Southern California as well as majority of the smaller ones and am very familiar with entertainment regulations in these cities. Who dId you contact for you information Jim? Because what you have come up with is nothing more than a recipe for failure. I don’t believe you’ve contacted any other municipality for guidance. Who are they?

Over a year ago in a letter to then-Mayor Deaton I offered to volunteer my assistance in crafting a well-rounded ordinance which would give the businesses all the tools they need to conduct a successful program while all along protecting and addressing the privacy and serenity concerns of Main Street neighbors. What Mr. Basham has done, in my professional opinion, has crafted so many restrictions, the majority of which are unnecessary unless you’re trying to tank a program on purpose.

At this time I’m only going to address one section which is so outrageous and a direct assault on both the 1st and 14th Amendments.

Taco Surf and other business owners who may want to have some sort of entertainment program, are you aware if you hire an act, each performer will be required to purchase a City of Seal Beach Business License? There was a Supreme Court ruling in 1991 that makes that a violation of the 1st Amendment. Performers are protected, they cannot be forced to get a permit to practice their craft in any establishment. I have been bringing this up during this whole process, of course with no avail.

The city attorneys’ response was that only performers making over $15,000 would have to get a city business license. HELLO! Equal protection per the 14th Amendment.  You can’t single out a group of people. This doesn’t surprise me. Councilwoman Deaton, City Manager Ingram, Jim Basham have been trying to squish any project I bring forward or anything I speak up on.  This group and a few of their cronies and insiders have squished, buried, interfered or stolen projects of mine time and time again.

Just as recent as September during the Arts & Craft Fair I was misled and lied to over public space use.  They apparently don’t mind trampling over the rights of everyone in this community.

I thought the city attorney was supposed to keep our council members from putting the city in jeopardy of lawsuits?  But he seems to be complicit and either is unwilling or unable to control this runaway administration led by Jill Ingram, Ellery Deaton and Jim Basham. Ninth grade civics class, perhaps the city attorney would like to retake that as a refresher. Not to mention that eminent domain issue in the 1st street parking lot. Ya know, the one where the city lost a judgment to the land owners. The wheels are falling off your wagon guys, quit pushing it and call it a day.

I’m also disturbed by the lack of understanding the Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors have in this matter. Which goes to my point, Why weren’t there any entertainment experts involved in this process? Two lawyers and a city administration that have no clue about these matters. I understand the president of the chamber plays numerous instruments and at some point has been paid for doing so. I would like to ask him, have you ever been told you can’t play in a club unless you purchased a city business license? Why is this section OK with you? Why would the C of C vice-president and Taco Surf counsel endorse such a recipe for failure and an eminent lawsuit.

To all businesses, please read the proposed city ordinance on incidental entertainment. Because at the moment this administration’s ignorance is over powering its arrogance, and that’s quite a feat.

I will say this, if that section is left in the ordinance I will be the first performer to perform in a business without purchasing a city business license, and I challenge this administration to ticket me or shut me down. Stop this in its tracks.

Lucky John Domingue is an entertainer and Seal Beach resident.

Guest column: A recipe for failure