[UPDATED with Vote Delay:] Huntington Beach May Rub Out Massage Parlors

UPDATE, JUNE 5, 10:56 A.M.: Citing the concerns of lobbyists for massage parlors, the Huntington Beach City Council Monday night postponed a vote on an ordinance that would halve the number of such businesses to 30 in Surf City.

After City Manager Fred Wilson disclosed a meeting with the lobbyists will be held next week, the council voted to hold off consideration of the ordinance until a later date.

ORIGINAL POST, JUNE 4, 9:39 A.M.: It may not be a happy ending more than of Surf City's massage parlors tonight.

The Huntington Beach City Council is scheduled to consider an ordinance that would cut the number of such businesses in town to 30 from current estimates of more than 60.

The proposal, which includes provisions that would make it difficult for closed massage parlors to apply to reopen, comes on the heels of a city staff report that claims many of the newer establishments are fronts for prostitution.

The Huntington Beach Police Department, with assists from code enforcement, the fire department and the Orange County Human Trafficking Task Force, on May 3 raided 20 suspected rub 'n' tug joints, issuing more than 70 violation notices.

Surf City Rub 'n' Tug Raids Net 70+ Citations, 5 Arrests, 3 Possible Unhappy Endings for Shops

At the time, three businesses were targeted with immediate closure, as the operation had been preceded by police vice squad raids that resulted in five females being arrested for alleged prostitution and other sex crimes.

The police department blames a supposed 500 percent rise in the number of massage parlors in town since 2009 on a state law passed that year that was aimed at regulating the businesses and requiring licenses of massage technicians. What it has done instead, police claim, is prevent direct  local regulation of the shops.

The public portion of the Huntington Beach City Council meeting is scheduled to begin at 6 tonight.

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