Surf City Massage Parlor Moratorium Helps Cops Try to Take the “Tug” out of “Rub 'n' Tug”

Massage parlors mushrooming from eight in 2009 to 74 in 2014 prompted Huntington Beach to recently impose a 45-day moratorium on new such businesses opening while an ordinance is drafted to crack down on crimes associated with some joints–the “tug” that can follow the “rub,” if you will.


Massage establishments began to multiply quickly after the state's Massage Therapy Reform Act of 2008 precluded cities from treating massage parlors differently than other professional service businesses, such as barber shops and beauty salons. But in September, Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation restoring the rights of cities to regulate massage parlors.

“The Police Department is a little bit nervous about a wave of illicit massage parlors trying to get in before the (revised) ordinance kicks in,” Huntington Beach Police Chief Robert Handy says in a recent Los Angeles Times report. “The 45 days gives us a pause, so to speak, to get a more quality ordinance to you, more well thought out instead of rushing it.”

The moratorium is in effect now, but Handy vowed to work with massage business operators about any concerns over new regulations that might rub them the wrong way. (Sorry … couldn't resist.). The chief hopes to take a new ordinance before the City Council in a couple weeks. Pray our twisted spines can hold out that long.

Email: mc****@oc******.com. Twitter: @MatthewTCoker. Follow OC Weekly on Twitter @ocweekly or on Facebook!

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