Poster Paper: Impacts of Politics on the Policy Process: A Case Study of the City Stanton and Local Massage Therapy Businesses

Friday, March 9, 2018
Burkle Lobby, First Floor (Burkle Family Building at Claremont Graduate University)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Megan Covarrubias, Jeffrey Arriaza, Alyssa D Guerrero and Yulin Zeng, University of California, Irvine

The City of Stanton is located in northwestern Orange County, bounded by Cypress, Anaheim, and Garden Grove. As of 2016, the city had a population of 38,644 within a 3.1 square miles parameter. For this project, we will be working with the City’s Public Safety Services Department. The department directs, manages and oversees the activities and operations of the City’s public safety contracts and serves as the liaison for police, fire and animal control services.

In 2007-2008, the California Senate passed SB-731. The bill created the California Medical Therapy Council (CAMTC), which was a voluntary, non-profit group comprised of current business owners within the massage therapy industry. SB-731 took away cities’ jurisdiction over managing massage therapy businesses and authority was passed to CAMTC. As a result, the City of Stanton experienced 0 to 36 massage establishments from 2009 to 2014. Such businesses were protected from local zoning and land use authority, and interfered with local law enforcement efforts to close massage businesses that allow prostitution and other illegal activities.

Due to health and safety threats to the establishments, AB-1147 was passed in 2013-2014 and went into effect on January 1, 2015. The bill allowed local agencies to impose reasonable zoning, business licensing, and health and safety requirements on massage establishments. Stanton’s city council adopted Ordinance Nos. 1031 and 1032 to ensure that nuisance activities occuring at massage establishments in the city are properly regulated and ceased. Since the passing of AB-1147, the city was able to close 17 establishments. However, 17 massage establishments are still in operation today. Currently, the City of Stanton is aiming to decrease the number of massage establishments to 6-7.

Illegal activities, such as prostitution, human trafficking, gang activity, occur at massage therapy establishments. City of Stanton aims to reduce to the number of establishments to efficiently manage these businesses and lessen the nuisance it creates in the community. Our goal is to evaluate the effectiveness of the city’s Ordinance Nos. 1031 and 1032 in decreasing and managing the number of massage establishments. With our findings, we aim to present the City of Stanton’s Department of Public Safety Services with a number of policy recommendations that can lead to decreasing the number of massage establishments and improving their zoning laws. More specifically, we will direct such recommendations to the City of Stanton, including business owners, residents, and city officials, as well as other California cities that are experiencing a growing issue of massage establishments within their community. This will include extensive research on best practices for local ordinances. The plan will be designed/developed through the following steps:

  1. An analysis of the City of Stanton’s regulatory practices on massage establishments.
  2. An analysis of neighboring cities’ similar ordinances and its effectiveness.
    1. City of Lake Forest Ordinance No. 282
    2. City of San Gabriel Ordinance No. 631-C.S.
  3. An evaluation of the City’s Ordinance Nos. 1031 and 1032