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Chula Vista’s bayfront development got a sudden jumpstart October 8 when a new place called EyeCandy opened on Bay Boulevard. The establishment features nude dancers and soft drinks.

EyeCandy, visible from the freeway, is located on Chula Vista’s E Street exit. It was formerly Anthony’s Fish Grotto but was sold, according to the San Diego Daily Transcript, for $2.1 million in December 2011. The buyer was 215 Blvd, LLC c/o Waldon R. Welty.

Mr. Welty made himself available for an interview on the Bay Boulevard premises October 8. “I like the fact that it’s across the street from a portion of the bayfront that will remain undeveloped, a natural preserve,” said Welty. He also indicated that there is a motel just to the south on Bay Boulevard and card rooms will be opening just a little further south.

Welty said the business license for the company said “entertainment” and the application said “cabaret/theater.” An October 7 Craigslist ad solicits “Dancer Auditions, No Experience Needed (San Bernardino and Chula Vista).”

In response to a question about a potential attempt to close EyeCandy down, Welty said, “How dare they? Where is the law for grownups? How dare public officials become the voice for moral authority?”

Welty indicated he was ready with an attorney, Roger Diamond, if need be. He also said it would be a disservice to Chula Vista residents for city officials to spend the little money they have trying to close the establishment.

The bayfront has been a battleground for years, and Welty is a veteran fighter. A Union-Tribune article titled “Flesh Club owner heads medical pot effort” credits Welty for spearheading a signature-gathering effort in San Diego to repeal restrictions on medical marijuana dispensaries.

Chula Vista councilmember Steve Castaneda said he was shocked to see the sign last night when he was exiting the freeway. He said he spoke to city manager Jim Sandoval, who was also not aware of EyeCandy.

“It’s a very pivotal piece of property in Chula Vista,” Castaneda said. “It marks the beginning of the city and is one of the gateways to the bayfront….

“If the establishment was given the permit under fraudulent circumstances, then there is something we can do about it,” Castaneda continued. “But, if his interpretation of what a lawful business is is different than ours, then the courts will have to make that decision.”

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Sjtorres Oct. 8, 2012 @ 5:02 p.m.

Shut this clown down. That is a family area.

1

SurfPuppy619 Oct. 8, 2012 @ 6 p.m.

Welty indicated he was ready with an attorney, Roger Diamond, if need be.

I don't think there is a strip club in So Cal that does not have Diamond on retainer or payroll.

2

eastlaker Oct. 9, 2012 @ 11:54 a.m.

Re: the Daily Bulletin article--Is this a brother?

Pretty unsavory stuff.

(I can't access the LA Times article--can you give further info on that?)

1

joepublic Oct. 8, 2012 @ 7:54 p.m.

Seemingly overnight, ex-Anthony's Fish Grotto becomes EyeCandy, and no one in the city government was aware. No moral judgement here, at all. However, something is a little bit "fishy" here.

3

Visduh Oct. 8, 2012 @ 8:30 p.m.

Utter incompetence and/or a payoff to someone. The bureaucrat who let that get past him/her should be fired. But, hey, this is Chulajuana and anything goes if it pays. How far CV has fallen that its once-prosperous Anthony's is now a nudie joint. Tells us all more than we want to know about the city and the So Bay in general.

3

eastlaker Oct. 9, 2012 @ 12:04 p.m.

Visduh, I have to agree with you even though I truly dislike the "Chulajuana" designation...

As others have commented here, who knows if there is enough interest in such an establishment to even support it. But maybe it hasn't really been planned to be a legitimate establishment? Maybe it is convenient for money laundering. Maybe the owners are hoping that they will get a big payoff to go away as the developers with the big bankrolls (from China or where ever) show up and want a gateway business with better across the board appeal.

On the whole, it really does point out the lack of critical vision and supervision for the Bay Front.

At the very least, one would think that ANY new business and/or business license would require some on-record face-to-face discussions with city and Bay Front people--and that every step would be traceable so that situations like this could not take place.

Chula Vista really does not need to attract the disreputable bottom-feeder businesses.

Will Mayor Cox step up and get to work on this?

2

Visduh Oct. 9, 2012 @ 2:06 p.m.

Odd you should mention her, 'cause she was on KOGO radio about noon today (Tue, 10/9) having a cow about the whole thing. She said that nobody knew about this until Sunday evening, and that the city has been busy at work on it since yesterday morning. Her claim is that the business license given out--whatever that was--was not for a nudie joint. (She didn't call it that, of course.) And she assures everyone that when the enforcement action occurs, it will not open or will be closed. So, if she's right the operator did try to pull a "fast one", and may or may not get away with it. If she's pulling our leg, it was likely an incompetent city bureaucrat who signed off on it and opened the door. Once the door was opened legally, it will be very hard to close it again. We shall see.

1

cvres Oct. 8, 2012 @ 9:56 p.m.

Hmmm. Let's see. City manager goes to China to court bayfront developers. Then we get EyeCandy. Now we have it all--somewhere for the visitors to the conference center/hotel can go and be entertained.

Well, might as well throw our hands up...at least I'd like to know how much the city will get from this arrangement and the card rooms?

2

Javajoe25 Oct. 8, 2012 @ 10:28 p.m.

Come on, people. It's a free market system. $14 plate of fried pollack just didn't fly. Let's see if the hootchie-cootchie girls can do any better. The skin joints in the Midway district never seem to have that many cars in their parking lot. Why anyone would think Chula Vista is going to be a better location seems odd to me, but maybe the boys from 32nd St base will show up. Only time will tell. Shake it or break it.

2

joepublic Oct. 8, 2012 @ 10:39 p.m.

Maybe mayor Cox will declare this still another Chula Vista attraction. Not sure if it will rank above or below the toll road.

0

eastlaker Oct. 9, 2012 @ 1:40 p.m.

Was it Forbes Magazine that said Chula Vista was the most boring town/city in the US?

And then Vanity Fair wasn't very kind either, describing it as a place of pawn shops, etc.

Yes, this latest business venture isn't going to help improve Chula Vista's civic profile.

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bvagency Oct. 10, 2012 @ 9:22 p.m.

It may not improve our civic profile but it may boost our ranking on Forbes Magazine!

1

Jay Allen Sanford Oct. 8, 2012 @ 10:41 p.m.

It's usually very difficult to get an "adult entertainment” and “cabaret/theater" permit approved in San Diego, other than in locales grandfathered by permits dating back 25 years or more. When Deja Vu Showgirls operator Harry Mohney wanted to open a new nudie "booth" operation on Barnett, near the airport, he was only able to do so by capitalizing on his longstanding "Jolar" nudie club near College and University (which in the late 70s/early 80s was located on Broadway) and an existing permit that had covered the Barnett locale's previous operators, a nudie "photo studio."

Judging from Welty's quote, if his permits were issue based on describing the operation as "entertainment" and "cabaret/theater," MINUS the word "adult" with "entertainment," that's a blatant attempt to avoid being overseen by the city vice department. And any "adult entertainment" establishment with strippers must be overseen by vice, AND have the girls apply for and be granted a license by the city (which requires a police-run "orientation" class and criminal background check for all dancers).

That said, tho, a "cabaret/theater" application SHOULD have been a dead giveaway as to the nature of the operation. That's the key phrase that all local strip clubs apply and operate under, and virtually no other business would apply thusly, at least since the demise of of burlesque theaters in San Diego (the last burlesque "cabaret" in SD, the Hollywood Burlesque theater downtown, was converted to the legit Off Broadway Theater in the 70s, tho it later became an x-rated moviehouse).

Not to mention the business NAME, with “Showgirls” being an infamously dead giveaway as to the intended nature of the operation…

This Reader feature “Battle of the Peeps” details the city’s strip club and peep show history – http://www.sandiegoreader.com/weblogs...

While this one covers “Before it Was the Gaslamp” downtown, including the history of the (quite famous, in its day) Hollywood Burlesque cabaret - http://www.sandiegoreader.com/weblogs...

3

bvagency Oct. 10, 2012 @ 9:26 p.m.

Jayallen excellent points. What about a background check on the owners of the business? That probably would have tipped the City off! Sounds like the City got lazy and now are trying to get horses back in the barn! Cmon City leaders and council members this is another black eye to our city. And we wonder why we get no respect down here. Seems like a bunch of nincompoops are running the city!!

2

Sjtorres Oct. 9, 2012 @ 6:08 a.m.

Yeah, what bureaucrat took the payoff? Doesn't this type of license require the Chief of Police approval?

1

eastlaker Oct. 9, 2012 @ 1:41 p.m.

Good question. Does anyone know the answer?

0

David Dodd Oct. 9, 2012 @ 5:24 p.m.

I'm trying to figure out how this is going to morally corrupt the fine people of Chula Vista. It's just some place where girls make some cash and boys get to enjoy themselves. I think there is a Motel 6 right by this place, I'm sure more sordid events happen in some of those rooms than would happen in a strip joint. Someone school me on this, I'm all ears (well, actually eyes, but you know what I mean).

One point of view could be that these types of establishments actually keep the raging hormones of the male species of humans off of the streets where they could find more trouble lurking out there than in some club where ostensibly at least a few of the girls are going to use some of that lap-dance money to get an education. Odd as it might seem, it's sort of easy to point out a few positives here. And it's economics 101, the perfect example of creative destruction - close down an overrated seafood joint and give the people some entertainment that they seem to want.

0

eastlaker Oct. 9, 2012 @ 5:59 p.m.

I don't think it is as simple as you are thinking. It appears that the people behind this venture are well acquainted with all sorts of money laundering and other schemes. On the whole, it isn't likely to bring much that is positive to the area.

0

Visduh Oct. 9, 2012 @ 9:13 p.m.

Overrated seafood joint? Well, those family-run eateries were very popular in the area for decades, and the operation just kept expanding. Mama Ghio, son Anthony Ghio, son-in-law Roy Weber, and the family did just fine. But then Roy passes away, and ever since they have just closed restaurants without opening any new ones. At one time they had the Grotto at the wharf with their ultra-gourmet spot, the Star of the Sea Room right next door. They have the La Mesa location, and had a couple different spots in "La Jolla", and also were in CV. Have I forgotten any? Oh yes, the Fishette in the Harbor Seafood Mart adjacent to Seaport Village. In the mid-70's they took over a spot across the street from the Grotto at the wharf and tried to get a new operation going that appealed to a "younger crowd." That was Anthony's Harborside, and for a time it was hot. (As far as a younger crowd, they might have brought the average age of a diner down from 65 to, oh, 55!) Several years ago it just ran out of oomph and folded. There may have been others.

But now they are down to only two spots. The Grotto at the wharf with a Fishette out front, and the La Mesa location. Th..th..that's all folks!

The local folklore was that even though the places were named for son Anthony Ghio, he was feckless and the real brain behind the operation was Roy Weber, who was--horrors--not Italian. Since the torch was passed to the next generation, the operation is retrenching. When they gave up the Star of the Sea, it didn't portend well for them. There are plenty of wildly overpriced gourmet restaurants in SD, and not a few wildly overpriced spots--such as in Gaslamp--that aren't remotely gourmet. Why could they not make a go of that one of theirs? Maybe the old fashioned fare and old fashioned pseudo-snooty waiters just didn't pack them in as they once did.

But if I had to guess, I'd say it is pure decadence. The family members just don't wanna work that hard any more. Put in a dose of family feuding, and you have the recipe for another business that is going away.

3

Duhbya Oct. 10, 2012 @ 1:18 p.m.

I've never come across a place that could tenderize an abalone like that Fishette did.

None

0

Javajoe25 Oct. 11, 2012 @ 6:41 p.m.

Well, they're going to tenderize a whole different kind of fish now. I can't wait to see who gets hooked; who gets fried; and who gets thrown back. One thing about Chula V -- it's never boring.

0

SurfPuppy619 Oct. 12, 2012 @ 9:06 a.m.

Well, they're going to tenderize a whole different kind of fish now

Oh...I want to...... so bad.....but can't......

0

Javajoe25 Oct. 13, 2012 @ 11:37 a.m.

Yea, I hear ya. Something smelled fishy about this whole thing right from the start. Always has.

0

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