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Doug Clark: Bikini baristas at risk of a city cover-up

As we get ready to say so long to the summer of  2013, a burning question comes to mind.

Whatever happened to Mike Fagan’s war on the bikini barista babe biz?

To recap July’s hysteria …

Complaints from constituents about some near-naked coffee sellers had the Spokane city councilman in a froth and vowing to create an ordinance designed to nip any over-fleshed enterprises in the bud.

I’m such an optimist. I figured the sheer silliness of this nonissue would eventually dawn on Fagan, who is a smart guy and would wisely drop the whole matter with a red-faced “never mind.”

There I go again, giving Spokane government more credit than it deserves.

Fagan, as I discovered Wednesday, not only has refused to let this rubbish go, but his new “Unlawful Public Exposure” ordinance is almost ready for Prime Time.

“Spokane does not have a public decency standard,” said the councilman, who is bent on filling the void.

Not that I’m grousing.

The debate on this alone could provide some of the best Theater of the Absurd since the good old days, when the late-great Jimmy Marks monopolized the Council’s public testimony time with anecdotes about the Gypsy Curse he had cast upon the town.

So save the dates. Lest sanity suddenly prevail, the ordinance should get a reading at next Monday’s council gathering. Then it could be debated and voted on at the Sept. 23 meeting.

Ever the cooperative public servant, Fagan emailed an advance copy of his aforementioned ordinance to me. So please turn on some soft music and light a candle while I give you my favorite section, Part B:

“Unlawful public exposure” means the exposure of any of the following body parts of the person without a full and opaque covering in other than a public place provided or set apart for nudity:

1. Any part of the male or female genitals, pubic hair, pubic area, perineum, anus, or bottom one-half of the anal cleft;

2. Any part of the areola or nipple of the female breast; or

3. More than one-half of the part of the female breast located below the top of the areola.

And you wonder why the streets don’t get fixed.

For the good of the column, however, I am fully endorsing Fagan’s Unlawful Pubic, I mean, Public Exposure law.


I’m dying to shadow the poor city worker who will have to go out with rubber gloves and a tape measure to confirm or deny any citizen complaints of too much barista boobage or overexposed bum valleys.

Maybe it’s time to resurrect that old city weights and measures department.

Speaking of which, the other day I drove by this really fat dude who was bent way over while working on his pickup motor.

I’m not easily offended, but the “anal cleft” violation he gave me was not only heinous but felonious.

Come to think of it, Fagan’s Law might put every crack-impaired plumber out of work in this burg.

The point being that there may be a need for this, although not the way Fagan intended.

To get a firsthand impression of what the hubbub is all about, I drove over to the scene of the allegedly obscene: XXXtreme Espresso on Northwest Boulevard.

I felt a little creepy joining the small caravan of men in mostly trucks who were lined up for some java and jiggle.

Then it was my turn. The young topless woman working alone seemed very excited to see me – until I told her I was media, that is.

A cold front chilled the warm air.

“I don’t know (bleep),” she said flatly, “I just work here.”

If I got a free cup of coffee every time some interview subject told me that, well, I’d be going to the bathroom a lot more at night than I already am.

Though my fact-finding mission was a bust, I will say that the young barista had the business end of each breast covered by an X made from some sort of black tape.

Even so, showing the bottom half of her bosom would be a violation under Fagan’s Law. On the plus side, however, the micro-hot pants she had somehow poured herself into provided just enough booty barrier to keep her derriere street legal.

I can’t believe I actually wrote that sentence.

Fagan might actually get Council support if he scrapped his ordinance and rewrote it based on the shocking news story that appeared in Wednesday’s newspaper.

To paraphrase, a revolver-toting 12-year-old boy was arrested on charges that he threatened to shoot an Everett bikini barista and then made off on his bicycle with the contents of her tip jar.

Bottom line: Forget about fanny clefts, etc., Mike.

Make it a law that all baristas, for their own safety, must wear enough clothing so they can carry a concealed weapon.

In the end, however, who cares?

As long as just coffee and no sex is being sold, I say …

Flop and let flop.

The objectionable boobs are on the Council.

Doug Clark can be reached at (509) 459-5432 or