Lyon County brothel owner opposes new rules
Appeal Staff Writer
Dennis Hof plans to be on hand when Lyon County commissioners consider raising the work card fee for brothel employees.
A public hearing on an ordinance increasing the work card fees from $50 to $100 will be held at 9:30 a.m. during the regular commission meeting Thursday at the Lyon County Administrative building.
“We’ve got numerous letters from homeowners in the community saying they don’t think the work card rule is fair, and we hope that the county commissioners will listen to us,” he said.
All brothel workers must have a work card, not just those working as prostitutes, and that’s what Hof finds unfair.
“How can you apply these work card rules to an employee, a maid or a maintenance person who works for one type of legal business, when you don’t apply it to their own business, which is the county?” he asked.
Hof said a part-time janitor who works 15 hours a week would have to pay more than a week’s wages just for the work card.
“They can do anything they want but I want them to put the same regulations into the county for all county employees,” he said. “Just apply it equally to county employees and employees of the sheriff’s office for those who do those (non-prostitute) jobs.”
The proposed ordinance will also prevent a brothel worker from getting a work card if the employee has been convicted of possession of drug paraphernalia in the past five years.
The brothel ordinance already prohibits cards to those convicted of possessing, using, or selling drugs, but did not include paraphernalia.
Hof said that was unfair, too, when you consider that people convicted of possession of marijuana can work as law enforcement officers after five years, but can’t work in a brothel.
“I hate drugs,” he said. “In L.A., San Francisco, Las Vegas, Reno, Sacramento and even Lyon County, you can work as a policeman and carry a weapon and protect our families and have a marijuana conviction, but you can’t be a working girl.”
The ordinance would also increase the frequency of herpes testing for those working as prostitutes from once a year to once a month.
District Attorney Bob Auer has said that the fee had not been increased for a long time, and costs to the sheriff’s office, whose employees have to fingerprint and photograph the employees and then deliver the cards, were higher than the income brought in by the fees.
Hof also believes brothels should have the right to advertise.
Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez-Masto has announced she will appeal a federal judge’s ruling last month overturning a 1979 law that banned brothel advertisements in areas such as Carson City and Washoe County where prostitution is illegal.
“It’s the attorney general’s right to do that if she thinks it’s right, but all businesses have a First Amendment right,” he said. “For us to be the biggest taxpayers in Lyon County, and we’ve been here 52 years and be a legitimate business, our people have work cards, and not be able to put a sign up?”
He said concerns about appropriate content in advertising should not be a problem because the mainstream media will make sure ads are not overly offensive.
“The newspapers aren’t going to allow that for any business,” he said. “The newspaper, TV, radio people themselves will control what is proper in their newspaper or TV stations.”
• Contact reporter Karen Woodmansee at firstname.lastname@example.org or 882-2111 ext. 351.
If You Go
WHAT: Lyon County Commission meeting
WHEN: 9 a.m. Thursday
WHERE: 27 S. Main St., Yerington