Council Delays Lice Salon Approval

Item is continued while staff determines what the store's sign can and cannot say.

The City Council will consider allowing the lice removal salon to locate on the 500 block of Main Street, if the owners of the business agree not to have any signs indicating what they do inside the store.

The council agreed to continue the item until the business owners and the city can agree on what exactly will be on the sign. The compromise was arrived at over the objections of one councilwoman and several speakers who fear a lice removal business will be detrimental to restaurants and clothing stores.

“I don’t think it belongs on that cute downtown Main Street that we’ve been working on so long and so hard,” said councilwoman Lara DeLaney. “It does have an ‘ick’ factor. It will stigmatize the downtown. It’s a stigma that you cannot get rid of. You can dim the lights and hide the sign, but people will know it. I’m shocked that our staff would approve it in the first place. I can’t believe the planning commission went ahead with this. I’m shocked that this council is leaning toward denying this appeal.”

But councilman Mark Ross said the business should be allowed to open, and people’s concerns about lice getting loose were unfair.

“the west end of Main has been a great success because there hasn’t been that many rules,” he said. “When Luigi was coming in with his 99 Cent Store, that was going to be the death of the downtown. People lined up to denounce this businessman, fearing winos were going to be spilling out. It’s worked out ok. I’m next door to a McDonald’s. I found a huge cockroach in my office. They, like all other restaurants, have to have an extermination contract to control pests and rodents. It’s a business, it’s America, they have the right to come to a city and invest their time and money in their dreams. I think the discretion in their signage would be acceptable. If they have a lot of traffic, here’s what’s going to happen: people will discover this block.”

He added that if a customer in another store got a louse on them from the new business, “I will personally give them $500.”

“Lice aren’t leprosy,” said councilman Mike Menesini. “But I think a sign saying ‘get your lice removed here’ is inappropriate for the area. I think it would hurt business. If we’re going to allow this business to be where they propose, we owe it to the folks there already to say we are going to protect you by limiting the signage.”

The owners of the business will meet with city staff to negotiate the language of the sign and the issue will return to the council at a later meeting. 

Beth Eiselman April 20, 2012 at 02:06 PM
I am so pleased that Main street will have a business that will draw FAMILIES --from all over the area. Everyone will profit. Look at Filmore St in SF--the Hair Fairies (lice treatment salon) has had no negative effect on the upscale shops and restaurants. Big City folk dont seem to mind.
marlene haws April 20, 2012 at 05:27 PM
Well said by a woman who does not live or work in Martinez much less have a business downtown! We are not a big city. Families with a lice infestation? Profitable? Hardly think so! If the shop does go in ( it seems that it will thanks to the misguided wisdom of our city council -accept Lara Delaney- ) I highly recommend that no one while shopping or eating scratch your heads!
jill April 20, 2012 at 08:42 PM
Lice treatment salons have only grown in number, and increased in size during the rough economy. Martinez is lucky to be graced with a business that statistics say will thrive. It with bring a lot of revenue to downtown, and the whole community.
Kristin Henderson April 20, 2012 at 09:25 PM
Marlene, Beth has given much to individuals and causes in Martinez that have elevated the social and economical fabric. And, being a landlord is a business. Beth, did you read that list of articles that talked about the scientifically "crawly" reflex from even the suggestion of lice? The "crawly" that does not lead to appetite? I guess Luigi will have to start selling "licecicles" in his freezer. You're still good by me, and thank you for your exempliary bravery to share such an opinion, as with all the rest else. You've earned that freedom.
Kristin Henderson April 20, 2012 at 10:20 PM
And something else, be careful of people who can say "no" to something knowing it will pass anyway, just to distinguish themselves. People who said "no" to B. Palms, were in the "know" when the County passed the environmental entitlements and said nothing when what mattered occured, nor fought for the historicism of the neighborhood--but when the time came for a publicity shot, voted "no". Be sure you can decipher selfishness from caring.
Chris Kapsalis April 21, 2012 at 03:29 AM
If the city council allows this lice salon next to a deli where people eat, and two short doors down from a place that sells hats and clothes, because who are they to tell a legal business where they can locate, and it will bring much needed revenue to downtown, what will their argument be for not allowing an adult book store to move in on Main Street? It is also a legal business, and also profitable and would bring revenue to downtown. Who will they be to tell an adult bookstore where they can set up shop? Next to a deli? Or worse. Or a pawn shop from opening on Main Street? A pawn shop next to a liquer store or bar? On the 500 block? They must look at compatibility, and also how it will effect other businesses already there. Lice effects people. It is not conducive to an appetite and enjoyable lunch to many people. Also it would put an "ick factor" in potential shoppers who might be going on to try on clothes, hats?
Chris Kapsalis April 21, 2012 at 03:29 AM
If, as said, it will bring families to downtown, it will bring lice infected families downtown for the specific reason to be de-liced, for more than one treatment in many cases. And yes, it can infect anyone. Anyone. It is highly contagious. I read this on many official health sites. Highly contagious. We are, if we do, allowing a business that will attract highly contagious people to our main street, concentrating lice downtown. Our downtown is small. Very small. And we have only one Main Street. Do we want a lice salon on our only Main Street that is what, only 1500 feet long, when there are many off streets that it would not be so visible. and on our most successful block downtown? Only 200 feet long, with how many eateries? I say this is a bad idea that will negatively effect other businesses, least of which is a deli and people eating only feet away. What is the purpose of zoning then? We might as well scrap it and mix industrial with everything else, who are we to say where people can set up shop? An adult bookstore? Why not. Next to Star bucks or right on our Main Street with parades and the center of our city? Why not?
Kevin Bacon April 21, 2012 at 05:33 PM
Lice infestation. De-lousing. Parasites. Lice feeding exclusively on human blood. Where is the "feel good factor" gauge rating in all of this? Consider human behavior when trying to draw people to Main Street Martinez. "Main Street" in every town or village, is the community focal point for retail commerce and socializing. A strip that offers THE BEST of what the City has to offer. I am quite certain that Main Street dining, or socializing, does not coincide well with a de-lousing clinic. I sincerely hope that “de-lousing” will not be considered the best that Main Street Martinez has to offer. Lastly, how will a lice treatment center affect the decisions of prospective retailers considering the establishment of business in our Main Street downtown? It all does not "feel good", to say the least.
morning glory April 21, 2012 at 09:35 PM
I agree with Kevin - I feel like our city council is doing whatever they can to "ruin" Martinez or at least make it worse. Why can't we put in a smoothie shop or something. Lice removal - GROSS!
Marshall Cochrane April 21, 2012 at 09:58 PM
It's unfortunate but obvious that the City Council will approve the Lice Salon on Main Street. I believe that it's the wrong location for this business and this probably will be the reason that it fails. I believe that discretion is critical to those who use this type of service. That should exclude Main Street Martinez. My bet is that it will go under and unfortunately,will probably take a couple of others with it. The proponents of this decision wants us to believe that this will blow over. The lice removal business will be successful and overtime, the surrounding businesses will continue to grow: People will still enjoy the outdoor eating of Luigi's and La Tapatia next to and adjacent to the lice salon. Folks will enjoy going down to the White Rabbit and trying on numerous hats and other clothing which to most of us seems like targets for infestation... My parting question: If members of the Council owned those affected businesses, would they be so eager to play Russian Roulette by installing a lice salon in a community of businesses which have already made a substantial investment in the City of Martinez?
Kristin Henderson April 21, 2012 at 10:41 PM
And, Marshall Cochrane, I hope you notice and do know what the Council *does* do for its closest property owning friends. As if those friends were extensions of their very selves, which I guess campaign funding is. And, RDA cooperation was. Friends who have not made the investment in their own properties, as the 500 block business owners have, and yet demand the best business promotions, handouts, and every planning decision skewed in their favor.
Marshall Cochrane April 22, 2012 at 03:07 AM
I'm not sure of the inference but I for one think that our City Council are basically honest folks...I looked at who contributes to their election and the most prominent citizens, unions or companies of Martinez came up with about a thousand bucks...That's a pretty low scale to sell your integrity for...The redevelopment arguments were basically honest differences of opinon...I believe that the council was only looking at funding opportunities and not the overall impact on the City...I have to state honestly that it's seldom that I agree with the major decisions made by this group....But I do believe that they are an honest group of citizens giving it their best shot for the City of Martinez....Unless we have factual data to put in front of the grand jury, we should be very careful about challenging someone's integrity. (One mans opinion.)
Chris Kapsalis April 22, 2012 at 03:14 AM
My wife works at White Rabbit two doors down. I eye measured the distance today. About 14 feet away from a lice salon. She helps people find clothes. She is great at what she does. Last night again we talked about this. She said she has no clue what to do if someone comes from the lice salon to shop, tries on clothes. Does she ask them if they or their children have lice? Believe them? Then let them try on clothes or not? Then if they do, does she warn the next people who come in? If she does not and they get lice is she wrong? If she warns them it will hurt sales and spell disaster for the store she works at and it's reputation. This is completely unfair and a very real possibility, in fact I will go out on a limb and say it will happen. What does she do? What does Anne, the owner of White Rabbit do? Between a rock and hard place, damned either way, possibly sued either way. Denying someone's rights and privacy or allow clothing she knows may be infected to be out for sale and for people to try on. If she puts up a warning sign she can kiss her business good bye. This is Not the right place for a lice salon. Sorry. And this is only the tip of the negative ice burg. People going to eat losing their appetite. People eating lunch 8 feet from the front door of the lice salon? Gross. Will we educate them all with a big sign in the window of the lice salon about lice with pictures they can read while eating?
Chris Kapsalis April 22, 2012 at 03:14 AM
There are many more negatives as the show of neighboring business owners proved at the meeting. The heart of zoning is for businesses to be grouped that will benefit each other. This will do the opposite. Hurt.
Kristin Henderson April 22, 2012 at 05:51 AM
Cochrane, I disagree and with evidence. Email me. last name first name hotmail (no spaces, no special characters).
Kristin Henderson April 22, 2012 at 05:19 PM
Cochrane, also, with regards to the lice subject or any other, because our Council are public figures dealing with public policy and public funds, it is in our best interest as citizens to have open discourse about their actions. The First Amendment is essential to a Democracy. And yes, we have facts.
Lawrence Risner April 22, 2012 at 05:22 PM
I guess I am simple minded in that I still believe that individuals without any personal interest for the overall good of a city should not be in a position to make decisions that affect the businesses and citizens of that city. It's easy to dictate rules then go home to another community. Not only is the lice salon a black eye for the 500 block businesses but how is Berellesa Palms going to mix in with the downtown area? You might ask yourself, "Why was Martinez selected for such a project in the first place?" Why not Berkeley, Orinda, Walnut Creek, Moraga, Concord...need I go on? Why is Martinez one city in the county without an assisted living center for seniors that aren't low income? Back to the lice station - let's see if anyone on the council eats or shops at a 500 block business if they approve the lice salon if even to simply justify their position. For a bug that doesn't travel and is so hard to spread it seems strange that there is a growing need for such a business.
Lawrence Risner April 22, 2012 at 05:33 PM
No offense to Beth Eiselman but the last time I walked down Market street in SF it wouldn't have bothered me if there were lice stations on every block - and perhaps there should be. Martinez has not yet reached that obvious need and I truly hope it never does.
Betty Buginas April 22, 2012 at 07:24 PM
How about a Patch name-the-(anti)-lice salon contest?
Kristin Henderson April 23, 2012 at 04:44 AM
Lawrence, on RCD, because when it was thought Redevelopment might be realized, the one person who owns alot of the commercial property in the Downtown needed to be given $1.4 million for an inappropriate lot which tax assessment was about 1/10th of that. Same person who wants the pockets to disappear, same person who will benefit from the General Plan Update, same person who Main Street consistently supports and promotes anything that makes him wealthier even when he was on their board and that's a non profit violation. Same person who has gotten about $1 million for other property improvements from our general fund....Same person who has gotten the historic society to remove his properties from their listing and the City to adopt an illegitmate historic survey...and so on and so forth, ad infinitum. A tiny fraction of the deference he receives cannot be given to these business owners or other important planning processes.
Kristin Henderson April 23, 2012 at 01:45 PM
morning glory April 23, 2012 at 02:11 PM
@ Cochrane re: City Council as " basically honest folks " . Boy that makes me laugh. Why don't you ask Mark Ross about his rentals and the $80,000+ he owes in back taxes - that's pretty honest. ( Sarcasm ) . Vote these people out PLEASE!
Lawrence Risner April 23, 2012 at 04:14 PM
So funny..... even the world's worst crook has some basically honest moments!!! That's an odd way to justify questionable conduct by persons in public trusted positions.
Kristin Henderson April 25, 2012 at 04:22 AM
OK, I just can't take it. At this very moment I am reading "The Winemakers of Martinez" and a plant louse hit the Swett ranch just when the vinting was finally making it financially. This wine louse had destroyed crops in Europe as well. It was a "five year, bitter, costly battle" that only by the pluck and intelligent investments of the Swetts and their 40 employees was the ranch not ruined. $125 was the cost of planting cultivating an acre of grapes in 1898, and the louse cost Swett $25,000 in damages in 1898 money. It was Muir who had given his friend Swett the tip to buy this ranch, adjacent to Muir's own.
Kristin Henderson April 25, 2012 at 06:28 AM
Lice Sensed to Kill. Lice'ol Days. Lousy Lady Luck. Bug in a Rug. Life's a Itch. Four Time's the Charm. Stars on L'ice. Head Shop. Mane Drain. The Lice Have it.
Ann Marie Marke May 09, 2012 at 02:23 PM
Gotta love lowering yourself to using scare tactics to plead your case. ick
Ann Marie Marke May 09, 2012 at 02:31 PM
Coming from someone in the lice business I agree with the sentiment that discretion is key. Families with lice usually don't want to be seen walking into a known treatment center on Main Street in a small town. Unfortunately, lice does carry a stigma mainly becaue people are ignorant about it. Unless you have to deal with a lice situation one usually doesn't put much thought into it. If I were to advise these business owners I would tell them that it would be a better idea to find a location that is less exposed. Better for them and better for the businesses around them. However, they are smart to get all the press they can out of this. Best thing that they could do at this point would be to find another location on a side street and open up there...quietly.
Marie Bealle June 06, 2012 at 04:38 PM
And a bad landlord who doesn't take care of her property unless made to by the building inspector.


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