The mayor's proposed strip-club district—an oblong 12-acre swatch of land that stretches from South Walker Street in SoDo to Duwamish Avenue South in industrial Georgetown—has been parked in Council Member Peter Steinbrueck's Urban Planning and Development committee since late last year. The lengthy delay is due in part to more immediate concerns (the contentious downtown height and density increases), and in part to one burning legal question, namely: Is a red-light district that's just big enough to accommodate one or two strip clubs really a red-light district at all? Or is it a sneaky way of reinstating the city's defunct strip-club moratorium, overturned by a U.S. District Court judge last September? Steinbrueck, looking tired and a bit punchy after two back-to-back council meetings this Monday, said he's "asked the law department to review the mayor's legislation," and won't move on the red-light proposal until the city attorney gives him the okay.

In other strip-club-related news, Seattle Citizens for Free Speech, a group funded by the city's two largest strip clubs, Déjà Vu Showgirls and Rick's, has raised an astonishing $322,000 for its campaign to overturn the city's embarrassing "four-foot rule," which also requires bright lights in strip clubs and prohibits tipping. That's $30,000 more than Greg Nickels had raised by this point last year, and more than any city council incumbent raised in the entire election. The council hasn't set a date for the election, but on Monday, City Clerk Judith Pippin told me she'd "put money on November."

On Tuesday, the council’s transportation committee voted to table an amendment that would have required South Lake Union property owners to pay for any cost overruns on Nickels’s South Lake Union streetcar, an amendment to which Team Nickels (and the property owners, including South Lake Union behemoth Vulcan) strenuously objected. Steinbrueck initiated the amendment after a council analysis revealed that the estimated cost for the streetcar had spiked $3 million, to $50.5 million—leaving streetcar backers $4.8 million short of full funding for the project. Streetcar supporter Jan Drago, who pushed to table Steinbrueck’s proposal, called it “taboo to walk into a committee with nobody having seen your amendment. People do not react favorably to that.” The council will likely take up the amendment on Monday, March 27.

In 2005, the Washington State legislature passed a law requiring sprinklers in all large nightclubs—a response to the deaths of 100 clubgoers at a Great White show in 2003 in Rhode Island. (The fire, caused by a lethal combination of indoor pyrotechnics, a flammable foam ceiling, and inaccessible exits, could have possibly been averted if the club had installed a sprinkler system.) It took until 2006 for the nightclubs of Seattle to get wind of the legislation, at which point they raised a predictable stink about (a) the cost of installing the systems; (b) the need for installing the systems; and (c) the timeline for installing the systems, which requires clubs to be in compliance by December 1, 2007.

Of the clubs' complaints—aired at a meeting of the council's public safety committee on Tuesday, March 7—the most compelling is the timeline, which gives clubs just 18 months to comply with the law. According to Fire Marshal John Nelsen, as many as 100 clubs could be affected by the ordinance. Given the scope of the work that has to be done, "18 months is very ambitious," Nelsen said.

barnett@thestranger.com