How sanctimonious Matt Cunningham worked and fought for Strip Club owners last year!


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Admirers of Matt Cunningham’s stunning moral flexibility now have a new morsel to chew on – his successful “consulting” work last year, for “$1000 to $10,000” (probably $5000) to help the owners of the OC strip clubs “California Girls” overcome police objections in his town of Orange, and open up a new location there.

I’m sure you’ve seen the two California Girls in this county, a Santa Ana one on Harbor, and an Anaheim one on Brookhurst.  Ever been in there?  Well, you wouldn’t tell me if you had, so I’ll have to describe it to you. After the big bouncer checks you for weapons or photographic equipment and your eyes adjust to the dim light, you’ll see, up on a brightly lit stage, a shapely, scantily clad young woman, with a silly porn-like stage name, (who may or may not be “working her way through college,” but could just as well be a junkie) bumping and grinding through Guns and Roses’ “Welcome to the Jungle” or 2 Live Crew’s “Me So Horny.”

As alcohol is flowing freely at most hours of the day, the girl’s G-string legally has to stay on, but halfway through the number each perky breast is freed up to jiggle at the clientele.  Drooling doofuses crowd the stage, lobbing dollars and fives at the dancer in hopes that she’ll arch her crotch ever closer to them, while winking and licking her lips.

Then if you’ve got twenty dollars (or more) you could go over to one of those chairs over there and get a “lap dance.”  There is supposed to be NO TOUCHING during a lap dance, but the dancer will tease you by wagging her posterior and breastesses as close to your face as possible, while whispering sexy endearments.  I don’t really like that kind of teasing, but obviously a lot of guys do.  And I have it on good authority that, with the right combination of money and charm, and the right girl, she will slip off with you somewhere and do a lot more.

How do I know all this?  Well, I can’t say I’ve been inside California Girls often, or recently, or never.  (Long story.)  It’s really not my kind of place, truth be told.  But it’s not interesting that I’ve been in there – I’m just a regular guy.

Cunningham partying with his idol Adam Ant.

  • I’m not a sanctimonious, judgmental, “Christian conservative” who boasts of his “family values” – that’s Matt Cunningham.
  • I didn’t fight hard and successfully against the rights of gays to marry, claiming that it would harm “traditional marriage” in some mystical intangible way – that was Matt Cunningham.
  • I wasn’t such a loyal unquestioning Catholic that I went and humiliated myself defending Monsignor Urell, the notorious protector of priest pedophiles – that was also Matt Cunningham.
  • And I didn’t work for the owners of California Girls last year, helping them get past reasonable police objections – THAT was MATT.

To make it clear…

No, there is not a new branch of California Girls in Orange that you hadn’t heard of, as my ambiguous opening paragraph suggested, so put down your car keys.  We’re talking about the Tilted Kilt that opened last year, which you’ve probably seen.  A sort of Scottish-themed Hooters, it’s not precisely a strip club, but it IS owned by the guys who own California Girls.  And the dress code for their youthful, stacked, female staff, seems to consist of short kilts, low tops, and powerful pushup bras – perhaps more acceptable to the family-values Jubal?

The two locations of California Girls are owned by two guys who officially go by the business name “OC Restaurant Group” – OC Restaurant Group’s actual office is hidden away inside California Girls’ Anaheim location, and California Girls seems to be all the OC Restaurant Group guys owned.  That is an LOL right there.  California Girls is not a restaurant.  In fact, I became the strippers’ hero when I showed up once with bags full of Jack in the Box Teriyaki Dinners – every other guy there was just trying to get them drunk, so they could grab their asses whenever the bouncer turned his head!

Tilted Kilt, I assume, was these OC Restaurant Group guys’ effort to go “legit” – after all, Tilted Kilt IS actually a restaurant!  But even more than that, Tilted Kilt is a bar, a bar specializing in hot young waitresses and loud music, a bar that demanded to have a happy hour, and a bar that demanded to build an OPEN PATIO out back.  The Orange Police Department had real problems with all that, claiming there were already too many similar places in the area, that it would inevitably cause them more public safety problems, and they vowed to fight it at the Orange Planning Commission.

So the California Girls Guys went and hired Matt Cunningham to argue their case, against the police, in front of the Planning Commission, which he did successfully.  He argued that they needed to be there for the local tax base, jobs, and economic development.  He argued that they NEEDED to have that outside patio AND a happy hour for the local tax base, jobs, and economic development.  He argued if any place was built at that location, it just HAD to be a Tilted Kilt owned by the California Girls Guys because of … the local tax base, jobs, and economic development.

It all sounds pretty absurd really – just think of all the other less problematic businesses that could have added just as much to the local economy.  But Matt’s arguments prevailed over the cops’ public safety concerns.  Which reminds me:

But one more little anecdote, an anecdote that suggests that the cops may have had a good point, and also shows the sort of people Cunningham works for: 

Last March, only a couple months after the Tilted Kilt opened, a gentleman was put under restraining order for multiple incidents of excessive alcohol use and sexual battery on Kilt employees.  The culprit?  One of the owners of California Girls, i.e. one of the owners of the Kilt, i.e. Matt’s employer.

I’m not printing his name here (though you could look it up) partly because the case against him is still going through court, and also because I’m not interested in embarrassing him; he’s not the main villain here. He’s just another rough beast who contributes to our economy and has a hard time following the rest of our rules. I imagine that after years of behaving like the King at his California Girls, getting away with whatever he wanted, he had a hard time grasping that the dewy-eyed ingenues of the Kilt had not signed on to be his playthings.

Now, HERE’s where it gets SLEAZY:

When Cynth and I discovered that the frisky strip-club owner mentioned just above was also a land-use lawyer, we thought, “Well, why did he really need to pay thousands of dollars to Cunningham, to operate as a land-use consultant or lobbyist?  Making his case to the Orange Planning Commission was something he should have been able to do himself.”

And the answer was obvious to anyone who happens to know this:  Until recently Matt had been on the Orange Planning Commission himself, until being forced to resign.  So Matt was being hired to lobby his old friends and colleagues.  (Not to mention Cunningham presents a semblance of respectability in contrast to the horny strip club owner.)

This is the same sort of revolving door that disgusts the citizens of America, the constant spectacle of Congressmen and Senators moving on to become lobbyists and lobby their old friends and colleagues.  It’s only natural that people listen to their old friends, and that people know how to present a case to their old friends.  There’s nothing generally illegal about it, there just should be.

Oh.  Did I say Matt had been forced off the Planning Commission?  Yes, that’s true.  And why was he forced off?  For voting on matters affecting developers who were also paying him as a “consultant.”  I don’t know how he got by with only being REMOVED for that.  What a guy.

Well, enough Cunningham for now.  I’m feeling a sugar rush.  On to some more wholesome pursuit…


About Vern Nelson

Greatest pianist in Orange County, and official troubador of both Anaheim and Huntington Beach (the two ends of the Santa Ana Aquifer.) Performs regularly both solo, and with his savage-jazz quintet The Vern Nelson Problem. Reach at vernpnelson@gmail.com, or 714-235-VERN.