Prostitution Now Coalition
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Report on City Hearing on Sex Oriented Business's Wednesday Oct 28
Wow was I pleasantly surprised!
The good news, the bad news and Dave Vs City of Phoenix on KFYI Radio next week.
The Good News
To what seemed to be the amazement of the City staff no one supported the cities proposals.
The proposals were exposed by the public as unneeded, groundless and nothing more than trying to force someone else's morals on others. Something the government has no business doing, and whenever they do, such laws are unconstitutional.
Most of the response was in support of the right of swing clubs to exist and that they helped the communities by reducing crime in immediate area, had virtually no police activity, are in industrial areas, and have a constitutional right to exist. As one club owner discussed, police officers come with their wives, as do judges, and many other professionals and a broad section of normal, law-abiding citizens. One club called all the Escort Services in Phoenix and made it clear no escorts were welcome at clubs. The clubs serve as a positive influence by having a private place consenting adults can go instead of in other more public places.
A number of speakers pointed out that the city in their "proof" for the need of more regulation didn't have one fact that supported their reasons for the need to close swing club.
Not one person spoke in favor of the cities' proposals to outlaw swing clubs.
Regarding strip and nude clubs there was also no support for the city. Basically the comments were that the added regulations were unneeded since the existing ordinances already take care of the concerns of the city.
The only person who vaguely indicated possible support was community activist Donna Neill who simply stated "if the proposals will help the community I am for them." That was all. She offered no facts or reasons why they would help the community but "if they would" she was in favor of them.
A group of us had a wonderful discussion with Donna Neill outside the Chamber building after the meeting. She said she has nothing against the clubs in general. Her main beef is with the Excalibur strip club, which she feels is too close to an apartment complex and she doesn't like it's big sign. Issues like hers are legitimate, but all these new rules have nothing to do with any of her concerns.
I was allowed to present my full statement. I was brave and included the last section. I was revising it up to the last minute, especially adding more of the constitutional issues regarding swing clubs. The full revised statement as presented has now been updated on both web sites. See:http://www.sexwork.com/coalition/Phoenix/publichearingpresent.html
I was quite nervous even though I speak at many swing conventions but with a friendlier target audience! I appreciated all the applause after my statement, which got the Chairmen, upset having to tell the audience not to applaud speakers. Other speakers did as well or better than I did and we all made mostly the same good points from different prospectives. It was a proud day, especially for swing clubs vs. City of Phoenix.
Whether or not it will do any good will remain to be seen. But if the proposed law passes outlawing swing clubs, there is no question the Courts will prevent enforcement on Constitutional grounds. I meet with a group of 1st Amendment Attorneys at both the Lifestyles and Reflections swing conventions each year where these legal issues are discussed with club owners. The result will be high legal fees for the clubs and more work for City attorney's who should have learned their lesson from prior Court actions. It seems the City Council simply wants to impose its sexually repressive moral view on all Citizens regardless of the constitutional issues and prior Court injunctions preventing enforcement or prior ordinances.
I talked to some of the other great speakers asking them if they were willing to be more public with the media. Unfortunately none are willing to go on TV or radio. I have am very reluctant to do this myself but did agree to the KFYI debate.
The Bad News
The bad news is there was lots of media coverage on the evening TV news, the AZ Republic coverage etc of an earlier meeting which few people knew about other than the Community leaders. The media had extensive coverage of the Community people supporting the proposed changes even though their arguments in my view made absolutely no logical sense.
Last night, when the view expressed were virtually 100% against the city, there was no media coverage that I have seen. A Beat reporter did ask me for our web site addresses. Even the City's own TV crew, which started out taping the meeting, stopped taping when it became clear no one was on the side of the City proposals.
Someone told me they thought the city staff looked like they were in shock that so many people with good logical arguments were so strongly opposing the proposals the City is trying to force on Citizens. In a City Issues TV interview, Chairman John Nelson admitted one of the purposes of the proposals was to represent the "community morals. The City of Phoenix isn't learning the lesson of all the previous failed attempts to legislate morality. The Federal Court keeps enjoining the city from carrying out enforcement of the similar past ordinances related to strip and nude clubs.
KFYI Dave vs. Goliath
On Thursday November 5th 10am-Noon Dave will be a nervous and reluctantly participate in a call in show and debate with Councilpersons Peggy Billstrom and John Nelson on the Barry Young show. Only listen to it if I come across well! I invite you to call in with supportive comments! I may need all the help I can get, especially after my experience on KTAR !
Two More Hearings
Additional City hearings will be held Monday November 2nd 6pm at South Mountain Community College and Monday November 16th at Deer Valley Community Center. However, those that spoke previously may not be allowed to speak again at the other hearings. I encourage others to speak up.
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