They didn't have to but they voted on the issue anyway. Last week the members of Community Board 12 sent a message to the sleazoids who would seek to open strip clubs and other X-rated entertainment in southeast Queens. The board is supporting the efforts of City Hall to close loopholes that have allowed some porn palaces to stay in businesses.
The 1994 regulations issued by the city ban any adult establishment in which more than 60 percent of the space is used for X-rated entertainment. The clubs got around this by counting basement, closet and bathroom space. Bookstores would stock just enough non-pornographic books and videos to skirt the law. Citing the percentage technicality, they flouted the law and there was little the city could do. Until now.
The clubs and their high-priced attorneys are ready to fight the new restrictions tooth and nail. They believe that they have a constitutional right to pay women to dance naked, simulate sex and perform lap dances. The city argues that, while adults may have the right to pay for such entertainment, these clubs have a negative impact on the community and the community has the right to say, Not here. Not in our neighborhoods.
Although we normally come down on the side of free enterprise and civil liberties, we will shed no tears when the last stripper leaves Queens. The strip clubs degrade women and they degrade the slobbering men who patronize them. If these men have to travel someday to Nassau County or New Jersey for the thrill of sticking a $20 bill in some woman's G-string, that's fine with us.
But there are more than moral concerns and the dignity of women at stake here. The sex business has been closely connected with organized crime. Recent trials are proof enough of that. If nothing else, closing the doors to the sex industry will take money out of the pockets of the people who run organized crime. That alone makes it worth the effort.
©2001 Community News Group
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