Apparently the Internet is about to be rivaled by Pasco County as the premier place to find pornography and sex. OK, perhaps that is a bit of an exaggeration, but not by much.
That’s because the Pasco County Commission is actually considering a proposal that could increase the number of strip clubs and sex shops in the county from 22 to as many as 80.
If there’s anything Pasco County doesn’t need, it’s more of these types of establishments. On one particularly unsightly five-mile stretch of U.S. 19 in northern Pasco, one can find no less than 12 of these scum shops. Their glowing neon signs, advertising such tacky names as “Lollipops,” “The Gentleman’s Club” and “Pasco Pussycat” are about as unpleasant as seeing the prefix “UMT” for University Mall Theater on your schedule of classes.
The new proposal would make an additional 16 sites available in this five-mile stretch alone. And eastern Pasco won’t get away that easily; a handful of sites are proposed out there.
Of course, the political morons on the commission try to justify their proposal by putting the scum shops only in commercial zones, at least 1,000 feet from schools, churches and day care centers and at least 750 feet from residential areas.
But would you feel comfortable taking a child to a school or day care a little more than a stone’s throw away from huge signs that boldly advertise “Nude Girls”? Of course, you wouldn’t, and neither would the hundreds of people who have called or written the commission, calling the proposed new establishments a sure “nuisance” and “eyesore.”
Not surprisingly, the commission is less than keen on its original proposal. Commissioner Pat Mulieri calls the original idea “unacceptable.” Is this because she’s up for re-election and has to remove herself as far as possible from the original proposal, which is now publicly unpopular? Probably.
The commission also had the ingenious idea of moving the new scum shops into industrial zones, thus keeping them out of sight and hopefully out of mind (or at least the minds of voters). The only problem with this proposal is that it was tried once already and failed. When the county commission tried to move such establishments into industrial zones, a judge in Tampa threw the ordinance out.
Why? Because you can’t serve alcohol in industrial zones, and that, combined with an ordinance restricting lap dances, would have put the strip joints out of business.
One commissioner describes her situation as “back in a kettle of fried fish with burning oil.” I don’t know what that means, but I think she’s trying to say she feels pressured into finding the correct course of action that won’t be refuted by either public opinion or judicial review.
Here’s a novel idea: Don’t pass the proposal. Kids in schools shouldn’t have to see perverts walking into these scum shops to buy the latest volume of Beauties and the Beasts. Nor should people coming in or out of church or leaving their homes be subjected to glowing signs advertising sex.
Really, aren’t 22 of these immoral black holes enough? Can you imagine a Todd’s on every street corner? I think it’s in the best interest of the Pasco County Commission to think long and hard before they turn their county into the Tampa Bay area’s Red Light District.
Joe Roma is a junior majoring in political firstname.lastname@example.org