Men stumble over the truth from time to time, but most pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing happened. -- Winston Churchill

All truths are easy to understand once they are discovered; the point is to discover them. -- Galileo Galilei

I never give them hell. I just tell the truth and they think it's hell. -- Harry Truman

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Location: Wichita, Kansas

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Friday, February 10, 2006

Carlos Mayan's Porn Crusade – Wichita's “Don Quixote” Quest Against Smut

We've seen this sort of political demagoguery before. You may recall when there was raid after raid in an attempt to save the citizenry from the dangerous exposure of female breasts in stripper bars. This crusade reached a fevered pitch when the raids were conducted by vice cops dressed up like SWAT teams.

They would launch their assaults hoping to catch a glimpse of female skin, in concert with the city council and the city attorney, who were busily obsessing how to define the criminalization of female nipple exposure that would withstand constitutional challenge in the courts. The amount of tax dollars devoted to this effort was incredible. It reached it's ludicrous height when the boob brigade raided a bar and arrested the employees for indecent material being shown on a large screen television. The offending content was an MTV broadcast.

It was one of those “The Emperor Has No Clothes” moments in Wichita, when all but the most blinded zealot in the city could not help but see how far things had gone awry. It exposed not skin, but the ridiculousness of the entire affair.

Not one for learning from history, now we have another crusade to save consenting adults from themselves by closing down the adult bookstores. This new war on sex was started by a group calling itself Operation SouthWind, supported by our Mayor, which collected about 7,500 signatures from people who say the stores sell obscene magazines, videos and gadgets. The signatures were gathered on a petition demanding a grand jury investigation of sexually oriented shops for allegedly violating obscenity laws.

Now does that mean these dedicated citizens, horror of horrors, went to these stores, and purchased adult DVD's and forced themselves to watch these terrible tapes. Or in an even greater sacrifice for the rest of us, purchased said “gadgets” and proved to themselves what a threat sex toys are? Apparently not our Mayor, as he was quoted in the Wichita Eagle as saying he's never been inside an adult store. In fact, whenever he passes one, he says he wonders to himself, "What kind of individual frequents one of those places?" Adults who enjoy a healthy sex life, the owner of Priscilla's said in the same article.

In any event, the result was that a grand jury returned an indictment against Priscilla's and its owner, Robert Floyd, with one misdemeanor count of promoting obscenity. This alleged promotion was in the form of a single DVD. No indictments were handed down against six other adult-oriented businesses it also investigated.

"This obviously was brought about by a group of people in the community who don't trust adults to make good decisions about what to view or not to view, so they want to tell us what to view or not to view," defense attorney Steve Joseph said. "It is the same group of so-called Christians that want to dictate moral standards to everyone in the community that are forcing this issue." An additional bit of irony is that the same Mr. Joseph was the former assistant district attorney who 28 years ago organized citizens in this same community against pornography, and prosecuted cases in 1977 and 1978 in a concerted drive to put adult stores out of business. What comes around goes around it appears.

Carlos Mayans and City Council member Jim Skelton are bravely sallying forth in another front in their battle to regulate the morals of big bad Wichita. They are trying once again to use zoning laws to put these businesses out of business. Mr. Mayans admits that he knows the city will be sued as a result. He does not offer an estimate of how many more tax dollars he will use in the process, or much he has already spent.

It looks as if Mr. Mayans has taken the low road of politics of a failed Mayor who has no vision or ability to impact the many real and pressing problems of Wichita. It is only a matter of time, though, until he is exposed, no pun intended, in his own “The Emperor Has No Clothes” moment. The citizens of Wichita deserve a Mayor who gets real results on real issues. We need a Mayor who will:

Get rid of gangs and the violence and murder they commit. The city has neighborhoods where people lives are so terrorized by these gangs that they sleep in a bathtub in fear of stray bullets.

Get serious about reducing other violent crime and increasing apprehension and conviction rates.

Push for Kansas to become a leader in sentencing reform for child sexual abuse, and support Phil Kline's efforts to bring a Jessica's law for Kansas to fruition.

Provide proactive leadership rather than the bungling we have seen on the gambling casino issue. Mr. Mayans has us on a course that will insure an enormous amount of tax revenue and entertainment dollars goes to surrounding counties whose communities are aggressively pursuing development. The Kansas City area's four casinos posted combined revenue of $60.8 million in January, up 9 percent from $55.7 million a year earlier, the Missouri Gaming Commission reported. That is one month of revenue. Our schools sorely need revenue to improve our children's education, and casino taxes could be providing that.

Bring new business to the community. Mayans tries to sell his adult business crusade as his answer to attracting corporations. Right, that will get them flocking to our community. The Wichita Business Journal reported on some of the real issues:

A perceived lack of community leadership.
No downtown arena.
A belief that the river area is not being developed rapidly enough.
Concerns about the cost of air travel from Wichita.
Problems with the city's self-image.
High taxes on business.
The rising cost of utilities.
Underground water pollution in downtown.

Kansas ranks 43rd in total personal income, and the trend is negative. Little wonder when we have our leaders focused on the content of what DVD's our citizens rent. Mayan's efforts on adult bookstores has gotten Wichita in the national news. BTK and porn police as a national image are sure to be a winner for attracting jobs.

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Anonymous Anonymous said ... (5:17 PM) : 

who pay's for these "grand juries". the taxpayer right. i think that the people who file these outragious petitions should pay at the time of filing. we have to start fighting for our FIRST AMENDMANT rights. next thing you know, my son won't be able to read "catch 22" because of the nudity desciptions on another planet.

 

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