Porn merchants need economic development, too

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A dozing U.S. District Court in Indianapolis hosted yesterday’s “dueling mouthpiece” New Albanian porno/zoning extravaganza. The topic was New Albany DVD, the seemingly ill-fated adult bookstore that hasn’t been able to open its doors owing to the city’s nimble legal footwork in delaying the store’s required site inspection until after a prohibitory ordinance was passed.

The judge may yet rule against the city, but although it is difficult to work up much in the way of feeling for the business and its owners, the local media has failed to ask important questions.

First, conceding that crime statistics are indeed admissible with respect to zoning decision-making and the ordinances that spring from such thinking, is it at all relevant that there’s a church right across the street? As a strict church-state separationist, I must answer the question with a tittering “no.” As my friend Boris (a resident of the Netherlands) has pointed out, where he lives you’ll always find the red light district right next to the city’s oldest church. That way, they can keep close tabs on one another. Sounds reasonable to me. If this were true in N.A., I’m guessing the store would have to be located more centrally on Main Street, opposite the Civil War-era Baptist church.

Second, given that the residents of New Albany’s west end are statistically not as well off as those in other areas (for instance, areas like Silver Hills that tower above and behind them – coincidentally, the home of Mayor Garner), shouldn’t the city’s attempt to squelch New Albany DVD be viewed as discriminatory on economic grounds? After all, wealthier New Albanians can get all the porn they need from the Internet, while those in lower income levels need a bricks-and-mortar venue. Furthermore, this is income lost to places like the venerable Theater-X superstore in Clarksville

Third, if our current city government were really serious about supporting local businesses, existing video stores that carry adult selections would have had access to capital to improve their selections of adult DVDs, especially for upgrading from the archaic VHS modes. In such a manner, there would be no demand for New Albany DVD’s product, and by extension, no need for an ordinance that still might be found to possess serious First Amendment deficiencies, the city attorney’s claim to the contrary.

You know what they say: Rent a smutty DVD, and the terrorists win.

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