mayor peterson held a press conference yesterday to announce his crusade against sex. so while i was hesitant to mention or criticize bart yesterday, today things are different. much like his failed efforts to censor violent video games a few years ago, bart has launched a new effort to promote prudishness in indiana. because indiana has no sodomy laws (that i know of, anyway), the city is using any piddling excuse it can to go after sex-related businesses. if someone's behavior bothers you, yet it's legally protected by the first amendment, what do you do? find any excuse you can to prosecute. in this case, it's about zoning violations.
the indy star has two short articles that are virtually identical and aren't particularly interesting either. as they are less interesting and less informative than stories from other outlets, i will not waste any more time discussing them. but there they are.
the wishtv story is a bit better.
It's unusual to see the target of a city crackdown show up at the news conference about her.
But that's what happened.
Melissa Donaghy used to run a business called the Reformatory in a building on North East Street. The owner of the building was granted a variance to maintain a gallery and art studios there.
But zoning inspectors found items inside that didn't exactly fit their definition of art. They say it was a sex shop that sold chains and whips.
yesterday's story didn't mention anything about the reformatory, which is a little peculiar. but all the stories today do, and they all mention that the reformatory was "across the street" from a day care center. as if the little kids are going to sneak out of day care and go buy some bondage gear or something.
miss ann disputes that the reformatory was a sex shop, insisting it was an art gallery.
After the news conference, 24-Hour News 8 talked with Donaghy about how she viewed her shop. "I had $20,000 worth of art, fine art, in that shop," she said. "I sold less than 24 percent of my inventory were floggers and props that could be used for role playing."
and indeed, rock shows, art shows, and more took place at that location before it closed (she also insists that she closed the shop herself because it wasn't making enough money, and that the city did not shut her down as bart claims).
and of course, wrtv (who were the ones who truly stirred up controversy by breaking the story in 2003—the people in the neighborhood had no idea until wrtv came along) has its own follow-up, with video.
"We're going to have to constantly fight this battle. If you want to try to keep people from opening these kinds of businesses and operating them illegally, you have to continue to fight all the time," Peterson said. "Our administration has been committed and will continue to be committed to fighting against these kinds of businesses when they are operating illegally."
but bart, two years ago the police said her business was legal. why is it suddenly illegal now? isn't this just an opportunistic attempt to look like a strong leader who is "hard on perverts"?
Donaghy showed up at the press conference and attempted to ask questions along with reporters. Peterson refused to answer her.
"Hey, this is a press conference for the media. I'm sure they'll be happy to talk to you," Peterson told Donaghy.
what a jackass. bart, his reputation only a glimmer of what it used to be, makes a lot of hoopla about running the pervs out of town, but when miss ann interrupts his dog-and-pony show, he refuses to answer her questions.
shame on bart peterson, and shame on wrtv for making a mountain out of a molehill int he first place.¶