Monday, November 14, 2005

Plain Talk About Legislative Priorities

I received this post from Angela Spenser President of ACE. It is a good piece about legislative priority, and political intestinal fortitude. I am sending a letter to this Ohio State Senate President thanking him for his leadership. I am re-printing here what I believe has appeared in Ohio Paper's today in full because I can add nothing to it. I will update this post when I find out the Author's name:

Harris was right to call CCV bluff on strip club bill
Nov 10, 2005 - Cincinnati Post
A stripper is a person, usually a woman, who sheds her clothes in a seductive manner for money -- She accepts tips, generally $1 bills, in a garter worn about her thigh.

A lap dance is an erotic gyration, wherein a stripper straddles a customer's lap and attempts to maintain balance and sex appeal. These dances typically start at $10 a song.

A lapdog is an Ohio legislator whose fear of appearing impious cows him into ignoring this state's fundamental problems and thoughtlessly adopting the agenda of a Cincinnati outfit called Citizens for Community Values.

CCV wants to put strip clubs out of business -- incrementally, if necessary, by regulating them to death. It wants to save the strippers and their patrons from an eternity in hell. The group has threatened to spend up to $50,000 to field candidates against lawmakers who don't fall in line.

CCV already owns the Ohio House. That dog is on a tight leash. In April, it voted 90-5 in favor of a bill that would regulate everything from business operating hours to permissible stripper clothing to the exact distance that must be maintained between patron and dancer.

Those 90 lapdogs swallowed whole CCV's argument that its strip joint agenda was about reducing crime and combating urban blight. By severely crimping the state's $160 million-a-year adult entertainment business, CCV argued, legislators would actually improve Ohio's economic landscape.

That specious argument carried weight in the Senate, which also appeared poised to stomp on the industry.

Then a funny thing happened: Senate President Bill Harris got mad. He put the strip joint legislation on indefinite hold.

Harris, an Ashland Republican, has respect among his party's right wing, including the religious element. He is a deeply principled man who hosts a weekly Bible class for fellow lawmakers. Anyone who even hints Bill Harris is controlled by the adult entertainment world is either a comedian or a liar.

But when CCV began to make threats against Harris and other senators, shadowing them at events, vowing to turn loose "prayer warriors" against those who didn't support the stripper legislation, Harris called their bluff.

It's nice to know an adult -- a praying adult -- is in charge of the Senate at a time when far too many of Ohio's elected officials suffer from a stunning lack of vision and a frightening inability to prioritize or lead.

Harris has simultaneously exposed the CCV as self-righteous, moralizing bullies, and -- we hope -- shown his colleagues how ridiculous it would be to bog themselves down in a big fight over something Ohio's local authorities have proven perfectly capable of regulating themselves.

The legislature has better things to do, like looking to the future of this deeply troubled state. If its members want to study strip club fashions and customs, they can do so when they're not on the taxpayers' clock.

I really wish more leaders showed the guts Senator Harris's has shown on this bill. I hope he makes them all think a little bit more before they cast the easy votes that do not make for good legislation. That's my opinion. If you want to air yours or want to make a different comment please leave it here or send it to me via our website at
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