Alright, well I am terrible ashamed of my city right now. There’s dispute over who is behind it, but whoever it was, it needs to be stopped.
Before I go any further, I would like to apologize to Councilman Mike Myers, for not researching his background enough to know that he would oppose the strip club (although I never said that he would support it).
Now, here’s what happened (source for information is the News Herald article available here: http://www.thenewsherald.com/stories/031608/loc_20080316005.shtml):
An attorney for the Larry Flynt Hustler Club (to be built on the corner of John A. Papalas Drive and Outer Drive) sued the city in December, claiming that some of the cities zoning laws were unconstitutional (even though the same club lost a lawsuit in Detroit). (For my previous post on the subject, see here: http://inkslwc.wordpress.com/2007/12/24/lincoln-park-sued-by-hustler-over-ordinance/.)
Now, the city has decided to settle instead of face the club in court. The settlement promises that the city won’t enforce its adult business ordinances against the club, and in exchange, the Park Theatre (1583 Fort St.), will close down within 45 days. The owners of the theater will sell the lot to a group or business (most likely a community theater group) of the city’s choice. A deed restriction that will be placed on the property will keep any adult businesses from ever owning the property. Also, pictures of women and suggestive wording (“topless,” “nude,” “XXX,” etc…) will not be allowed on the club’s outdoor signs.
U.S. District Judge Nancy Edmunds had not approved the proposal as of the last report on Friday, so the club’s attorney would not comment on the proposal, saying, “Until a court enters an order, we don’t have an agreement. The proposed settlement is all on condition of the judge’s approval.”
Lincoln Park City Attorney Ed Zelenak said, “We could do nothing to prevent it from opening, but we were still able to bring something back to the city. The most important thing I see coming out of it is the city has enhanced its downtown area in securing the closure of the Park Theatre. It’s been a blighting influence on the downtown area, and I’m satisfied that the citizens of Lincoln Park will have gotten rid of that unsightly blemish.”
Now, I don’t trust Zelenak – I’ve heard it from people in Southgate who dealt with these same types of issues that he shouldn’t be trusted. And any lawyer who assumes that we can’t win a case that Detroit won is just not trying hard enough as a lawyer.
The Lincoln Park Ministerial Association held events on Friday opposing the the club. Reverend Daniel Russell of First Baptist Church of Lincoln Park said, “From my standpoint, that settlement is a compromise, and we would not be in agreement with it as it still allows the Hustler strip club to be opened. We are disappointed with our city for doing that. We will continue to have a grass-roots opposition to it opening.”
I absolutely agree – this is a compromise and a TERRIBLE one at that.
Lastly, Mayor Frank Vaslo issued the following statement on behalf of the city:
While it is unfortunate the state and federal governments have not given local communities the tools necessary to combat the spread of adult entertainment venues, Lincoln Park has made the best of a bad situation.
When faced with the prospect of a multimillion-dollar lawsuit that the city’s insurers and their attorneys told us we had no chance of winning and could most certainly result in a punitive millage being placed on the taxpayers’ bill, the council took the best course of action available to them.
In return for the city agreeing to the construction of a $4.2M (million) adult entertainment venue on the outskirts of the city, in an area zoned for adult entertainment, the developers would close the Park Theatre in the city’s downtown shopping district. This will allow for the theater’s redevelopment. This was a very responsible compromise that is in the best interest of the community as a whole.
My hope is, in the future, Lansing and Washington (will) look at the negative effects this type of business has on a community and allow for us to say ‘no’ to their expansion. But until then, we have to play the cards that we are dealt.
For 30 years, mayors and councils have tried to close the Park Theatre. We are finally going to do that.
No chance of winning? Then how did Detroit win? If they have a mayor who probably goes to half the strip clubs in Detroit (and this is said seriously, not as a joke – the cops in Washington, D.C. who were his body guards while he was down there said they wouldn’t follow him around anymore because he went into too many bad strip clubs, etc…), and their lawyers won a case, I’m sure our lawyers could.
But you know what the problem is? CORRUPTION. I smell it – and I think it’s Zelenak, if not others. I’m not sure who all opposes the club, but I know that Brady and Myers do, and I’ve heard rumors that Thomas Murphy does, and Michael Higgins did (back when he was on the council) as well. If we keep up a city of corruption, we’ll wind up like Taylor, who has struggled with corruption from the school board (back when my grandfather, Clyde Inks, ran and tried to end the corruption, along side of Joe Mayfield) to the current City Ordinance Officer who ignored the ordinances and harassed the Michigan Republican Party and me.
We must protest this direct violation of our city’s ordinance!
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