Friday, August 1, 2008

How best can we waste $1,000,000?

What would you do if you had one million dollars to spend? Would you pay off your debts, buy a new home, take a relaxing vacation, or perhaps bankroll a monumental, coke-fueled orgy? While those all sound like things your average person would do, the people of Lavonia, GA (ah, my home state) had a different idea: they bought the town's sole strip club as a way to close the establishment.

This offends me for several reasons. First, I like strip clubs. (Sorry, Mom & Dad.) I simply don't see anything wrong with going to a bar, having a drink, and watching (hopefully) attractive women show off what nature and genetics, and possibly a skilled surgeon, provided them. It can be quite relaxing to go, sit, and have a cute female who's already half-naked pretend to like you for a little while. I fail to see the harm in all of this, so it astounds me that others consider it so amazingly offensive that they'd spend one MILLION dollars (pinky to lip) of what were presumably taxpayer funds to buy one of these places and shut its doors.

Second, the town attempted to close Club Risque before, but were denied by local judges who agreed "that nude dancing was a constitutionally protected form of expression." They asked the interpreters of the law, and those people said, "No, there's nothing wrong with this." The city asked several times, and each time the answer was the same: that it's okay for a bar to hire women who want to shake their aptly-named moneymakers for cash.

The final straw is that the money obviously had better uses. Lavonia has roads that need maintenance, does it not? I bet there's a school system in the area that could put $1,000,000 to pretty good use. Or, as the linked article mentions, the town has a bond fund for a water treatment plant upgrade, and that money would've paid the fund nicely. The mayor and the city council decided that no, closing the doors of the one strip joint in the area was far more important, and this was their chance! I can see the pulpit-pounding argument now:
Yes, this money could be used to pay for our town's continued clean water. The people of this town, however, know what's REALLY important: keeping our minds clean! And the only way we can do that is to clean our community of Cafe Risque!!
A friend commented that perhaps with cleaner water, the residents of Lavonia would think a bit better. I'm not sure if their treatment plant was already upgraded; if not, it seems like we can only speculate.

I think the saddest part of the whole story is that this deal took place after the original owner died. He fought to keep the establishment open until his death in 2006, and I assume its new owners eventually tired of the city council's enmity. The city certainly expressed that enmity openly, just as they openly showed their glee at Cafe Risque's closure. City crews removed Cafe Risque advertisements "and burned them in a large bonfire at the strip club site, near a major highway." You can draw your own parallels.

The question I still ask is this: What's so wrong with naked women? Why would a city government work so hard and spend so much public money to close what amounts to a bar whose majority of workers are women happy enough with their bodies to show them?

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