Gazette Supports “Regulating porn stores”


The lead editorial in today’s Daily Hampshire Gazette throws its support behind recent efforts to regulate adult businesses in Northampton:

Northampton is on the right track in using its zoning authority to discourage a proposed pornography shop from opening on King Street, but more work has to be done to ensure the city’s actions can withstand legal challenges.

The zoning amendment is being prepared in response to plan by Capital Video to place an adult video and magazine store in a former auto showroom at 135 King St., an inappropriate location, given its proximity to the downtown area, residential neighborhoods, schools and churches.

…Most studies conclude that crime increases and property values decrease in neighborhoods near adult businesses.

The First Amendment test is likely to be met if local law allows adult businesses to locate somewhere within the municipality. The new zoning plan developed for Northampton would allow adult businesses; it would essentially limit them to the area of North King Street near the Wal-Mart and Big Y shopping areas.

The proposed ordinance, though, has to address more specifically the city’s interest in protecting property values and preventing crime. The zoning law cannot be aimed at one specific business nor can it outlaw all forms of adult entertainment within the city’s boundaries…

This zoning ordinance can be applied to Capital Video because permits have not yet been granted. However, because Capital Video has filed a site plan for the proposed store; the city cannot delay consideration of the site plan indefinitely.

Northampton therefore must act quickly to put a new zoning ordinance in place…

A well-considered zoning ordinance capable of withstanding legal challenge will ensure that Northampton preserves both its safe and pleasant neighborhoods and its commercial vitality.

10 thoughts on “Gazette Supports “Regulating porn stores”

  1. Dear Mr. Cohen:

    Please make your nexy post a list of sexual behaviors you disapprove of, as well as a list of exploitative art (say, misogynist hip-hop with overly sexualized women on the cover art) so that we, the Northampton community may better understand the various and sundry ways in which we all (gay, straight, male and female) are oppressing women. Inquiring minds want to know.

  2. I read the article in the globe and had to chuckle. The effort you are making to squash this store could be much better spent on something that mattered. get a grip girls.

  3. It is ridiculous that a group of people so uptight about sexuality that they are afraid that their children may ask questions! How absolutely un-enlightened are you when you impose your morals on others. If you don’t like pornography, don’t patronize the store. If nobody goes there, it will go under

  4. Once again, porn advocates try to deflect attention by denying this is an important issue. We disagree…

    FAQ: It’s just a porn shop. Why are you so excited? Shouldn’t you devote your attention to more important issues such as homelessness, AIDS and war?

    A: We feel that women are important. We feel the health and safety of porn workers are important. We are concerned about the phenomenon of porn addiction, where the victim seeks more and more porn, even to the point of loss of family and problems with the law in some cases. We also feel that in an age when close to half of American marriages end in divorce, with ugly consequences for children, that the infidelity promoted in Capital Video films merits concern.

    As for our wars, securing the rights of women in Afghanistan and Iraq appears to be a point of pride for George Bush. He specifically criticizes the Taliban for “public whippings of women”. Does this really sound so different from the Bondage, Domination and Gangbang categories at the Capital Video-affiliated site, AmazingAdult.com? Ironic that we might effectively lose at home what we fight for abroad.

  5. Porn advocates must be running out of arguments. We’re seeing the same weak objections being recycled again and again. Let’s quote from our FAQ:

    FAQ: Being anti-porn really means you are anti-sex, does it not?

    A: We are not against sex. We are against mindless sex, abusive sex, sex without regard for issues like love, fidelity, commitment, pregnancy, disease and children.

    FAQ: With respect to your zoning proposals, shouldn’t we let the marketplace decide? After all, if you don’t like adult businesses, you don’t have to shop there.

    A: Zoning doesn’t seek to ban adult uses, but to relocate them away from vulnerable populations and reduce the secondary effects that impinge on their neighbors, whether or not they shop there. Zoning restricts where you can locate many kinds of businesses, such as bars, restaurants and manufacturing plants, because of factors like noise, traffic and pollution.

    We further observe that Northampton lies on an interstate highway (I-91), such that even if no local residents patronize adult businesses, out-of-town traffic might be enough to sustain them.

  6. Would recycling arguments about women needing “looking out for” from the last 6000 years be any better? What about tired old arguments about acceptable forms of sexuality which are little more than psychiatric junk science over Christian neurosis. Does the problem go back to Drs. Kinsey and Reich, Mr. Cohen? The Sexual Revolution of the 1960s? Inquiring minds- those see through your thin, well-polished rhetoric- still want to know.

    Just as a pointer, I don’t know how well condescencion as rhetorical device plays in New York or at Harvard, but us Yanks are notorious for balking at it.

  7. I think arguments in favor of having empathy for women are timeless, whereas arguments about how wonderful everything would be if we indulge in mindless sex are getting old.

    If people who make comments are polite to us, we’ll be more inclined to respond politely ourselves. We don’t mean to be condescending to people, but if an argument is bad we’ll say so.

    I admit we get a bit testy after hearing the same heartless assertions made again and again, with little sign that the person involved has considered our evidence.

    If you’re going to play the “elitist” card,  we say that porn advocates appear to be indifferent to the suffering of ordinary people, whether it’s porn workers with STDs, spouses of porn addicts, or cities whose downtowns can’t grow due to the presence of an adult business. Despite mounting evidence of the social harms of porn, the porn advocates assert they simply know better what’s good for America, and that the people can’t be trusted to impose the slightest regulation on adult businesses or soon we’ll all be burning books. That’s elitism.

    We can also look at this from a power perspective. Who has access to millions of dollars, expensive lawyers, Ivy League MBAs and luxury homes? The porn merchants. On the other side, vulnerable young porn workers, small towns with limited resources, parents busy raising children. Who are the elite in this situation?

  8. What would be a sign that your evidence has been considered? Moving over to your position? Have you considered that some in the community (possibly the over 75% who do not- *gasp*- hold advanced degrees or have not had the pleasure of attending Ivy League institutions) find your arguments bombastic, ideologically-motivated and propagandistic? I have had several members of the business community approach me unsolicited to tell me that they were on the fence about this until they actually read your propaganda. Guess what? They didn’t come over to your side. Perhaps this community really does need your sage enlightenment!

    You certainly like building straw man arguments. Who is advocating “mindless sex”? What does the term even mean, Mr. Cohen? What does “degrading” mean? We are still waiting for a specific definition of which sexual behaviors are “OK” and which are not. Your terminology used against the evils of porn is extremely vague. The discussion here is not about Capital Video vs. NoPornNorthampton. Rather it is about defeating an ideologically-driven, sex-negative agenda in our city by exposing it for what it is. You are attempting to turn our community into a battle ground in the culture wars. See if New Englanders don’t resent that more than smut.

    Remember Satanic panic? Those people had lots of “facts” at their disposal too that later turned out to be ideologically-driven cooked books. A first year psych student, armed with a knowledge of “lies, damned lies and statistics” could drive a truck through the holes in your “research.” You seem to have little to fight them other than the haughty language of intellectual elitism. Not only are women too stupid to know what’s best for them, so are the unwashed masses.

    Please, Mr. Cohen- keep digging your own grave. The degree to which you stand outside the mainstream on this issue becomes more and more apparent the more lurid, issue-distracting, moralizing nonsense you post.

  9. Yes, both Jendi Reiter and Adam Cohen graduated from Harvard College. Jendi also has a law degree from Columbia. Since when did going to a good school detract from someone’s credibility?

    If, on seeing what Capital Video sells, you can’t conclude they sell mindless sex, abusive sex, and sex without regard for issues like love, fidelity, commitment, pregnancy and disease, I’d say you’re being unreasonable.

    Our “ideology” is based on reason, facts and compassion. We draw what we feel to be the best from all sides of the political spectrum. For example, we respect marriage, and support gay marriage.

    You disparage our research, but don’t actually engage with it on any specifics. You give no facts of your own to support your rhetoric.

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