Setting Standards

Readers write

August 04, 1991

From: Edward Middlebrooks


2nd District

I recently introduced legislation to put a moratorium on any further class Y licenses being issued until we can develop more comprehensive regulations and standards for adult bookstores and peep show operations.

My concern is in maintaining the integrity of communities that have made improvements over the years.

I consider Glen Burnie my home town. I attended its schools, participated in youth sports and civic activities, and now house my business in Glen Burnie.

My family history in this area is not unlike thousands of other citizens who have strong roots in Glen Burnie.

The downtown Glen Burnie of my childhood, however, did have a very visible blemish.

In the 1960s and 1970s, X-rated movie theaters, adult bookstores, peep shows and massage parlors lined the intersection of Crain Highway and Baltimore-Annapolis Boulevard.

Fires and a bombing occurred at times; loitering, vandalism and nuisance crimes were frequent.

The overwhelming consensus of the community back then was clear:Glen Burnie must change, for the better.

And it has. The transformation of the downtown area, now known as Glen Burnie Town Center, has been nothing short of dramatic.

In the same intersection where a"mini-Block" once existed, we now house local government departmentsat the Arundel Center North.

Where there was no family entertainment, we now have Halloween parades for youngsters, FunFest and ethnicfestivals, and summer concerts.

There exists a variety of businesses, restaurants and an apartment complex for senior citizens.

Thefuture continues to hold promise for further improvements. In this year's budget session, funding was appropriated for beautification of downtown Glen Burnie, as well as for a study into a possible arts center, where citizens could perform and display their talents.

In view of this growth and improvement of what once was, the citizen response in 1991 is clear: We will not go back.

The ideals of neighborhoods and communities have always been the backbone of Glen Burnie, intimes of unity and crisis. Both civic leaders and business people share a common vision of what Glen Burnie has and will become.

In Odenton, where a Paradise I bookstore and peep show is planned, goals are the same.

Community and business leaders are working diligentlyto bring the planned Odenton Town Center to fruition and to vitalizeand improve its existing downtown area, once referred to with such derogatory terms as "The Strip" and "Boomtown."

The First Amendmentof the U.S. Constitution affords freedom of speech, expression and assembly to all citizens, including factions and media many may find offensive or inappropriate.

The same constitutional rights that allow the citizens of Glen Burnie to vocally oppose peep shows and adultbookstores in their neighborhood apply to proprietors of such establishments and those who choose to enjoy adult entertainment.

Ours is not a mission of censorship but a mission of establishing standards.

We do not work to ban entrepreneurship and private business but to set reasonable parameters for where such businesses operate.

Ifliquor stores, bars and even video arcades must adhere to county regulations regarding distance from schools, churches and residences, certainly similar regulations should apply to peep shows and adult bookstores.

Through proper governmental and legal channels, we will work toward the goal of implementing such regulations.

I urge concerned citizens from Glen Burnie and Anne Arundel County to attend the public hearing on this legislation on Aug. 5 in Annapolis at the County Council Chambers at 7:30 p.m.

I also encourage continued citizeninput and communication, as the legislative process continues. It isfirst and foremost the citizens of Anne Arundel County who effect change and live with change.

I appreciate and welcome your opinions,questions and concerns.


From: Doris Manzo


I have been teaching in the Odenton area for 20 years and I am very angry thinking about another adult bookstore opening up on the "Strip."

I do not like the idea of the children I teach and their families having to deal with and encounter the type of people that go to an establishment of this sort.

First of all, there is a similar business just down the street. Why do we have to put up with two of them?

Next, values are so fragile in today's world, so why mustwe expose our children to this trash?

I can think of so many other uses for the empty structure than an adult bookstore with its peep shows.

Do we want our "Boomtown Strip" to become the "Odenton Block?" Members of the County Council, please listen to what Councilmen Boschert and Middlebrooks have to say regarding Bill 68-91 and pass itas they request.

The youth of Odenton and Glen Burnie do not needto be exposed to these degrading business ventures or the customers they will attract.


From: Ajay Gandhi


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