Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Citizens Task Force to Ban Pornography in Staunton

First there was the successful "Stop Porn" Forum last week that brought out 120 citizens to educate those in the SWAC area about an adult video store planning to open in Staunton. At that meeting folks were asked to sign up if willing to be part of a task force to help ban pornography.

Last night 50 citizens turned out for an organizational meeting of the Citizens Task Force to Ban Pornography which was headed up by former Staunton School Board member Andrea Oakes. Additional information came from Travis Smithdeal, candidate for the Augusta County Board of Supervisors, and Dr. Kurt Michael representing the Virginia Family Foundation. The meeting presented a Call to Action to those who attended.

Councilman Dickie Bell was there with a report from the Planning Commission and to offer guidance in the wording of ordinances, using those from other localities including Chesterfield and Henrico Counties.

Staunton Police Chief Jim Williams was able to answer questions about what citizens can legally do to protest or picket the business.

This issue has caused more backlash in the community than I saw for Weekday Religious Education or the Marriage Amendment, both of which were strongly backed by local citizens. The idea of an "adult" business coming into the neighborhood has stirred up folks who are willing to step to the plate and be leaders in the fight.

This is not a religious or political issue ... it is a moral issue ... and it has struck a nerve in Staunton.

Residents from Augusta County and Waynesboro also attended the meeting to learn what they could do in their localities. Waynesboro has a law on the books that some say is not restrictive enough; Augusta County has none.

Travis Smithdeal plans to take this issue to the Augusta County Board of Supervisors. When adult businesses are pushed out of Staunton they will move into the county.

NBC-29 interviewed Andrea Oakes and Travis Smithdeal and plans to have a report on today's newscast.

Citizen volunteers left the meeting with a Plan of Action to fight to ban pornography in the Valley.

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