here is a intresting article. I'll post it below because of the password crap needed to access the site.
Drawing the line
Mayor wants to curb lewd wording.
BY ANDREW MACKIE
RECORD STAFF WRITER
Wednesday, April 6, 2005
HICKORY -- Rudy Wright concedes he’ll tell a dirty joke on occasion.
Wearing a lewd T-shirt or displaying an obscene bumper sticker is another matter.
The mayor of Hickory has had enough of foul words in the city and what he calls “obscenity.”
He wants an ordinance adopted that would put restrictions on obscene words on T-shirts and bumper stickers. He made the suggestion during Tuesday night’s city council meeting.
Wright said he recently observed a young man wearing a black T-shirt with a four-letter word in white lettering. It was the “the one unspeakable word,” Wright said, without elaborating.
“I’ve never seen that and I’ve been to places a lot bigger than Hickory,” he said.
While patronizing Wendy’s recently, Wright saw a bumper sticker with the same lewd reference.
“Where are we going to draw the line?” he asked. “There is no line.”
The mayor suggested to city staff attorneys that they review the strictest municipal law in the country regarding free speech.
“I’m not a prudish person, but there is a limit to this type of stuff,” Wright said after the meeting.
Council member John Watts, who clashes with the mayor periodically, seemed to empathize with him on this unseemly topic.
He recalled listening to a Christian speaker who shamed a young man wearing another inappropriate T-shirt in Myrtle Beach, S.C., years ago.
The T-shirt read - “Help stomp out virginity.”
The speaker said he told the young man to fold the T-shirt and keep it until he had a 14-year-old daughter.
Wright later said he understood Watts’ point, but thinks more can be done.
“The guy I saw wearing the T-shirt wasn’t interested in any teaching,” he said.
Council Attorney John Crone said cities struggle to legislate free speech. Municipalities across the country engage in a tug of war trying to control language and what is protected by the First Amendment.
“There is a fine line about free speech and what a governing body can do,” Crone said.
Even so, the idea is worth exploring, Wright said after the meeting.
Wright conceded he probably has spent more time in poolrooms than anyone on council and is no prude.
“I’ll tell a dirty joke in a heartbeat,” Wright said after the meeting, “but this was ridiculous” he said of his recent experiences. “I’m not going to tell it to an 8-year-old and her 80-year-old grandmother.”
The mayor also told council members he went into an adult-materials shop to do research regarding an issue residents had raised.
Wright said he saw sexual devices that he considered nearly pornographic. A sign reading “No one 18 years old and younger is allowed” was only about six feet away.
Wright wants to know why that sign can’t be put in the store’s entrance.
“I would like to stage a small protest in the city regarding what seems to be a no-limit society,” he said. “We need to draw the line somewhere.”
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