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Proposed exotic club fee should send a 'not welcome' sign

Bridgeport has a well-deserved reputation for being one of the most successful communities in the state. Benedum Airport and its affiliated industrial development, and a progressive business climate that is supported by state, county and city governments, all contribute to its standing.

However, there are certain business places that we would rather not see locate in Bridgeport -- or elsewhere, for that matter. The Bridgeport Council apparently feels the same way ... when it comes to the so-called "exotic" entertainment places that have found a market in Clarksburg and other communities.

Certainly the owners of these clubs enjoy the same rights and freedoms that exist for any lawful enterprise. We would insist that all regulations affecting these concerns be enforced evenly and fairly. Ours is a government of laws. All citizens must be treated with equanimity.

But, we hold strongly that a community has the right to determine if and when the welcome mat is to be rolled out for such ventures. In this case, Bridgeport wants to make it clear that these clubs simply do not fit the profile of what makes the city a great place to live and work.

We don't think the argument is one of legality. To borrow the words of St. Paul, "All things are lawful, but not all things are helpful." These clubs may be lawful, but that does not make them "helpful" for the city and neighbors that must tolerate their presence.

We heartily endorse the proposal to assess the fees. We suspect that they may encourage the owners of such clubs to reconsider a move to Bridgeport. That is certainly what the city council has in mind. We agree.

Harry M. Fox

Telegram Editorial Board member

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