Editorial: No nudes is good nudes

At the risk of being labeled puritanical in a libertine time, let us say that Oak Harbor city leaders are doing the right thing in trying to head off anyone from starting a nude dancing establishment here.

This activity has openly been part of our larger society since the late ‘60s and ‘70s, but has been greatly restricted in most areas since those wild and woolly times. Many met their demise when the state banned liquor sales at nude dancing clubs, while others fell to rules banning them from within a certain distance of schools and churches.

Today, nude dancing is only allowed in a few places. Seattle restricted itself to a minimal number for many years before loosening up the reins a bit. Drivers along Highway 99 will pass one in the Lynnwood area, but they are very sparsely scattered. That’s how we should keep it.

Oak Harbor, with its small population of mostly conservative voters, is not the kind of place where nude dancing should be allowed. Anywhere in town is too close to a church or school, and the police don’t need another headache when it comes to enforcement. If restrictions are placed on what dancers can or cannot wear, the police often embarrass themselves by hanging out in nude joints waiting for someone to break the law. But as with any adult-themed activity, it attracts many ne’er-do-wells and outright criminals, from aspiring gang members to drug peddlers.

Those in the know say nude dancing can’t be entirely outlawed due to modern interpretations of what the Constitution says about free expression, but it can be restricted. The city is on the right path in working on an ordinance to do just that. Any such club should have to be far away from a church, school or where children commonly gather, signs advertising such activity should be severely restricted and other limitations imposed to dissuade anyone from opening a nude dancing club in Oak Harbor.

Arguably, nude dancing has its place for those who enjoy it. It’s just that that place is not in Oak Harbor.

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