“What in the wide, wide world of sports is a-goin’ on here?!” That’s a quote from the comically corrupt Deputy Taggart in the movie Blazing Saddles. It’s also the response that I (and several hundred of my closest friends) had last night at the end of the Clarksville Town Council meeting to discuss Theatair X.
After 45 minutes of old business, ROCK President Bryan Wickens was finally allowed to speak. While the council, the spectators, and crews from 3 local TV news stations looked on, Wickens painstakingly told the story of how ROCK had repeatedly attempted to partner with the council to ensure enforcement of a constitutionally sound ordinance they had themselves drafted in 2005. The ordinance, if enforced, would put an end to the following violations alleged to be taking place inside Theatair X:
· Prostitution by peep-show dancers
· So-called “glory holes” drilled in peep-show booth dividers to facilitate anonymous sex
· Drug use by patrons
· Multiple, anonymous sexual activity in both large-screen theaters
· Health code violations and unsanitary conditions
· Zoning violations related to the floor plan and hours of operation
Wickens was articulate and soft-spoken. Although there was no avoiding mention of the mystifying lack of cooperation and communication from the council thus far, Wickens was far from confrontational. He repeatedly thanked the council for the opportunity to start a dialogue and stated his hope that eventually ROCK and the citizens of Clarksville would be able to thank them for their leadership in reigning in Theatair X’s rampant illegal activity.
And then came the Blazing Saddles portion of the evening.
I’d like to tell you what the council members thought about Wickens’ presentation but I can’t. They didn’t speak. In fact, the only person who spoke to Wickens was the council’s lawyer, who essentially said, “Thanks for coming out. Good night. Meeting over.” To be fair, there was a LITTLE more to it – but not much. Wickens tried several times in vain to obtain some kind of assurance that the council plans on taking steps to address the problem of Theatair X. He – and we – got nothing beyond, “We are looking into it, and that’s really all we can discuss right now.”
Really? After more than 3 years of constant appeals, outreach, and intelligence gathering? After 2 years of attempting to partner directly with the council by ROCK? After being presented with over 6,000 signatures from concerned residents? After a meeting so packed with people that many had to wait in the hallway of the Town Administrative Building? After all of that, the lawyer guy is the only one who speaks, and his only comment is essentially “No comment”? Which is the same answer council members gave to a reporter after the meeting was over?
Kentuckiana residents need to know now, more than ever: Who is running Clarksville, Indiana? Why can’t residents get straight answers from their elected officials?
What in the world is going on here?