Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Amazon A Go-Go ... All A Gone-Gone

The Amazon Strip Club liquor license "show cause" hearing ended in a victory for the Laurel community tonight.

Update: Also see Joe Murchison's detailed report of the hearing at the Laurel Leader website.

The Amazon's owners proffered a settlement where they agreed to never, ever, open up again at that address. This was an admission of guilt on their part. The owners then asked for 90 days to try to sell their license.

The board agreed to the deal and fined the Amazon's owners $5000 dollars for their violations. This ends the Strip Club saga at that location. Unfortunately, this does not solve the strip club problem throughout the county.

Until we can get the courts to see that taking your clothes off and writhing around a pole is not what the framers of the constitution meant as speech, we need to be more vigilant.

There is just no excuse for the slipshod way the liquor board works today. There should be a website where anyone can get specific and timely notification of any and all liquor license transactions anywhere in the state. The State and the County Council must pass liquor license sunshine laws.

There were about 65 other concerned citizens at the hearing. You should know that Laurel was well represented. Oldtown's own Susie Marucci made the trip. County Council Member Tom Dernoga was in there swinging hard. City Council Members Leszcz, Robison, Sarich, and Snyder made the trek and were part of the negotiations. LPD's finest, Chief Crawford, Deputy Chief McLaughlin, and Lt. Pollock made time for the hearing. As did Kim Rau, the best City Council Clerk in the State of Maryland. My personal heroes in this whole affair were Bob Manzi and Ben Barnes, lawyers working for the community.

If we stick together and use technology to stay vigilant, we can shine a little sunshine into their smoke filled back rooms. Both the strip club's rooms and the county commission hearing rooms.

- rick

p.s., I want to welcome Mike Sarich to the community blogsphere. It takes a lot of guts for an elected official to write a blog. My hat is off to him.

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