Letter at Length January 5

Ashland: an x-rated embarrassment

You won't see a "nudity prohibited" sign in Ashland. In a situation which flies in the face of all common sense, the City Council has continued its city ordinances which allow nudity, barring only the display of genitals in downtown areas or city parks. The debate arose over individuals (male) who have come to Ashland and elected to walk around as nature made them in close proximity to elementary schools. Jackson County citizens should be concerned. Jackson County does not want to become known as a safe harbor for exhibitionists nationwide.

This sort of conduct should not only not be permitted, but should be the commission of a crime (public nudity, indecent exposure — of something of that ilk). Instead, the brain trust of liberal elites on the City Council who opposed expansion of the no-nudity zone to within 1,000 feet of schools tell us it is a trivial issue, not worthy of their time.

The councilmember supporting the ban, a Medford police officer, correctly points out that the risk to children who have been abused of having that brought to their minds again by naked men in the supposed "safe zone" of their schools is real. More real is a concern about the intent of such exhibitionists who can't limit themselves to private locations, but have to parade around in front of small children. What else do they have in mind?

Self-described community organizer (a credential familiar these days à la Barack Obama) Eric Navickas, a city councilman, comments on the nudity issue in support of a woman wanting to walk naked in a family-oriented parade, saying if she can't be in the parade, it would be "an interesting commentary on our society that we're willing to tolerate dead bodies through our aggressive foreign policy from the war, but not healthy, naked bodies." This socially conscious city official can't consider any potential harm to children, any impropriety in nudity at a family event. He instead has to make this a platform to propound his liberal political views. Now, Navickas has planned an exhibit, "The Nude," at his downtown gallery in response to the issue being reconsidered.

Now, Ashland has become a national laughingstock over this issue. Recent coverage on Fox News airs the absurdity of this even being an issue that takes more than a moment's thought. Ashland is apparently planning to revisit the issue again, and now the City Council is proposing a compromise: Limit nudity, but decriminalize it by making it a "parking ticket" type of violation.

As cartoon character Charlie Brown says, "Good grief." Do these people have a grip on reality? Ban public nudity, make it a crime to violate the ban, protect children and families, and make Ashland a family-friendly place, not the "x-rated" embarrassment of Jackson County.

Raymond Smith

Central Point

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