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X-Mart set to reopen after 8-year fight

6-4 vote settles 8-year fight against business

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An eight-year fight to keep an adult video and novelty store out of Augusta has ended.

Topic: Augusta Commission
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On Tuesday, Augusta commissioners voted 6-4 to settle two Augusta Video X-Mart lawsuits pending in federal court for $550,000.

Under the terms of the settlement, X-Mart will be issued an adult entertainment permit and business license, allowing it to reopen its doors at 1367 Gordon Highway.

The Florida company's local counsel, William Sussman, said X-Mart likely would reopen in a few weeks.

Commissioners Jimmy Smith, J.R. Hatney, Don Grantham and Jerry Brigham voted against the settlement. Brigham estimated that the X-Mart suits had cost the city about $150,000 in legal bills.

"While it was expensive, it probably was productive," Brigham said. "We had the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals say our business license ordinance is constitutional, as far as regulating the adult entertainment industry."

In 2002, commissioners tried to prevent X-Mart from opening by passing an ordinance that prohibited business licenses from being issued to adult businesses along gateway corridors.

X-Mart sued over the ordinance's passage, which was done without required public hearings, and was later awarded damages of $131,000 for lost income and profit from April 2002 to July 2002, when the city passed a new business license ordinance.

Mayor Pro Tem Alvin Mason said although he wouldn't shop at X-Mart, actions by a previous board to deny X-Mart a business license were wrong.

"You're kind of damned if you do and damned if you don't," he said of the settlement. "It cost all of us, but those decisions were made seven or eight years ago."

In other action

A final push by Commissioner Don Grantham to give greater preference to local vendors failed Tuesday, with the commission voting 7-2 to accept a recommendation made by Augusta's Procurement Department.

Grantham had suggested that, in jobs valued at less than $10,000, local vendors who bid within 5 percent of the low bid get the contract at whatever price they bid. He made a similar proposal, which also failed, last week in a committee meeting. Commissioner Jerry Brigham said the proposal could result in the city paying a local vendor more than the low bidder.

The commission approved 8-2 a recommenda-tion by Procurement Director Geri Sams that allows local bidders to win the job if they're within 5 percent as long as they agree to match the low bidder's price. Grantham and Jimmy Smith voted against it.

The commission also approved 9-1, with Brigham voting no, funding for Augusta Neighborhood Enhancement's Barton Village Community Center. The funds, $30,500, run out at the end of the year and are much less than the community center has received for the former federal Weed and Seed endeavor.

Neighborhood Enhancement Director Bettye Jones said the center hated to be cut but was prepared to recruit additional volunteers.

Augusta Technical College already has agreed to pay the salary of a GED instructor at the center, according to Adult Education Executive Director Stefanie Bowie.

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KatieLou
0
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KatieLou 05/18/10 - 10:52 pm
0
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You're right, Humble (9:07),

You're right, Humble (9:07), these criminals were around before porn was legalized. Some may have been inspired by illegally obtained porn and some may simply have had fertile enough imaginations without the extra help. But think about the explosion of sex crimes that has hit our society since about mid-20th century, and then consider what might have be the main contributing factors. Porn isn't the only reason, but it certainly is one of the important ones.

I don't disagree that all those other blights are terrible, but I don't know that they are a worse threat. I just don't have reliable, objective information on that comparison. And I also can't disagree that this has been a very, very expensive fight, which to many may seem completely futile.

Some things are worth fighting for, decency, safety, peace among them. People who are perfectly willing to settle for the basest, most unadmirable, unevolved level of behavior instead of demanding that we live as civilized, mature men and women are not the people who should be making decisions about what is good for society and what is destructive.

Pornography is destructive. It degrades a person to watch it and is even more degrading to those who participate in its creation and distribution. It is the vile exploitation of one of mankind's most beautiful acts, the opportunity for intimacy, creation and pleasure. And people get addicted to it, so much so that, for many, sex and the deep love and trust that is supposed to lead to sex are never connected at all. With porn, other people are nothing more than objects to be used for sexual pleasure.

If you don't get that, just think for a moment what that says about you.

Riverman1
83540
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Riverman1 05/18/10 - 10:53 pm
0
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"At least the registered sex

"At least the registered sex offenders at the close motels can walk to get their jollies off."

Why are the sex offenders congregated in that area?

AugustaVoter
2
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AugustaVoter 05/18/10 - 11:06 pm
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Because the laws won't let

Because the laws won't let them live in actual houses. Too close to "places where children congregate". Churches, playgrounds, bus stops, etc. So they all moved to the motels at Doug Barnard and Gordon Hwy.

Pay What U Owe
5
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Pay What U Owe 05/18/10 - 11:34 pm
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Joe Bowles, you have shown

Joe Bowles, you have shown impressive integrity at every thing I have seen you do. Run for Mayor.

KatieLou
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KatieLou 05/19/10 - 12:04 am
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And for those of you who just

And for those of you who just don't get irony or subtle comparisons, let me explain how porn relates to pedophilia from my comment a few hours ago.

Porn was illegal not so very long ago. Nobody in their right mind would admit to having porn, even if they could acquire it, and the people who created it were jailed if caught.

But America changed, arbitrarily and inexplicably, and we decided that viewing seductive, even lascivious sexual behavior in public was no longer such a bad thing. Playboy became acceptable--for its good articles of course, and then Penthouse and on and on. Now porn is legal, but most people still wouldn't advertise they indulge. Yet its easy availability led thousands, perhaps millions, to explore acts and bizarre things they never would have pursued or even possibly known about otherwise. Now we are bombarded with images and information on sex everywhere we turn, in ways that would have resulted in lynch mobs not all that long ago.

If it was so easy to change our minds, and therefore our laws, about publicly available portrayals of explicit acts of sex, including all kinds of depravity, then what's to keep us from changing our minds on the rightness and wrongness of children being used for sexual pleasure? We sure found it easy enough to decide they aren't even legally human beings before they're born and draw breath, and therefore can be sucked out of the womb if their mommies don't want them.

We all know that at least some percentage of the women in these porn pictures and videos are not there by choice but have been kidnapped or "imported" to be sex slaves in the porn industry.

Do you feel perfectly comfortable knowing that you are helping to have those women raped? That your money is paying for teenage girls to be kidnapped or enticed and then degraded that way?

And do you honestly think the legalization of porn hasn't made more "fringe" pornographers use younger and younger "stars"?

And you think I'm twisted. How about using your brain and thinking about this critically and logically, as if it were your daughter or your son on those videos.

freeradical
1075
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freeradical 05/18/10 - 11:45 pm
0
0
"Adult Video" Yes, a moniker

"Adult Video" Yes, a moniker coined for the consumption and use

of only the most gullible puddin heads among us.

As one of the most popular "ADULT VIDEO" film stars of all time,15 year

old Traci Lords ,gave living testament too, what is being

marketed here is nothing more than child porn packaged in plausible

deniability to scumbag child porn minded cretins who need

some form of excusatory catch phrase ,( ie "ADULT VIDEO") to cling to

to make themselves somehow feel not so much like a vile cretin

concerning their penchant for watching the abuse of underage illegal

babyfat flesh.

Any cretin accepting "Adult Video" at face value deserves

to have their children make a name for themselves in the "Adult Video"

industry just like 15 year old Traci Lords.

marvincates
0
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marvincates 05/18/10 - 11:50 pm
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I will never visit X BOX but

I will never visit X BOX but I do love their contribution to the tax base. Perhaps we could get X BOX to support our schools so we can get a tax break.

scoopdedoop64
2366
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scoopdedoop64 05/18/10 - 11:51 pm
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It is terrible to see this

It is terrible to see this piece of trash opened up in our area. I understand why they have to let it but I pray that it will not have enough business to stay open. I would love to have the ability to physcially shut them down but this is a battle that the Lord has to fight and I am sure that He is more than able to take care of this without my help.

CATFISHSTEW
14
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CATFISHSTEW 05/18/10 - 11:53 pm
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That 550,000 could have been

That 550,000 could have been used to pay for the turf at the new river front stadium that the dekester wants to build..."Take me out to the ballgame" Another waste of tax payers money. lets do some more wastful spending, its only money yours and mine GOOD NITE ALL.

Trey Enfantay
9
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Trey Enfantay 05/19/10 - 12:10 am
0
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X-Mart is the nicest business

X-Mart is the nicest business on that strip of road. Y'all get over yourselves. Think of the positive environmental impact of not having to drive the 10 mins to Mae's.

Emerydan
10
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Emerydan 05/19/10 - 12:49 am
0
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The thing abt x-mart is that

The thing abt x-mart is that it wasn't in anyone's neighborhood.. it was'nt near schools, churches, or even many homes for that matter. It was pretty much out in the middle of nowhere and unless you wanted to go there for some reason you probably would never know it existed. And for this, the city has wasted hundreds of thousands of tax dollars. But when it comes to blighted eyesores, crackhouses, flophouses, and nuisance properties right in our historic neighborhoods, you can't get the city to do a darn thing the enforce codes and ordinances or adopt new ones with more teeth. It really astounds me.

overaugusta
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overaugusta 05/19/10 - 12:58 am
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oh god, i need to get out of

oh god, i need to get out of this bass ackwards town. this much drama over a porn shop? next.

KatieLou
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KatieLou 05/19/10 - 01:09 am
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Cleanup, live your name.

Cleanup, live your name. Maybe you can do it.

It is astounding that there are so many people commenting here who happily support an industry that enslaves, exploits, violates and degrades other people.

How did you guys grow up with so little formation in decency, not just in your consciences but in your basic compassion for other people? Is your self-gratification so important to you that you can't see beyond pleasuring yourself to the terrible cost that inflicts on others, sometimes even children?

And somehow you think it is evolved to be immune to caring about that kind of thing.

I can't even experience anger over this. You are so completely pitiful that there can only be sadness for you. And you don't have a clue about why.

KatieLou
0
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KatieLou 05/19/10 - 01:16 am
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You're right, overaugusta.

You're right, overaugusta. There are tons of places where nobody is even bothering to fight this anymore. It would never occur, possibly even to most people now, that pornography might be a very destructive influence. So go.

armydudega
0
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armydudega 05/19/10 - 01:58 am
0
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Its amazing how people are so

Its amazing how people are so against X-mart opening but right down the street you have a gay motel where guys are having sex outside. at least X- mart people are not having sex in the establishment as they are down the street where the rainbow flag flies. Why not go after that establishmnet if you want to go against anything.

grouse
1635
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grouse 05/19/10 - 03:32 am
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Evidently, KatieLou is
Unpublished

Evidently, KatieLou is unaware of the pornography on the walls in Pompeii and other ancient civilizations. It has always been with us. The fact that pornography is one of the largest "industries" in the country and the populace is not running around raping each other belies her argument.

Trey Enfantay
9
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Trey Enfantay 05/19/10 - 03:36 am
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Yikes, it's happened again! I

Yikes, it's happened again! I agree with grouse.

mahalo ke akua
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mahalo ke akua 05/19/10 - 04:01 am
0
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EmeryDan, I'm with

EmeryDan,
I'm with you..astounded

KatieLou
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KatieLou 05/19/10 - 04:14 am
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@Grouse: Being aware that

@Grouse:
Being aware that porn is not new, that even millenia ago there were plenty of people who more resembled animals in rut than the likes of Aristotle or Virgil, doesn't mean that porn should be considered an acceptable, desirable feature of an advanced civilization or society. It always uses people, often against their will, and shows them being degraded for the pleasure of others. How can you not understand that?

And if you don't think the frequency of sexual violence has exploded in this country over the past 40 years, boy you haven't been paying attention at all. Or maybe you just don't have a problem with that.

I stand by what I said earlier: you simply are incapable of understanding why you are pitiable.

Augusta resident
1368
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Augusta resident 05/19/10 - 04:08 am
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0
$131,000 in 4 months just for

$131,000 in 4 months just for putting stuff on a shelf and letting people buy it? Wow, what else won't the city let you do? Open something and then sue the city for making you close. 1-800-WINWIN

Augusta resident
1368
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Augusta resident 05/19/10 - 04:14 am
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How can a local bidder match

How can a local bidder match the lowest bid and stay in business? What if someone bids so low that it actually cost a local company money to match it? I can see a bunch of illegals getting all the work now.

Augusta resident
1368
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Augusta resident 05/19/10 - 04:27 am
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I kinda sorta did some math

I kinda sorta did some math and would like to thank the commissioners for saving us over $2.5mil. Xmart got $131,000 for 4 months and only $550,000 for 8 years.

Brad Owens
4415
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Brad Owens 05/19/10 - 05:19 am
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0
The God Squad always scares

The God Squad always scares elected politicians over issues like this.

Take your Koran, Bible, and any other mystic beliefs and keep them. I love it when people take their values and want to use them to deny other citizens the right to do anythying. How American.

The fact is, this is a LEGAL business. The city ord was passed AFTER the fact and used to deny these people a lic based on NADA other than an emotional response to an issue they cannot control, well at least not legally.

I consider it representation without taxation. All churches should be charged property taxes if they want to influence government. Did you all know that the 'likker' law prohibits a lic from being issued within 100 meters of a place of worship?

WHY? They claim it is to protect the 'children' yet the people who push this government control of private lives would cry the loudest if government tried to 'protect' their kids in other ways like teaching them about sex and how to prevent the spread of HIV by using a condom.

Why must I have restrictions put on my freedom because someone wants to build a church on every block in every city?

Want some eye opening stats? Look at the USERS of porn...

http://pornproofing.com/for-households/pornography-statistics/industry-i...

And this...looks like Christian Church goers like porn to the tune of 70% and that was at a CONVENTION for Super God Squad types...Hmmmm

http://pornproofing.com/for-households/pornography-statistics/church-por...

Here is a quote from the link..."March 20, 2007: At a men’s summit in Oregon before 2,000 men, Shelley Lubben of Shelley Lubben ministries challenged those who were struggling with porn addiction to stand. 30% rose to their feet. She immediately challenged them a second time, with the result that some 70% were standing."

--------------------

SURPRISING!!!!!! NOT! I find everyone falls short of the glory of God I guess.

------------------

"One in 4 American adults surveyed in 2002 admitted to seeing an x-rated movie in the last year."

National Opinion Research Letter..

------------

OH NO! I guess if you have COMCAST in your home, drive a GM car, stay at a Hilton, Marriot, Hyatt, Sheraton and Holiday Inn, or you are a SNINNER!!!!!!!

---------- Just LOOK!!!-----------

”Last year, Comcast, the nation’s largest cable company, pulled in $50 million from adult programming. All the nation’s top cable operators, from Time Warner to Cablevision, distribute sexually explicit material to their subscribers. But you won’t read about it in their annual reports.

Same with satellite providers like EchoStar and DirecTV, which is owned by Hughes Technology, a subsidiary of General Motors.

How much does DirecTV make off of adult product?

“They don’t break the number out. But I would guess they’d probably get a couple hundred million, maybe as much as $500 million, off of adult entertainment, in a broad sense,” says Dennis McAlpine, a partner in McAlpine Associates, who has tracked the entertainment industry for over two decades. “I would think it’s probably more than what their overall profit is. The other areas are losing money. That’s making money.”

Then there are the big hotel chains: Hilton, Marriot, Hyatt, Sheraton and Holiday Inn, which all offer adult films on in-room pay-per-view television systems. And they are purchased by a whopping 50 percent of their guests, accounting for nearly 70 percent of their in-room profits. One hotel owner said, “We have to have it, our guests demand it.”

From a CBS News Special Report, November 2003

I could go on, but what is the point?

This is legal and it was stupid to ever deny this lic.

We need the dues!,

Brad

johnston.cliff
2
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johnston.cliff 05/19/10 - 05:31 am
0
0
Not supporting porn won't

Not supporting porn won't make it go away, unless enough people don't support it. If that happens in Augusta, the store will close. Trying to keep this business from operating was a silly experiment that led to a lot of knowledge being acquired by the city. They now know about a dozen things they could have learned just by reading our constitution. I wonder what the actual cost to the taxpayers was.

freeradical
1075
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freeradical 05/19/10 - 06:13 am
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Why don't you post some

Why don't you post some insightful comments from one of the

child por....err "adult video" industry's most popular acts ever.

15 year old Traci Lords.

The truth of the matter to any but the most deluded cretin is this

is nothing more that child porn packaged in plausible deniability.

The 15 year old Traci Lords type baby flesh is the hottest ticket and

biggest seller to the cretin consumer.

The younger the flesh the better it sells

Anyone who denies it is either ignorant or a liar.

Indigo
4
Points
Indigo 05/19/10 - 06:41 am
0
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South Augusta wants to

South Augusta wants to revitalize.......here you go!

Pay What U Owe
5
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Pay What U Owe 05/19/10 - 07:10 am
0
0
Some people are demented.

Some people are demented. Traci Lords did not pass herself off as a child. She went for nubile adult nymphet that was right at the titillating limit. She passed for 18, told the producers she was 18, advertised herself as 18. She had fully developed female secondary sexual characteristics, which is not exactly what pedophiles are after. When she was found out, everyone was busted, the industry ostracized the offenders and instituted new regulations to deal with overly ambitious porno wannabees.

People whose technique is so bad that their husbands would rather watch someone else do it tend to think that porn is the root of their problems (as opposed to admitting that maybe they are a dead lay). In some cases, it may be. But self-destruction is a personal choice as long as it does not harm anyone or make false promises. Porn does not pretend to be love, booze does not pretend to be food and cigarettes do not pretend to be medicine.

The only problem in society is when your issues affect people who can't walk away from you. For instance, bad lays running up $500K in tax debt to support the delusion that it's someone else's fault. We need to send Katie a bill.

lifelongresidient
0
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lifelongresidient 05/19/10 - 07:32 am
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gee katie i don't see you

gee katie i don't see you ranting about the strip clubs along broad street, like it or not they should have been allowed to open in the first place.

Brad Owens
4415
Points
Brad Owens 05/19/10 - 07:50 am
0
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Freedom, but only if it's

Freedom, but only if it's allowed in the Bible...

grouse
1635
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grouse 05/19/10 - 07:54 am
0
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Wow, Katie certainly doesn't
Unpublished

Wow, Katie certainly doesn't like to be proven wrong!

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