NAC Action Alert
HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, FLORIDA

May 26, 2004

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                     NATURIST ACTION COMMITTEE
                           ACTION ALERT
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                 http://www.naturistsociety.com/NAC/
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DATE   : May 26, 2004
SUBJECT: Hillsborough County, Florida
TO     : All naturists

Dear Naturist,

The Naturist Action Committee is requesting your immediate help with a significant local issue. The Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) of Hillsborough County, Florida, has revived its consideration of an anti-nudity ordinance, an issue that had been dormant since last July.

The renewed drive is being fronted by a handful of local church pastors who call themselves Citizens for Decency. However, NAC has confirmed that perennial naturist foe and political fringe zealot David Caton of the Florida Family Association remains the force behind the effort, as he was last summer.

THE ISSUE

The proposed ordinance is being portrayed by its advocates as a means of protecting the citizens of the county from the evils of adult entertainment businesses. But incorporated areas of the county may choose to opt out. Tampa is the largest city in Hillsborough County, and the mayor of Tampa says that opting out of such an ordinance is exactly what her city will do.

All the adult businesses in Tampa will be unaffected, and there are no adult businesses in the unincorporated portion of the county. However, there are skinny-dippers there, and of those, the clergy's proposed ordinance says:

"[T]he mere appearance of persons in the Nude in Public Places generally increases instances of prostitution, sexual assaults and batteries, attracts other criminal activity to the community, and encourages degradation of women and other activities which break down family structures."

Word for word, that outrageous claim is vintage hyperbole from David Caton, the local anti-nudity crusader.

The clergy who are proposing the anti-nudity measure are demanding that it be placed on the November ballot. That may seem senseless, given the lack of effect the ordinance would have on the businesses it pretends to regulate. But a large county-wide turnout among those who are sent to the polls by their churches will benefit Commissioner Ronda Storms.

Storms frequently finds herself far to the political right on county issues. Her personal moral vendetta a couple of years ago against local public access television led the county into an expensive lawsuit in U.S. District Court.

Now Ronda Storms is being term-limited out of her relatively conservative Hillsborough County district. She is faced with seeking an at-large seat on the BOCC and finds herself needing an issue to guarantee a substantial county-wide conservative turnout, so that she can retain her part time job and its salary of more than $80,000 per year.

Commissioner Storms will be introducing the proposed anti-nudity ordinance at the BOCC meeting on June 2, 2004.

ACTION

NAC is asking you to take the following action:

  1) Contact specific members of BOCC immediately.
  2) Attend the BOCC meeting on June 2, 2004.

Please continue reading for details.


CONTACT SPECIFIC COMMISSIONERS

NAC asks naturists to contact specific Hillsborough County Commissioners. Calls and correspondence from county residents are most valuable, but the county relies heavily on revenue from tourists who visit on business or pleasure, so NAC is asking for the involvement of concerned individuals everywhere. The commissioners need to hear from you before the meeting on June 2! Please call or write or e-mail - or do all three!

FOCUS

Your time is valuable, so NAC is asking you to focus your attention on contacting the following four commissioners:

 Ms. Kathy Castor
 Mr. Thomas Scott
 Ms. Jan Platt
 Ms. Pat Frank

Commissioners Platt and Frank have already indicated that they believe an anti-nudity ordinance is unnecessary for Hillsborough County, but they need to hear from us to bolster their position, and we must not neglect to do so. Commissioner Scott is himself a pastor of a local Baptist church. He has not been antagonistic toward us, but he will likely be feeling pressure from his fellow clergy. We must help him - firmly but politely - to understand the reasonableness of our point of view.

If you have the time, please contact all seven commissioners. But if you have time to call or write only ONE member of the Board of County Commissioners, NAC urges you to select Commissioner Kathy Castor. NAC has determined that her vote may well be the deciding vote for this issue.

The postal address for all commissioners:   
  BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS
  COUNTY CENTER
  601 E. KENNEDY BLVD.  
  TAMPA, FL 33602

  Kathy Castor, District 1   TEL: (813) 272-5470       
  castork@hillsboroughcounty.org

  Ken Hagan, District 2   TEL: (813) 272-5452
  hagank@hillsboroughcounty.org

  Thomas Scott , CHAIR, District 3  TEL: (813) 272-5720
  scottth@hillsboroughcounty.org

  Ronda Storms, District 4   TEL: (813) 272-5740      
  stormsr@hillsboroughcounty.org  

  Jim Norman, VICE CHAIR, District 5   TEL: (813) 272-5725
  normanj@hillsboroughcounty.org

  Jan Platt , District 6   TEL: (813) 272-5730
  plattj@hillsboroughcounty.org

  Pat Frank, District 7   TEL: (813) 272-5735
  frankp@hillsboroughcounty.org


WHAT SHOULD I SAY?

Whether you call or write, be sure to give your name and address. Anonymous calls and unsigned correspondence are typically ignored. Contacts from Hillsborough County residents are exceptionally important and valuable!

Be polite. There is no point whatsoever in allowing a lawmaker to dismiss your point of view because you've displayed poor manners or a nasty attitude.

If you call, expect to speak to an aide. The commissioner may not be fielding calls personally, but the aide is trained to report each call.

Say (or write) very clearly that you OPPOSE putting the public nudity ordinance on the November ballot. It's the duty of the commissioners to cull out bad proposals.

SOME TALKING/WRITING POINTS

It's very important to USE YOUR OWN WORDS and not give the impression that you're working from a script. Here are a few suggested points for you to consider:

  1) The proposed ordinance is unnecessary. What's the practical point? There are no adult businesses in unincorporated Hillsborough County.

  2) Theological restrictions are not a proper basis for governance. Hillsborough County cannot be allowed to become a local theocracy.

  3) The proposed ordinance is all about politics, not sound public policy.

  4) The county and its taxpayers have already found themselves hurt financially as the result of a commissioner's moral crusade. It is unwise to expose the county to risk through another bad decision of the same sort.

  5) The assumptions made by those promoting the proposed ordinance are totally unsubstantiated. Nothing whatsoever has been offered to back up any of the inflammatory conclusions listed in the text of the proposed ordinance.

 
PLAN NOW TO ATTEND THE MEETING OF THE COMMISSIONERS ON JUNE 2

The Hillsborough County Commissioners will meet in regular session on Wednesday, June 2. The anti-nudity ordinance will be on the agenda, and will be introduced by Commissioner Ronda Storms. The Naturist Action Committee strongly urges concerned naturists to attend the meeting on June 2 and to convey their opposition to the ordinance by their presence and their voices.

   WHEN:
       Wednesday, June 2, 2004, 9:00 a.m.
       Try to be there at least a half hour early.
   WHERE:  
       Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners
       County Center, 2nd Floor Board Room
       601 East Kennedy Boulevard
       Tampa, Florida 33601

The exact moment in the meeting at which this issue will be considered has not yet been set. General public comment is allowed during the first 45 minutes of the meeting. At the discretion of the BOCC Chair, additional public comment may be permitted elsewhere in the meeting. If you intend to speak, you must complete the Request for Public Comment card located at the sign-up table inside the Boardroom.
 
Whether or not you choose to speak, NAC encourages you to demonstrate your opposition to this proposed ordinance by making your presence felt at the meeting of the Hillsborough County lawmakers.


WHAT IS NAC DOING?

The Naturist Action Committee has retained a local professional political advisor to assist the grass roots efforts of naturists. With the assistance of the lobbyist, NAC has contacted the members of the Hillsborough BOCC in an attempt to prevent the placement of this offensive measure on a public ballot.

NAC has sent a position paper to each of the County Commissioners, detailing our concerns and objections to the proposed ordinance.

NAC does not yet have the votes on the BOCC to stop the proposed ordinance. NAC is asking for YOUR HELP.

MORE INFORMATION

Additional information about the proposed Hillsborough County ordinance is available on the web site of the Naturist Action Committee:

     www.naturistsociety.com/NAC

Select ALERTS, ADVISORIES & UPDATES and then "Current Alerts" to find
this Advisory and links to additional information at LOCAL ISSUES, including:

   The complete text of the proposed ordinance
   The complete text of the existing ordinance(s) addressing nudity
   The complete text of the St. John County ordinance (which is
     referenced by the promoters of the proposed Hillsborough ordinance)
  

PLEASE HELP NAC HELP NATURISTS IN FLORIDA AND ELSEWHERE

The Naturist Action Committee exists to advance and protect the rights of naturists throughout North America. NAC is a volunteer nonprofit organization that relies on the grass roots participation of those who understand that individuals working together can make a difference.

NAC has no membership roster on which to assess dues, and it relies completely on voluntary contributions from concerned and involved naturists like you. Monitoring lawmakers across North America and hiring lobbyists is expensive, but NAC knows that it's necessary for the protection of our freedoms.

Won't you take a moment to help NAC by sending a generous donation? You may send your donation to the address below, or you may call toll free (800) 886-7230 to donate by phone using your MasterCard or
Visa.

  NAC
  PO Box 132
  Oshkosh, WI 54903
 

Thank you for choosing to make a difference!

Naturally,

Morley Schloss
Board Member
Naturist Action Committee

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Naturist Action Committee (NAC) - PO Box 132, Oshkosh, WI 54903
Bob Morton - Executive Dir.    - <ctnudists@aol.com>
Morley Schloss - Board Member  - <morleynaturist@hotmail.com>
Online Rep. Dennis Kirkpatrick - <naturist@sunclad.com>
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