What's a Community to Do?
NEW YORK — IF Greenwich Village residents are a little confused over what to do about X-rated video stores, they aren't the only ones. The United States Supreme Court has approved the use of zoning laws to confine such establishments to particular areas. But outright bans violate the First Amendment guarantee of free speech. In between is a vast gray area in which municipalities throughout the country are groping.
In New York City, authorities seem to be uncertain about who has enforcement responsibility in the first place. The District Attorney's office referred a reporter to the police. ``We take [the cases] the Police Department brings,'' a spokesperson said.
A police spokesman, however, referred the reporter to the city's Department of Consumer Affairs.
But Cathy Konopa, a spokesperson for that department, said ``The police don't always have their information straight.'' The department's hands are tied for First Amendment reasons, she explained.
``We really can't do anything, as much as we would like to and much as I think we should,'' she added. ``The way to do it is community pressure. If they [porn shops] have a clientele that is building by the day, they will stay.''