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Open Letter from local attorney proposing ordinance to fine sagging pants wearers

Buy the book! Buy the book Eighteen Months and Short Stories, Real Life today! May 19,2009 VIA FACSIMILE (219) 881-1339 AND U.S. MAIL Gary Common Council City Hall, Suite 20 I 401 Broadway Gary, Indiana 46402 Dear Honorable Council Members: As a citizen concerned about the welfare of the City of Gary and a businessowner here, I implore you to consider the enclosed proposed ordinance I am submitting. Our City is in desperate times. We receive a consistent barrage of negative media which perpetuates derogatory images of Gary, Indiana. As each of you understand,the perception of our city outside its borders influences the investment we attract. Families have choice as to where they live, send their kids to school, or shop and conduct business. Likewise, business and commercial investors make determinations on the business environment of a community, in part, on some basic aesthetics. Frankly speaking, working families desiring to raise their children with strong American values are not likely to purchase a home in a neighborhood where youth roam about mimicking the dress of prison inmates nor would such a community attract shoppers or business owners evaluating locations for a new enterprise. We seemingly know this, considering the continued pleas from City Hall to keep our city clean. However, this same sentiment must extend to the litany of abandoned and dilapidated structures lining our city thoroughfares and also to the people milling about and loitering on comers. The harsh facts are: this prison inmate dress style lowers property values in the City of Gary, deters business and investment, and constitutes an economic blight on our community. I ask that you consider addressing this problem through legislation. I have enclosed a draft ordinance which attempts to do so. As an attorney, J am sensitive to any claims that such restrictions abridge First Amendment rights, but in our case the City has a substantial interests in preventing the economic harm caused by this expression and is on sound ground to restrict it. Furthermore, our firm agrees to represent the City of Gary on a pro bono basis against any challenge to the constitutionality of the ordinance. If you would like to discuss this matter, please feel free to contact me. Thank you for your consideration, ~ Best regards, ~ lid. Tony Walker

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