Opinion » Editorial

Be Judicious

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That's our advice to the Shelby County Commission and to other would-be guardians of the public mores a propos past, present, and future excesses of the city's adult-entertainment industry. We certainly applaud the action of the commission last week in voting to send topless-club entrepreneur Steve Cooper a strong message that his proposed "Italian restaurant" will be held to strict zoning requirements.

These would seemingly preclude the facility's conversion into yet another "adult" club — this one set smack dab in the middle of suburban Cordova, in close proximity to churches, schools, and other established community venues. The windowless concrete-walled facility, now under construction, bears little resemblance to your usual rustic Italian villa, and suspicions of Cooper's motives seem entirely justifiable, especially in view of the fact that his son has publicly confided his father's ultimate intent to convert the building into a topless club.

We are not so certain, however, of the wisdom of another initiative coming before the commission — this one from Mike Ritz, a normally thoughtful member, who has, among other things, advised a moderate approach to the pending establishment of a second Juvenile Court.

A key provision of Ritz's proposed ordinance would, in effect, end the sale and consumption of alcohol at strip clubs and at other adult-entertainment facilities. Memphis police director Larry Godwin has expressed concern about the proposed measure, and we, too have our doubts. It would seem to us that enough laws already exist to limit excessive behavior at the clubs — it is these, after all, that resulted in the recent series of arrests — and an ordinance as strict as the one proposed could have a dampening effect not only on free expression per se but (let us tell it like it is) on the city's convention trade.

Tiger Baseball

Memphis-area sports fans are normally well-informed about the progress — or lack of same — of the University of Memphis' major athletic teams. In the case of the basketball Tigers, we all know that Coach John Calipari's team got into the Elite Eight of the NCAA tourney this spring and has been picked by several astute observers as the team to beat for the collegiate season to come.

It is needless to say, too, that the football team that has generally done well under Coach Tommy West, going to three consecutive bowl games, had a down season last year and that we (and West) can only hope for better things come fall.

What many of us may not have been paying proper attention to, however, is the fact that the university has a baseball team that is suddenly vying for attention and respect with the Tigers' pigskin and roundball contingents. Coach Daren Schoenrock's team survived a late-season slump to win a bid as one of just 64 teams invited to compete in this year's NCAA baseball tournament.

Despite complaints from the other end of the state (where the Vols failed to get a bid), the Tigers have managed to win the respect of the collegiate baseball world — this at a time when NCAA baseball, as a prime feeder of Major League Baseball, is rapidly achieving enhanced stature in its own right.

It's nice having something else to growl about.

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