Springer vs Swinger: Mayor Positioned for Sex Club Showdown

In what may come to be known as Springer’s Swingers Dictum, last
week the Gilroy City Council enacted emergency legislation aimed at
preventing further moral decay within the city limits.
In what may come to be known as Springer’s Swingers Dictum, last week the Gilroy City Council enacted emergency legislation aimed at preventing further moral decay within the city limits. The new law amends city regulations to prohibit “any person to use any premises for a sexual encounter establishment or establish or operate a sexual encounter establishment in any zoning district of the city.”

Mayor Tom Springer rammed the decency measure through council hoping it would convince the Forum Adult Social Club to cease its weekend swinging parties at a house on the edge of town. Because, according to The Dispatch report, “City officials argue that sexual acts promote the spread of disease.” I’m not sure if this news flash is enough to build a case on, but it does show that our leaders are nothing if not well informed.

“The city will do everything we can to protect ourselves,” Councilman Bob Dillon was additionally quoted as saying. Protect yourself doing what? I ask. Are you going undercover? Talk about disturbing and inappropriate images!

One person who reacted with wild, unrestrained abandon to passage of the anti-swinging amendment was the newspaper’s resident holy roller, the good pastor Richard Garcia. If you read this week’s sermon you know that Pastor Richard has latched onto the sex club issue like a flim-flam tent evangelist trolling for converts at the local speakeasy.

Leading off with a fiery quote from Thessalonians, he worked himself up into quite a lather over the swingers’ activities: “… it is thoroughly repugnant and appalling and rightfully should have been responded to with the same indignation and prejudice that child molestation receives.”

Now wait a minute, pastor. I don’t know about you and your flock, but most people make a definite distinction between consensual adult sex and child molestation. It is very important that the clergy become completely clear on this concept as well.

This whole sex club issue is sticky business for sure, but let’s calm down and take a look at the facts.

What do we know? We know that the mayor’s sex farce sideshow is out of hand. We know that the swingers club has dug in and is prepared to challenge the mayor in court. They already have an arguable case for invasion of privacy, harassment, and discrimination in the interpretation of zoning code.

We also know that the more the mayor politicizes the issue by enacting vague and unenforceable decency standards, the more attractive becomes the club’s countersuit. Now we have to consider what will happen if a judge rules against the city and effectively legitimizes the club’s activities. That may be enough to push the story into the national limelight. I can see The Dispatch headline now: “Hordes of Swingers to Descend on Gilroy!”

We also know the swingers club is going ahead with plans for its gala erotic/exotic Halloween bash, much to the mayor’s dismay. He hoped to have the club evicted before the Halloween party, but the landlord who rents the house where the social club convenes hasn’t served an eviction notice. Perhaps he doesn’t want to suffer any backlash from the mayor’s legal action. Given the mayor’s track record, this could be a smart move.

Meanwhile, all this extra attention may only server to heighten the sense of adventure for members of the Forum Adult Social Club. As the illicitness increases, the attraction may only double, triple, sextuple even. The swingers, I suspect, are enjoying this immensely.

Ah, another fine mess, but by grandstanding on the sex club issue, both Springer and Garcia reveal something about themselves: a desperate need to make sure that people view them as highly moral people. The appearance of morality is the most important thing.

You may strike a pose as the city’s chief arbiter or moral judgments, but where does it lead? Do you monitor video rentals and magazine sales? Condom sales? Viagra sales? Do you register unmarried cohabitating couples? Do two people bumping and grinding in a nightclub fall within the definition of an inappropriate sexual encounter in a place of business? Do you arrest just the stripper or do you haul in everyone at the bachelor (or bachelorette) party? And considering that for some people just gawking at cleavage at the Garlic Festival qualifies as a valid sexual encounter – do you also enact a leech law?

Above all, keep your sense of humor. Sex can be funny. Please remember that without sex, none of us would be here to enjoy this.

Columnist Doug Meier, a Gilroy resident, is published each Friday in The Dispatch. His work also appears on-line at www.gilroydispatch.com.

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