By Joshua Benton
Blade Staff Writer
Councilman Wade Kapszukiewicz is fighting a new battle: against illicit sex at adult bookstores.
The councilman, facing election for the District 6 council seat in less than four weeks, is proposing an ordinance that would require adult bookstores to open up their private video booths, and let others see what goes on inside them.
The idea: Opening up the booths will stop them from being “a haven for sexual activity.”
“It’s not the end-all and be-all of regulation, and it’s not going to make the adult bookstores go away,” he said. “But it’s a positive first step in the right direction.”
The council’s law and criminal justice committee will hold a hearing on the ordinance at 4 p.m. Monday.
Mr. Kapszukiewicz was appointed to the vacant District 6 seat Jan. 5. On May 4, he’ll face Republican Nick Wichowski in an election for the remainder of the seat’s term, which extends to 2001.
The district, encompassing Point Place and sections of North and West Toledo, is considered older and more socially conservative than other districts, and thus perhaps more receptive to an anti-adult entertainment message.
But Mr. Kapszukiewicz insists his proposed ordinance is not a political move, but instead a response to concerns from his district’s residents. “I wouldn’t be a good councilman if I didn’t listen to the wishes of my constituents,” he said.
On Feb. 15, Mr. Kapszukiewicz held a neighborhood meeting to address citizens’ concerns about the growth of adult entertainment in District 6. The district has 13 adult establishments, ranging from adult bookstores to strip clubs, the councilman said.
The ordinance would require that the video booths, in which patrons watch pornographic materials, not have any doors or curtains to hide their occupants from the rest of the store.
The other major provision of the ordinance would set standards for other viewing booths, in which patrons expect sexual favors.
In 1997, Toledo police arrested four men who allegedly were in that circumstance at Adult Pleasures, an adult bookstore at 4404 North Detroit Ave.
Mr. Kapszukiewicz said the ordinance is modeled on a law in Dayton that has withstood the scrutiny of state courts.
Mr. Wichowski said the ordinance would be “great” if it accomplished its goals of reducing sexual activity. But he said he didn’t believe it would.
“If you’ve got enough courage to walk into a place like that, then I think you’re going to do whatever you want to,” he said. “We’ve got to focus on finding a way to shut these places down.”
He said he had no specific plans on how to do that.
Workers at several adult bookstores in Toledo declined comment on the ordinance.
Mr. Kapszukiewicz said he has not spoken with any bookstore owners or managers but said they would be welcome to testify at Monday’s hearing.