EDITORIAL: It’s bad enough Tampa Bay is known as the ‘Strip Club Capitol of the World’ and Miami is second home to the Los Angeles’ porn industry but when you drive through our sunny state of Florida, these ‘We Bare All’ billboard signs are everywhere. As we drove through and vacationed in Florida when my kids were young, I remember them reading these signs and being forced to have that discussion about why people bare all at many of the exits in Florida. Not what we had in mind to be doing with our kids on our annual family vacations. They still talk about these signs now, as adults, so I know these billboards are a negative attraction for our economy. I detested seeing them on every single trip to the lovely sunshine state. Good thing I have a lot of family here or Florida might have lost us first as returning tourists and then as 19 year residents!
Florida is a tourist state of which families are a major market who are catered to. Just ask Disney, Busch Gardens, Universal Studios, the beaches and water parks, museums, spring break hotspots (hey, we don’t call them college kids for nothing) and the multitude of other attractions built around kids and families here in Florida. We may have a huge part time population of snowbirds and business executives all land here once a year or more for “conferences” but there are also millions of children who travel to and spend time in our state. We market to their parents telling them to bring their kids here for clean, wholesome family fun in the sun.
Florida is also supposed to be part of the bible belt so I wonder where God is in any of this misogynistic debauchery. Whoever has been approving all the blatant statewide commercial sexual exploitation, exploitation that has some deep longstanding roots, has been fostering an extremely healthy environment for pimps, pornographers and traffickers while corrupting the very lifeline of our economy, the children and families who visit here. It’s like growing bacteria in a petri dish. You know the results of a deadly virus are guaranteed!!
These billboards are there to tempt drivers and their passengers who might not otherwise partake of adult services if not readily available in some obscure location. You know, even Vegas found it to be more profitable to tone down the public smut so families could vacation there together. What message is Florida really trying to send those families and businesses who visit and look at our state as a possible vacation or relocation spot?
My kids sure can tell you what impression it gave them as innocent adolescents visiting this state!
By Dave D’Marko, Reporter
Last Updated: Wednesday, July 24, 2013, 6:43 PMOCALA — Can Marion County ban highway billboards some people find offensive? That’s what commissioners want to find out before a new code dealing with adult entertainment goes into effect.Driving along I-75 you’ll see all kinds of billboards for restaurants and Central Florida tourist destinations. But some people can’t help but noticing signs advertising other types of entertainment.”As a tourist coming through Florida I think it’s very disturbing,” Alexis Cruz said while filling up on his way from Tennessee to Miami. “I don’t think it does any good for the state of Florida, I don’t think it does any good for tourism.”
Recently Marion County residents went to commissioners with their concerns.“They shouldn’t have that out for kids, when the kids are in the car and they say, ‘What’s that mommy, what’s that daddy?’ No they shouldn’t have that out there,” Peggy Breedenburg said.Marion County Commissioners adopted a new land development code this month, which deals with all types of businesses, including adult establishments.The code requires them to be at least 1500 feet away from a church, school, park, or residential area.
The code also deals with signs in front of adult businesses, restricting their size, banning flashing lights, and prohibiting any pictures, or drawings of any kind. But before deciding on highway billboards, they asked for the advice of the county attorney, Matthew Minter. Minter said his biggest concern is setting up the county for a lawsuit, infringing upon freedom of speech.He said he’s studying the issue, and plans to get back to them before the code goes into effect October 1. Part of the issue is even though the billboards are in Marion County, the businesses they are promoting are in neighboring counties.If he decides nothing can be done, some drivers said they’ll just keep looking the other way.“I ignore them because I’m not interested in them, but I have noticed them,” Janice McIlvoy said.