YOUR VIEW | Tired of City Council Harassing Businesses

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To the editor,

I read the Washington Post article In Old Town, The Sex Shop Is a Kiss-Off with some amusement, thinking it might be a kitschy piece. However, I was shocked and dismayed at how the city has treated the property owner and the business Le Tache.

Specifically, I take issue with Mayor Euilles comments: I believe its an inappropriate business to be located in our old and historic district, Alexandria Mayor William D. Euille (D) said of Le Tache.

Considering the amount of vacant real estate I see in Old Town and Carlyle Square these days, Alexandria should be courting businesses instead of chasing them off. I, for one, am tired of seeing the city budget increase and my real estate tax rate increase every year to fund some misguided social program or another. Having more businesses in Old Town filling that vacant space would be a welcome relief to the citys homeowners and diversify the citys tax base, making it better able to withstand the recession that we are in now.

Another issue I dislike regarding the city: The city cannot act because the store is complying with the law. Theres nothing I can do to encourage its demise, the mayor said. But he added that city staff is drawing up proposed changes to zoning laws in hopes that future adult entertainment stores can be regulated. Le Tache would be grandfathered in.

Wonderful. Simply wonderful. So, even if a business in the city is following the law, the city is going to harass it until it leaves. Nice thinking. Lets let even more of the vacant storefronts on King Street sit empty due to stupidity in the City Council.

I also recommend putting a muzzle on the Alexandria Commonwealths Attorney, S. Randolph Sengel. Again, according to the article: Alexandria Commonwealths Attorney S. Randolph Sengel said his office has received enough complaints about the store that he is looking at legal options. Virginia law allows for courts to declare sexual material obscene and to ban its sale, he said. What is acceptable in one community might not meet the standard in the neighboring community, Sengel said.
This is simply ludicrous harassment of a LEGAL business. Its not like this storefront is running a prostitution ring, or a gambling parlor, or even operating an illegal still. Its a LEGAL entity that is in full compliance with local zoning laws, is licensed, and is even pulling people into the store to get them to shop there. Its a refreshing change from the lawyer offices, the antique stores, the various nonprofit headquarters (which DO NOT contribute to the tax base since by their very nature they are non-taxable), in the fact that Le Tache will most likely generate solid revenue, which leads to solid tax receipts.

So, to put it simply, STOP any planned harassment of the store whether its through zoning laws or the commonwealths attorney (who should have better things to do) and BE HAPPY that there is an interesting store in a historic district that is starved for cash that is bringing people to the area.

TJ Parmele

Alexandria, VA

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