LOGANVILLE - It was business as usual at Thursday night's City Council meeting in Loganville, right up until the citizens had the chance to take the floor.
The last speaker, Elaine Williams, addressed Mayor Tim Barron and the council with her concerns about the new business she opened in the city less than two weeks ago.
"We are a gift shop; that's what our business is licensed for," said Williams. "But when I picked up the (business) license, there was a copy of the city's adult entertainment ordinance attached to it." Williams' store, "Hot Topicx," is a gift store or, as the tag line states, a "lovers' boutique." Williams and associate Elisha Eiche both voiced their concern about the runaround they feel they're getting from the city.
"It took us two months to get a business license," said Williams, who said she feels that city officials are not pleased with her business coming to Loganville.
Grant Mackay, Loganville resident and former member of the Citizens' Advisory Committee, agreed with Williams and went so far as to say that citizens' First Amendment rights are being threatened by current and former city officials. Addressing the mayor and council Thursday night, Mackay said that he was a member of the CAC but was "regrettably dismissed." Mackay alleges that his dismissal from the committee was a direct result of his backing Williams and Hot Topicx.
"City employees are afraid to purchase something in the store for fear of losing their jobs," Williams alleged. "I have four pages of citizen signatures on a petition supporting my store. There's another store here in Loganville that has a room full of XXX-rated movies, and they're allowed to do business with no problem."
"We don't allow anyone into our store who's under 18," Eiche said. "We do that voluntarily, because we are not an adult entertainment store. We're a gift shop."
Williams said that she has voluntarily covered the shop windows with black silk to prevent curious children from looking into the windows. There is a Laundromat right next to Hot Topicx.
"I have young children of my own, and they have not been in the store since it was stocked," Williams remarked.
Williams also said she has asked repeatedly for a copy of proposed amendments to the city's adult entertainment ordinance but has yet to receive the information. City attorney Robyn Webb answered that, since the amendments were put on first-read-only Thursday night, the documents were considered attorney/client privileged and not subject to the Open Records Act before Thursday's meeting. Williams plans to meet with city officials Friday to obtain the documents.
Jones sworn in as council's newest member
Judge Brad Brownlow administered the oath of office to Loganville's newest and youngest council member, Austin Jones.
"I'm looking forward to serving with this administration. We have a great one," Jones said.
Judge Don Schaffer swore in re-elected council members Jerry Price and Wendell Geiger Thursday night.
Police to assume
duties at schools
Councilman Jerry Price asked for the council's OK to allow Police Chief Mike McHugh to officially get involved with handling city school police business as necessary.
"The chief has been doing this unofficially for a couple of months, Price said. "The bottom line is that it won't cost us a thing."
Councilman Chuck Bagley informed citizens Thursday night that currently, if there is an altercation or threat at a city school, the Loganville police will not know about it unless an officer happens to be listening to a scanner at the time.
"I'm hoping this will be a seamless transition that won't require dual duty (with the sheriff's department)," McHugh said.