NO V.I.P. in Berlin, CT

Texaco Station, Indiana

Posted in Uncategorized by Laura MIchaud on May 18, 2012

Texaco Station, originally uploaded by trecrowns.


Bill on the Road

Posted in Uncategorized by Laura MIchaud on May 18, 2012

Bill on the Road, originally uploaded by trecrowns.

Along 1-65 in Northwest Indiana near Fair Oks

Opening Day at the new Chef’s in Berlin CT!

Posted in Uncategorized by Laura MIchaud on September 21, 2011

No one is happy that I am about Chef’s opening in this location instead of VIP. This is a Win/Win for for Dom DeMartino and Berlin (and our neighborhood!)

WHY we fight this. Yes, it’s THISCLOSE.

Posted in Uncategorized by Laura MIchaud on August 21, 2009

Here is my 7 year old on the living room couch.

She can read well now.
This billboard reads:
“Relax, It’s Just Sex… We’re All Doing It”
Sexy Lingerie
Adult Toys
XXX Novelty Gifts
1000’s of DVD’s

So now I have gotten questions like “Mom, what are ADULT toys?”
and, with excitement “Mom, it says they have 1000’s of Videos!” (she’s thinking maybe she could rent “The Little Mermaid” or something!

So, if you wonder WHY we are fighting this, this is why. Unless you have seen this in person, don’t realize how close this is. It’s in my front yard, not down the road, not simply within sight. Right there.

VIP Billboard Truck 2009

Posted in Uncategorized by Laura MIchaud on August 21, 2009

BBT 08/6/2009 02:44 PM, originally uploaded by lauramichaud.

This truck comes frequently (nearly daily) and parks, sometimes for hours at a time. Some people find this offesive o drive by this on the highway with their children in the car. Imagine if it came and sat there for hours visible from your living room window.


VIP loses appeal

Posted in fighting SOBs by Laura MIchaud on May 19, 2008

The Connecticut Supreme Court today rejected VIP’s appeal of the court’s decision to uphold the town of Berlin’s right to zone adult businesses from being less than 250 feet from residential property.

This is the third time Berlin’s SOB ordinance has been upheld in Supreme Court, the first time in a suit brought by the owners of the InfraRed Cafe, the initial ruling in the VIP vs Berlin Zoning and now this one.

VIP has another lawsuit filed in Federal Court, which has been moved several times and I don’t even know for sure when it is scheduled anymore, possibly November. Today’s ruling will make that suit even harder for VIP to win, if not a mute point entirely.

If today’s ruling had been in favor of VIP, it would have been bad news for the town in Federal court. It also would have an impact on every town in Connecticut that has an SOB ordinance.

Read more at the Courant.

Here is a picture of some of the news trucks that show up every time there is anything going on with VIP.

More court drama

Posted in My neighborhood by Laura MIchaud on April 15, 2008

Well, for the first time in ages, there has been some activity regarding VIP. I have not posted in months, as nothing new was going on.

For the latest news about VIPs appeal of a courts ruling concerning the town of Berlin and its right to zone adult businesses, here is an article from todays Courant.

For those of you who want to comment and call me a prude or whatever, dont bother, I no longer post or even check the comments. Start your own blog on the subject if you feel that strongly that an adult store belongs next to a residential neighborhood. Even better, make an offer on my house, if you would like to live next door to a 15,000 sq. ft. store full of porn, dildos, knives and bongs that is open until 2:00am.

More Berlin coverage in the Hartford Advocate

Posted in fighting SOBs,My neighborhood by Laura MIchaud on August 23, 2007

Its been a really long time since my last post.

After the previous post with the photo of my daughter, I felt there was little left to say, as far as reasons to oppose VIP locating next door.

To catch up, it has been a long summer of waiting. And there is plenty more waiting to do, as the VIP Federal lawsuit has been pushed all the way to November. In July, The Connecticut state Superior Court rejected VIPs lawsuit challenging the town’s Sexually Oriented Business ordinance. Very good news for us.

Phantom Fireworks leased the VIP property for the summer, and were very good neighbors. Other activity in the neighborhood included calling the police to report sightings of 2 women who appeared to be selling their wares. The Berlin Citizen reported on this a few weeks ago, and todays Hartford Advocate deals with the issue in their cover story Turnpike at a Crossroads.

I agree that the Berlin Turnpike in Berlin is at a Crossroads. It could go either way, revitalization or further downhill. Additional adult businesses could only contribute to its demise. Thoughtful planning and zoning could make it an attractive business area, centrally located with easy access from both Hartford and New Haven.

A picture is worth a thousand words

Posted in fighting SOBs,My neighborhood,Uncategorized by Laura MIchaud on May 13, 2007

Carli in the mud (new driveway in progress)

Misleading comments about Secondary Effects

Posted in fighting SOBs by Laura MIchaud on May 10, 2007

On Monday, May 7, the New Britain Herald ran an article written by New Haven Register reports Phil Helsel and Brian McCready. (The papers have the same parent company, Journal Register News Service.)

The article questions the validity of Secondary Effects as an argument for zoning sexually oriented businesses. The Supreme Court has found secondary effects to be just cause for municipalities to zone such businesses to protect property values, quality of life issues and prevent crime.

The reporters reviewed situations in Milford and Orange, where Penthouse Boutique and VIP, respectively, have opened stores in recent years. According to police sources quoted, crime has not increased in the areas and the article states that property values have not been adversely effected either.

It goes on to say “a 2004 study conducted by Daniel Linz, a professor of communications at the University of California at Santa Barbara, examined crime statistics and property values near adult bookstores and cabarets in Toledo, Ohio, and found that those businesses were not to blame for crime hotspots.
In that study, Linz and other researchers compared crime rates within 1,000 feet of adult cabarets and bookstores for six months before and after they closed, and found that there was virtually no change.”

Please note that these studies were done on properties within 1000 feet from an SOB. In Berlin, the SOB is ZERO feet from residential property. BIG difference. Berlin would not be fighting VIP if it was 1000 feet from residential property. Berlin would not be fighting if VIP was 250 feet from residential property.

Another difference in crimes or undesirable issues being reported to the police is that because no one lives right next door to these other locations, no one is either seeing or caring what goes on there. Read the post about the Manchester location to see whether or not things happen in the parking lot. (I did not report it to the police because, being known as an opponent to VIP, I figured no one would take me seriously.) Also, with no residential next door neighbors, these other locations aren’t bothering anyone by being open until 2:00am. Most people would not appreciate a party every week night until midnight, weekends until 2am.

These satellite images illustrate the differences in the area immediately surrounding the SOBs mentioned in the article:
(I have outlined the property borders in yellow, and indicated with red lines 250 feet from the border * approximately*.)
VIP, 170 Boston Post Road Orange, CTVIP 480 Oakland St,  Manchester CTVIP 100 Brainard Rd, Hartford,CT
Penthouse Boutique 151 W Service Rd HartfordPenthouse Boutique 9 Banner Drive, Milford CT
Compare these to the Berlin location:

None of the other locations have residential properties close to them. Only Manchester even has any at all, and I’d estimate the closest is about 800′ from VIP. All the others are in basically industrial zones.

I can count atleast 15 residential properties that wholly or partially fall within 250′ in Berlin. Another 15 or so if you go out 500′. Literally dozens are within 1000′.

Another one down!

Posted in fighting SOBs,My neighborhood by Laura MIchaud on May 8, 2007

VIP Billboard removed!
My neighbor Stan sent me an email today with the message that the VIP billboard on Mill Street is now down! Last week some news stories appeared in the Berlin Citizen and local TV news about Stan contacting the billboard company to let them know the billboards for Penthouse Boutique and VIP where across the street from a church and in violation of outdoor advertising standards.

The company agreed to try to resolve the issue, and the Penthouse Boutique board was moved to another location. Today the VIP board is down too. I don’t know the reasons, but I am glad to see the effectiveness of contacting a company, voicing concerns, and actually getting some results!

Of course, an hour after learning about this, I sit here looking out my living room window to this view: (Yes, this is a photo taken from my livingroom of the mobile billboard in the VIP parking lot. This is how close it is.)

window view Up close and personal: Billboard for VIP, Romance Shop!

Berlin’s Billboard “Battle” a Bit Over-blown

Posted in fighting SOBs,My neighborhood by Laura MIchaud on May 5, 2007

Bethany Covenant BillboardVIP Billboard removed!

One local news station called it a “battle” over adult business billboards, but I think “battle” is overstating the case.

The Berlin Citizen hit closer to the mark covering a story related to, yet seperate from, the continuing VIP issue in Berlin.

“Can you do anything about those billboards?” is a comment that comes up a lot. Drivers along I-91 and I-84 pass several billboards for not only VIP, but several other similar stores. Many people say it is especially uncomfortable when they have children in the car with them. Others say things like out-of-towners might get the impression that “adult businesses” are all Hartford has to offer.

The most offensive billboard situation, for my neighborhood at least, isn’t the interstate billboards, but a billboard about 3/4 of a mile from our neighborhood, en route to our elementary school, on Rt. 372, which featured a board for Penthouse Boutique on one side, and VIP on the other side. More egregious, these boards are right across the street from a church, Bethany Covenant.

Frankly, the effort to keep an adult store from being my next door neighbor is my main concern. I also didn’t really know if anything could be done. I did a little googling on the subject of billboards and came across the website for the Outdoor Advertising Association of America, the lead trade association representing the outdoor advertising industry.

The OAAA Code of Industry Principles states:

  • Protect the Children
    We are careful to place outdoor advertisements for products illegal for sale to minors on advertising displays that are a reasonable distance from the public places where children most frequently congregate.

    We are committed to a program that establishes exclusionary zones that prohibit stationary advertisements of products illegal for sale to minors that are intended to be read from, or within 500 feet of, elementary and secondary schools, public playgrounds, and established places of worship.

    We support establishing reasonable limits on the total number of outdoor displays in a market that may carry messages about products that are illegal for sale to minors.

  • I mentioned this finding to Stan, a neighbor and active member of our neighborhood group. Stan began contacting the company, which is located in New Jersey. He eventually got through to the owner, and explained the local situation, and told him the boards were clearly within 500′ of a church, which they company seemed unaware of.

    With some persistence and cajoling on Stan’s part, the owner of the billboards agreed that the boards were possibly in violation of the OAAA principles. These are not legaling-binding, necessarily, but the company was willing to work on resolving the situation. The Penthouse Boutique ad has been moved to another location owned by the billboard company. The VIP board is under contract for a few more months. Now that the billboard company is aware of the violation, though, they will advise that the location is no longer available for adult business advertising.

    If you find advertising to be offensive or in violation of standards… find out who is in control of it and TELL them. All billboards have the name of the company that owns them and usually a phone number along the bottom of the frame. There is also an ID# for that board, if possible give the company the exact location by providing this number.

    Stan and I would love to see some local businesses place ads on the boards across from the church, both to thank the billboard company for addressing the community concerns, and to keep those boards from otherwise being blank, or having undesirable advertisers ever again.

    The REAL story here is that something CAN be done, and one individual CAN effect change. Kudos to Stan!

    New wife voodoo dolls, “plus size open cup lingerie,” and AXES? Oh my!

    Posted in About VIP by Laura MIchaud on May 1, 2007

    On March 30, 2007, VIP requested a zoning permit to operate a “retail” store that would sell “clothing and other related items.” A lingerie shop, plus.

    An article in today’s Hartford Courant details the application, and zoning officer Hellyn Riggins’ rejection of this recent application.

    Nice try, Dom and company, but no one believes a.) that VIP sincerely intends to operate a 15,000 sq. ft. lingerie shop that the town would have to continually monitor to keep in compliance or b.) that operating a lingerie shop under the exact same name as your existing porn mega-store would alleviate the secondary effect of lowering property values. The customer-base, and everyone else would logically view it as another… VIP mega store.

    According to the Courant article, products to be sold at VIP under the “new” application include: lip gloss, key chains, condoms, Playboy martini sets, Hustler swimwear, garter belts, “father of bride” buttons, “light up bra,” new wife voodoo doll, honeymoon survival kit, Kama Sutra body powder, shoulder pads, bath salts, incense burners, whoopee cushion, throwing knives, swords, “final fling koozie,” fishnet body wear, leather bustiers, “plus size open cup lingerie,” hangover kit, pheromone candles, Playboy Christmas ornaments and axes.

    I have no idea what a “new wife voodoo doll” is, I’m guessing some sort of gag gift, along the lines of whoopie cushions. Kama Sutra body powder… OK, I can see that falling under the catagory of “other related items” to clothing.

    What I wonder is how are “throwing knives,” “swords,” and “axes” related to these other items? They are not talking about plastic “costume” accessories. VIP carries a large assortment of real steel bladed cutlery. I find this to be odd. I find these items to be potentially dangerous. I do not want these items to be sold next door to my home.

    If the VIP group is serious about wanting to “adjust” the use of the building they own in Berlin to an acceptable use retail business that neighbors would not oppose I have some suggestions.

    1.) Use it for the Chef’s Equipment store. We would truly welcome that business.

    2.) Come up with a new concept like a truly upscale woman friendly store that does not carry porn DVDs, or other items that many women find offensive or degrading. Come up with a TRUE romance store that is not “porn” related in any way. Market this store towards women specifically and make it like an upscale spa. Aim for women who would NOT even consider going to VIP. I think there is a market you are missing.

    3.) Sell the building and find a location that is not abutting residential property.

    Right wing religious agenda? NOT!

    Posted in anti-porn,fighting SOBs by Laura MIchaud on April 12, 2007

    This week’s Hartford Advocate has an article about Berlin’s battle with VIP.

    It takes the typical stand of saying we are somehow against free speech and the 1st amendment, and that opponents of such businesses “use” zoning issues, such as “purported” secondary effects to take away or censor the right of others’ freedom of expression, simply because we don’t like what they are expressing. Apparently because we think it is sinful.

    I won’t hold Adam Bulger (a nice enough guy in my dealings with him), the Advocate reporter, personally responsible for this statement from one of his sources…
    “Clyde DeWitt, a Los Angeles based attorney who specializes in adult business-related First Amendment issues, said that arguments about secondary effects are specious, and tend to hide an anti-free speech agenda.

    “The fact of the matter is that there’s a group of right wing Christians who think adult entertainment is a sin and they’re trying to do everything they can to get rid of it,” DeWitt said. “This seems to work for them because you can’t say you’re not allowed to have this because that would be the regulation of a content of speech. Whether they like it or not, Playboy is speech and it’s protected, just like their churches are.”

    I think people like DeWitt use the term “right wing Christians” as buzzwords, to lump those who want adult businesses regulated with religious “nuts,” and to intimidate people from speaking out against such businesses, lest you be called a nut or a prude.

    I would like to state for the record that I am not a right wing Christian with a religious based “agenda” against free speech. Or sex. Or sin.

    The fact of the matter is that I am just a normal (well, OK… average?) middle class person, who was minding my own business, who came home from work one day and found that a huge porn shop wanted to open next door, and it would be open until 2 in the morning.

    So before you go labeling me a prude, or a right wing nut, as yourself this:
    What would you do if it was YOUR neighborhood, your children who’s bus stop was going to be less than 250′ from VIP?

    I am not trying to stop stores like this from existing. I don’t care what people do in the privacy of their own bedrooms. But really, would you want this type of business within walking distance of your home?

    This is not about religion, or even politics. For anyone who cares to know (probably not many), I am a Christian (Lutheran), but not a right wing one and I work for a Jewish publication. Certainly I am for freedom of religion, or non-religion. I am against making abortion illegal(I guess that would be pro-choice, but I don’t think anyone is pro-abortion). I am pro-gay marriage (people making a commitment to eachother can’t be a bad thing!) I have worked for newspapers and media my entire adult life, so I am absolutely in favor of the first amendment (although I think it has been twisted by the adult business industry –talk about an agenda, like it’s about some lofty constitutional reason. It’s about $$$$) I majored in ART in college, at an all-arts college, not typically right wing communities, if you know what I mean. I am not even right handed… I’m a lefty. I’m the daughter of a lefty, and the mother of a lefty.

    There is no hidden agenda, religious or otherwise. My only agenda is that I do not want to live next door to a 15,000 sq. ft. sex shop.

    What are secondary effects? They are the same reasons you probably don’t want to live next to a sex shop either.

    We love Dick

    Posted in fighting SOBs by Laura MIchaud on April 11, 2007



    (The photo above shows the sign at the corner of my front yard. It serves as a message board for the neighborhood)

    A newspaper photographer came out Saturday to take a pic of the sign in my yard for an upcoming story. Other than the big NO VIP and email address, there is currently no message. I joked with my husband that I should change the message on our sign to read “We love Dick …Blumenthal!” It would be both humorous (well, I think so) and true.

    I am very grateful to the Attorney General for his support and for seeing that this situation is likely to become a problem for other communities if VIP is allowed to disregard a town’s sexually oriented business ordinances.

    Unless or until a situation is effecting one personally, people often don’t see the point of getting involved in things like this. I am guilty of this myself. When Kurt Kemmling began his efforts to get the Infra-Red strip club closed, of course I thought it was a good idea for the town to do it, but I saw no reason to get involved. That was all the way on the other side of town! Kurt, (without the benefit of the many supportive neighbors I am lucky to have) along with the town council, kept up the fight, while Infra-red (new owner would have re-named it Gold Diggers) and their lawyer (Dan Silver, who else?) sued Berlin. The claim–Berlin’s SOB ordinance was unconstitutional.

    After taking nearly a year to get through the courts, in January, a federal judge upheld Berlin’s SOB ordinance. Now I couldn’t be more grateful to Kurt for standing up for his neighborhood, as this decision could really be important to my current situation. Now, I wish I had lent Kurt’s battle more support, but of course, I didn’t know it would ever effect me.

    I truly hope that the town of Berlin prevails in the VIP lawsuit, and if they do, I will have Kurt to thank in part for that. I hope that these efforts will some day help other communities to protect their neighborhoods.

    Colin McEnroe supports porn shop

    Posted in About VIP by Laura MIchaud on April 5, 2007

    WTIC-AM 1080 Talk Radio host Colin McEnroe welcomed VIP General Manager Gary Porter as a guest on his show yesterday afternoon.

    Although I am a regular listener of the show, I did not hear the broadcast first-hand. I did get several emails about show though, and the consensus was that Colin was clearly on the side of VIP, and feels that there would be no negative impact from having a sex shop (and he himself called it a sex shop) next door to my home.

    I wrote McEnroe an email explaining that Berlin has a right to zone SOB’s and protect property values, and that I can not imagine that anyone faced with this potential neighbor would not fight it vigorously. I stated that I was disappointed that he had not bothered to interview me, Mayor Salina, or anyone else who’s life is effected by this situation, and that I felt he should have given us equal airtime. His producer wrote back saying if Colin wanted to put me on the show, he’d call me.

    This New Britain Herald article sites that Porter “assured listeners that VIP stores are well-policed and that the chain “tries to be a good citizen.”
    “We make sure customers must be 18 or older,” he said. He added that similar adult products are currently available in shopping malls.

    Well, my trip to the Manchester VIP, reviewed in an earlier post, contradicts that “well-policed” claim, as well as the claim to making sure customers are 18 or older. I have yet to see videos in “Spencer Gifts” or any other mall store with titles like “Gang Bang that P_ssy,” “MILF’s Gone Anal,” or “Don’t Tell Mommy.”

    The article then goes on to say ‘Still, McEnroe wondered what the fuss was all about.
    “If you can’t do this on the Berlin Turnpike, I don’t know where you can,” he told Porter.’

    My house can be seen to the right.

    To get an idea of the layout of the neighborhood:
    (CLICK ON IMAGE TO ENLARGE) image courtesy Google Maps
    The proposed VIP building is the big square to the right of the big green arrow. My house is the little square under it, to the right of the letters Cir. You can see how Woodruff Circle comes off the Berlin Turnpike and then curves. You can see another home directly behind VIP that is also very close.

    Court rules Attorney General CAN enter case as “Friend of the Court”

    Posted in fighting SOBs by Laura MIchaud on April 5, 2007

    I am pleased to learn that a federal court has ruled in favor of allowing CT AG Richard Blumenthal to intervene in the lawsuit filed by VIP against the town of Berlin.

    VIP had filed a memorandum opposing the AG’s “Amicus Curiae” request on March 29.

    You can read more about this in a today’s Hartford Courant article, where Blumenthal says “the court recognizes the ramifications this single case has beyond Berlin’s borders for the entire state. The state will be at Berlin’s side in court – protecting the right of every city and town in Connecticut to protect citizens from sexually oriented businesses.”

    Neighbors do about-face and vote to Welcome porn shop!

    Posted in Meetings,My neighborhood,Uncategorized by Laura MIchaud on April 2, 2007

    Last night, in an unexpected about-face, neighbors in Berlin’s Webster Heights voted to give up their opposition to the VIP “adult” shop that is trying to open near their homes.

    When asked why the sudden change of heart, one resident, who asked to remain anonymous, stated “After reviewing some of the points brought up by Atty. Dan Silver, General Manager Gary Porter, and a letter to the editor of the Berlin Citizen by an astute Berlinite… we just saw the light. It’s all in the way you choose to view the situation. If you just take a moment, you can appreciate all the positives, and forget all the negative aspects so many have been dwelling on.”

    Asked to elaborate, another neighbor offered these selling points,”Well, to be honest, I never considered the convenience of not having to drive all the way to Hartford to buy a little sexy something for my wife’s birthday! With VIP just a few doors down, I can just pop in on my way home from work, without having to go the extra ten miles into that dangerous industrial section of Hartford.”

    A mother of three chimed in saying “With 3 kids, its hard to find time to “spice things up,” if you know what I mean. Now that I know it’s really a romance shop, maybe it can help revive my less-than-spicy marriage and keep my husband off the computer for a while. Really, I mean, I hear these stores actually SAVE marriages.”

    Aren’t you concerned about property values? One resident answered that “At first, I WAS, but since that letter in the Citizen pointed out that maybe if we just give them a chance, VIP will go out of their way to be a “low-key, unobtrusive” adult business, you know, that quitely blends in with the neighborhood. I’m not concerned anymore that they might paint it the same color as the Manchester location. As far as potential pornographic litter, I’m sure that they have parking lot clean up on an hourly basis.”

    What about other potential problems in the parking lot? “Oh, I am sure that they must have security surveillance at all times! I mean, would people actually DO something sexual in a parking lot?”

    One neighbor said she was even considering getting a part-time job at the store. “Why not? I could walk to work and save on gas. I mean, besides bringing down taxes, VIP is even bringing JOBS to Berlin!”
    And what about the imact on the children? “Oh, I don’t know what the fuss is. They’re just going to see these things on TV anyways… this stuff is so mainstream, they probably have seen it all already.”

    Asked for his take on the turnaround, Mayor Adam Salina said “You know, I never thought of these things either. Maybe we should embrace VIP, and other stores like it, and promote Berlin as the Sex-positive Mecca of Central Connecticut. Maybe we could get a billboard that says “Berlin, your place for hometown porn, around every corner!”

    Gary Porter, VIP general manager stated “I KNEW these people would come around after I just EXPLAINED the benefits we have to offer!”

    As I was reviewing my notes for this article, I noticed the date of the meeting: Sunday, April 1, 2007. APRIL FOOLS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    VIP General Manager: “What did they expect?”

    Posted in About VIP by Laura MIchaud on March 22, 2007

    Tuesday evening, the day news was released about AG Blumenthal filing an “Amicus Curiae” about the VIP lawsuit against the town of Berlin, a news crew from channel 8 showed up at my door, asking for a response to the news. One of the reporters questions was did I think we would win in court now that the state was involved. I answered something to the effect that while I was feeling pretty confident, I would never want to be arrogant and say I was sure we would win.

    Later, when watching the broadcast, I was appalled to see VIP general manager Gary Porter spouting off a comment that went something like “These people need to get real. They bought homes on the Berlin Turnpike… What did they expect?”

    First of all, we don’t live ON the Berlin Turnpike, and neither is the entrance to the VIP parking lot on the Berlin Turnpike. I live on a residential side street that meets the Berlin Turnpike, leading into an entire neighborhood of streets. Even if I DID own a house on the Berlin Turnpike, were we supposed to EXPECT a 15,000 sq. ft. porn shop, and welcome it to the neighborhood? I will grant that the Berlin Turnpike is a commercial road, but there are many areas of this road, like shopping plazas, that do not come within 250′ of residential areas. There is ONE strip club, Centerfolds, which is in Berlin on the Berlin Tnpk., and ONE very, very small adult video store in Berlin on the Berlin Tnpk. Other clubs are located several miles down the pike in Meriden, and The Gentleman’s club in Newington. All of which I believe are not abutting residential property.

    Mr. Porter is not the brightest bulb in the pack…
    Here are a couple more gems he’s given the media:

    From the New Britain Herald 11/17/06
    “We’ll be helping the community, maybe not Berlin, but surrounding communities,” Porter said jokingly, “community service is what we’re all about.” and, the definition of sex positive is “a nice way of saying adult material aides.”

    From WTNH 11/1/06
    “We keep all our stores low profile,” says Gary Porter, VIP.

    (See pic or store at post titled “Manchester VIP Experience”)

    Porter also told the Hartford Courant 1/27/07
    Porter genially called the cease-and-desist order part of “the minor hurdles, the bump and grind.” He also said that neighbors have been “harassing” them through phone calls to the police.

    I made one call to report a tractor trailer was being unloaded at the back of the store 2 days after they illegally put up signs and were being issued a cease and desist order.

    Porter has continually made ridiculous remarks to the media. I actually thing we, the neighbors, have been pretty restrained. For example, none of us said anything to the media about owner Dominick DeMartino also owning the Chef’s Equipment Emporium in Wallingford, because we have hoped he would decide to put a Chef’s in the Berlin location instead of VIP. I even sent Silver a letter suggesting that we would welcome Chef’s. After several attempts to interview the owner failed, the Berlin Citizen did give a brief mention of this.

    Some people might not want to give their business to people who promote pornography. What do you expect? “When you lie down with dogs, you get fleas.”

    Attorney General files Amicus Curiae

    Posted in fighting SOBs by Laura MIchaud on March 21, 2007

    I am pleased the the Connecticut Attorney General, Richard Blumenthal, has filed an “Amicus Curiae,” or “Friend of the Court” brief in U.S. District court regarding the lawsuit VIP has brought against the Town of Berlin.
    Blumenthal said he would do this at our meeting on February 8th, and he was true to his word.

    According to the Brittanica Encyclopedia, Amicus Curiae is One who assists a court by furnishing information or advice regarding questions of law or fact. A person (or other entity, such as a state government) who is not a party to a particular lawsuit but nevertheless has a strong interest in it may be allowed, by leave of the court, to file an amicus curiae brief, a statement of particular views on the subject matter of the lawsuit. Such briefs are often filed in cases involving public-interest matters (e.g., entitlement programs, consumer protection, civil rights).

    Here is a press release from the AG office:

    TUESDAY, MARCH 20, 2007

    Attorney General Richard Blumenthal today asked a federal court to uphold the rights of municipalities to regulate sexually oriented businesses within their borders.

    Blumenthal sided with Berlin, which is fighting VIP – a sexually oriented store chain – seeking a permit to open a store in that town. VIP is suing Berlin for refusing the permit. Under its Sexually Oriented Business Ordinance, Berlin prohibits such stores from operating within 250 feet from any residentially zoned land, as VIP is proposing.

    Blumenthal said this case is significant because it threatens not only Berlin, but towns and cities statewide that have enacted similar ordinances involving sexually oriented businesses. Those municipalities include Ansonia, Branford, Bristol, Cromwell, Ellington, Enfield, Fairfield, Griswold, Hartford, Mansfield, Meriden, Rocky Hill, Seymour, Southington, South Windsor, West Hartford and Wethersfield.

    In an amicus brief filed in U.S. District Court, Blumenthal said courts across the nation – including the U.S. Supreme Court – have upheld ordinances regulating sexually oriented businesses based on evidence of their adverse secondary effects.

    The adverse effects of sexually oriented businesses are well documented, showing increased crime, especially sex-related crimes, reduced property values, the deterioration of neighboring businesses, and a lower quality of life for residents in the surrounding area, Blumenthal said.

    “Berlin is the battleground – a test case for town authority statewide – to regulate such businesses within their borders,” Blumenthal said. “Across the state, cities and towns face proliferating sexually oriented businesses, including adult bookstores, adult theaters, massage parlors, and facilities featuring live nude entertainment.

    “In every town and every fight involving these businesses the goal is the same – to protect citizens from the adverse secondary effects of sexually oriented businesses, including increased crime, lowered property values, and a deterioration of the neighborhood.

    “Upholding the right to regulate sexually oriented businesses is not only consistent with the First Amendment, but ensures that cities and towns statewide will have authority to enforce ordinances that protect the health and safety of their citizens and quality of life.”

    Berlin Mayor Adam Salina said, “The residents of Berlin greatly appreciate the assistance of the Attorney General in this vitally important fight to maintain the quality of life in our town. Berlin will continue its fight, in partnership with the Attorney General.”

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