All It Takes is One Nut Job

FOR DOWNLOAD MORE GALLERY Mayor John Stromberg of Ashland, Oregon, has changed his mind about officially banning nudity around schools, even though he recently was opposed to such an ordinance.
When he cast the tie-breaking vote in September, Stromberg said he thought the issue would be better handled through a citizens' initiative process, in which residents get the issue on the ballot themselves if they can gather enough signatures.

He said the city had only had one case of a man being nude near a school, and that man had agreed to stay away from schools.

Earlier this summer, Tony Cooper, who was from California, upset some residents for his nude strolls through Ashland, especially when he appeared naked near Walker Elementary School as children were walking home.

"I'm changing my position because this latest case involves someone who says he came to Ashland from Minnesota in order to be naked near our schools," Stromberg stated in his Wednesday e-mail to city and school staff and the Daily Tidings. "I think we want to avoid becoming an attraction for exhibitionists using our school children."
Although the man from Minnesota is causing alarm, there is no evidence that he is a sex offender, or that there's any legal reason that he cannot be around children. But that hasn't stopped people from getting very angry, including one man who threatened to "kick his ass", even though the man is legally within his rights. Oregon has no law banning nudity, only public indecency, which would involve sexual arousal.

I want to be clear that I personally don't support this nude man, would never suggest that anyone confront the public with nudity to cause alarm, and that nudists and naturists should condemn his disturbing behavior in no uncertain terms.

But the issue here is not really nudity, yet the mayor and city councilors are now set to ban nudity. The real issue is this lone nut job, who is hanging around schools scaring children, and is behaving contrary to what is acceptable in public. Does anyone really think this man would be any less creepy with pants on? Is anyone really going to feel safer around this man simply because he's being forced to wear clothes? In days gone by, the citizens would simply "run him out of town on a rail", which actually seems like a pretty good idea in this case.

Oregon has gotten along just fine all these years without banning nudity. There is no reason to write laws which restrict all citizens simply because of the behavior or a loner. If this man is upsetting children and parents with his behavior, he should be able to be controlled with current laws which prohibit creating a disturbance.

Even though an anti-nudity ordinance will not solve the problem, it will make many people "feel" better, and politicians will have the opportunity to put on a show for the voters.

Ashland Police Chief Terry Holderness weighed in:
"If someone is not violating the law, we are very limited in what we can do, even if the community is concerned about the activity in question. In situations like this, the most we can legally and ethically do is determine whether or not a law is being broken and attempt to keep the peace."
That sounds like a pretty good policy. Ashland should stick with it. FOR WATCH MORE VIDEO