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Nipple areolas okayed in Boulder -- but nudity ordinance hasn't been stripped bare

Yesterday, we told you about the objections of the ACLU's Judd Golden to a proposed nudity ordinance slated for its first reading before the Boulder City Council.

At the session, portions of the measure dealing with what Golden previously described as "measurements to see if the areola of a woman's breast is exposed or checking people's underwear" were excised. But the rest of it moved forward -- and Golden now believes the regulation is being pushed by the Boulder Police Department as a way to permanently squash such events as the Naked Pumpkin Run and a potential revival of the Halloween-themed Boulder Mall Crawl.

Golden had a slew of problems with the proposed ordinance, and in his opinion, "The council was receptive to our concerns. But they said they wanted more public input, and this wasn't a public hearing -- so while I think there's significant sentiment on the council not to go forward with this approach, they just weren't ready to make that decision."

Nonetheless, language that made a distinction between nudity as it applied to men and women was junked. "They felt it was not good city policy to treat men and women differently," he says.

Despite the meeting's not technically being a public meeting, there was a public-participation opportunity during which Golden and five or six others spoke against the ordinance and one person supported it; Golden describes this last man as "the one all the TV stations talked to. He said, 'I don't want my kids seeing naked people in Boulder.'"

As the discussion went on, Golden says, "the dynamics and the underlying reason for this became more apparent -- which is, basically, it's being done to shut down the Mall Crawl. Someone said, 'Look, that's why the police and others are pushing for this.' The police feel they've got to shut down things like the Naked Pumpkin Run because it will cause more people to come downtown on Halloween."

In Golden's view, this motivation brings the entire plan into question.

"That's not the way you should pass laws," he says. "Laws have general applications. We shouldn't pass laws to target two events."

The measure has support on the council from those members "who seem to want to do whatever the police ask them to," Golden says. But other members "have open minds on the subject," and he hopes they'll become more opposed when the concept is given a second reading in a public-hearing setting -- perhaps as early as Tuesday, February 16, although the topic could be set aside for a future hearing. "That should give us a better measure of the number of people who feel it's unnecessary," Golden says.

"I respect the process," he goes on, "and if they say they want to have a public hearing to get more input, that's fine. But the central question is whether they should have pursued this at all."

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts

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