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County to address nude show debate

Fresh from his battles against The Last Temptation of Christ, smutty bumper stickers, contraceptive education in schools and the sale of Playboy in convenience stores, David E. Caton starts waging a new war today: to keep nude dancing king Joe Redner out of Brandon. Caton, director of the American Family Association of Florida, is scheduled to appear before the County Commission at 1:30 p.m. today to suggest that Hillsborough County adopt a new adult entertainment ordinance.

"The bottom line is to show the county commissioners viable alternatives to protect society from the criminal patterns invoked by these types of businesses," Caton said.

Redner, who called Caton "a religious fanatic who doesn't care whether what he's doing is right or wrong," said he would go to the meeting to see what happens.

But the ordinance Caton is suggesting probably wouldn't do anything to stop Redner, who plans to open the Mons II in the former SunBank building on State Road 60 in Brandon by March 1.

The ordinance calls for revocation of the occupational license of anyone who commits a felony or first-degree misdemeanor in connection with his business. Redner has been arrested plenty of times, but he has never been convicted of a felony or first-degree misdemeanor in connection with his nude dancing businesses, said Tampa Assistant City Attorney Mike Larrinaga.

Redner's only felony conviction was for cocaine possession at a Tampa Bay Buccaneers game in 1983.

Redner's zoning problems in the city, in which he was convicted of having a nude dancing club within 500 feet of a residential area, amount only to a second-degree misdemeanor, Larrinaga said.

Anyway, the county already has an occupational licensing ordinance that allows commissioners to revoke licenses if the holder commits a felony or first-degree misdemeanor in connection with his business, said Assistant County Attorney Vincent Marchetti.

But Hillsborough Commissioner Jim Selvey, whose district includes Brandon, put Caton on the agenda in hopes of hearing the available options.

"I think you could say that every effort will be used to legally restrict him from opening that type of establishment," Selvey said. "Redner isn't from Brandon, and to impose on a community something it doesn't want I think is highly unfair."

Assistant County Administrator Jim Bourey said the county staff still is reviewing its position on whether Redner's business violates zoning codes.

The county restricts adult establishments from opening within 2,000 feet of schools, churches and day-care centers. There's nothing in the area of that nature, but that could change.

Maribeth Steinlen, part-owner of the Florida Suncoast Gymnastic Academy, which is within 2,000 feet of the proposed Mons II, announced plans on Tuesday to open a kindergarten at the business March 1.

Three children and their parents attended an orientation for the kindergarten Tuesday, Steinlen said, explaining that the academy had planned to start the kindergarten next fall. But plans were moved up when Redner's plans were announced, and the parents of gymnasts became edgy about their children doing cartwheels next door to Redner's club.

"We figured if we don't do this now, we may not have a business in September," Steinlen said.