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Adult Merchant agrees to dismantle display

Montclair, New Jersey – Jeffrey Namer says he’s now willing to remove objectionable items from his display window at Montclair Video.

The window display of such items as “The Erogenous Zone” game and “LoveJam” lotion was the catalyst for the Montclair council’s unanimous adoption Tuesday of an ordinance prohibiting the display of “obscene” material in store windows.

“Not that we’re in any violation,” Namer said yesterday. “It’s the good-neighbor policy. We’ll do whatever is needed to make everybody happy.”

Thomas Lonergan, who as executive director of the business improvement district Montclair Center Corp. took issue with the display, said his organization and Montclair code enforcement officials had raised objections before pursuing the ordinance.

“We look forward to taking him up on his offer,” Lonergan said.

The ordinance, drafted by the township attorney, makes it a petty disorderly persons offense to display obscene material in a store window, with maximum penalties of a $1,000 fine and 90 days in jail.

On Monday, Namer defended his right to display the games, lotions and lingerie in a roughly 4-foot-wide section of his video- rental store’s window.

He pointed to other stores with racy displays and advertising, such as Victoria’s Secret and Abercrombie & Fitch. “What we have is what Spencer Gifts would have — the handcuffs, the games, the lotions. They’re in every mall.”

Yesterday, Namer said he had not yet removed any items from the window of his Bloomfield Avenue store, which rents mainstream and adult videos as well as selling the games and lotions.

“I haven’t removed it. I intend to remove the items that they’re speaking about,” he said.

Donald Zief — who as 3rd Ward councilman sits on the board of Montclair Center Corp. — had said the intention of the ordinance was to remove “obscene material” from the eyes of passers-by.

“We’re trying to do whatever we can to help merchants in the business district. We want people not to be afraid to come downtown and bring their children.”

Mayor Robert Russo, who was ill and couldn’t attend Tuesday night’s meeting for what ended as a 6-0 vote, said he’s taken calls about other window displays.

“I did have a lot of people call me. There’s other stores, in the same general area, that could be offensive or legally questionable,” he said. “Somebody told me there’s stores with skulls.”

Zief, who noted that the ordinance doesn’t take effect for 20 days, said there’s an important distinction to be made.

“Many people may find that what’s in his window is inappropriate,” Zief said. “Our ordinance talks about what’s obscene. What’s inappropriate to some people might not be obscene under the law. It’s important that people know that.”
 

 

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