OREM -- Earlier this month, Orem resident Judy Cox addressed the seven members of the Orem City Council, asking for their support in voicing concern over lewd T-shirts sold at the PacSun store in University Mall.
On Tuesday the council heeded her call, signing a letter to PacSun management asking the company to refrain from selling and displaying inappropriate materials in the city.
"Thank you to the mayor and council for standing up for decency in Orem," said Cox, who was joined by several speakers who implored the city to be more proactive in setting a better community standard. "This is not an issue of what is available for adult purchase, rather of a corporation marketing and profiting from sexually enticing and explicit material to minors.
"I believe the request to PacSun to be a responsible corporate citizen in protecting our teens and children is appropriate, and it reflects our mutual concern for our children, families, and community."
The letter was signed by Mayor Richard Brunst and all council members except Brent Sumner, who pulled his name. Councilman Tom Macdonald's name also did not appear on the letter because he was out of town and was unable to sign it.
In part, the letter said:
"Although our city attorney declined to file criminal charges in this case, I, as the Mayor of Orem, and the following City Council members wish to personally register our disapproval of this type of offensive display. As the display could be readily viewed by both minors and adults, we found the display to be especially inappropriate. We believe that this type of public display is objectionable, not just to us, but to many of the citizens of Orem."
The letter then asks PacSun to refrain from such practices.
"We value our children and do not want to subject them to this kind of public display in our mall," the letter continued. "Please reconsider your actions and respect our community standards. Also, please be aware that many concerned citizens in our community have raised their voices against this kind of display."
Sumner defended his reasoning for pulling his name from the letter even though he still believes it was inappropriate for the store to sell and display the shirts.
"I don't agree with the displays and don't support stores that sell these types of things," Sumner said. "I don't think we should be sending letters to businesses. I don't like government telling businesses how to run their business.
"You voice your opposition by not supporting or shopping at the store," he added. "However, if there is a violation of the law, shut them down."
In this case, the city determined no law or ordinance was broken.
"I agree with Mr. Sumner -- the first line of defense against obscenity lies with the consumer," Cox said. "I disagree that as a council member and citizen of Orem he cannot speak out against immoral activities whether illegal or not. The council's letter does not dictate to PacSun -- it requests responsiveness to the culture of 'Family City USA.'
"That our laws state these T-shirts are illegal is clear. If those laws cannot be enforced, we must re-visit them. Asking corporations to be socially responsible is certainly appropriate and the right of every citizen, even council members."