Two women, one from Mercer County and one from Ocean County, showed up at the Monmouth County Correctional Institution this morning to protest hunger striking Phoenix Feeley’s incarceration and anti-toplessness laws. They kept their tops on.
Sue Vliet, of Toms River, identified herself as an admin of One Million Vaginas, a feminist organization dedicated to empowering women to take their vagina’s back from invasive conservative politicians, was one of the two protestors. Her sign said, “STOP THE DOUBLE STANDARD. FREE OUR BREASTS.” Vliet said she was protesting the “double standard and draconian laws” that allow men that to bare their chests in public, but not women.
Judith Sherwood of Mercer County read a letter from GoTopless.org in support of Feeley. You can hear that letter by viewing the video below.
Sherwood said she wasn’t raising money to pay Feeley’s $816 fine, which would end the incarceration, as a matter of principle. Sherwood and Vliet both said they were not protesting topless and risking arrest themselves, because their protest was not about going topless.
Tells Judge He’s Sentencing Her To Death, Says She’s Been Naked For Four Days
photo via PhoenixFeeley.com
Fire breathing topless activist Phoenix Feeley told Spring Lake Municipal Court Judge George Pappas that he was sentencing her to death by giving her the option of serving 16 days in the Monmouth County Correctional Institution or paying a $816.oo fine for going topless in Spring Lake in 2008, according to a report on NJ.com. Pappas gave Feeley credit for the four days she’s been incarcerated since she surrendered in Spring Lake on Monday.
“I refuse to pay a fine for an act that is legal for a man but is illegal for a woman,” 33-year-old artist Phoenix Feeley told Spring Lake Municipal Court Judge George Pappas via teleconference from the Monmouth County Correctional Institution in Freehold Township on Thursday morning.
Feeley was arrested twice in the same day in 2008 while sunbathing in Spring Lake.
Authorities charged her with violating an ordinance banning public nudity. Feeley argued that going topless was not the same as going nude, and that women, like men, should be able to bare their chests in public.
Congressman Frank Pallone stopped at Asbury Park’s Night Out celebration this evening where Mayor Myra Campbell introduced him as a candidate for “State Senate.”
MMM caught up with Pallone for a brief moment before the formal festivities and asked him to take a question about equal rights. He said he couldn’t answer whether women should have the right go topless wherever men do because no one had ever asked him that question before.
As if the weather wasn’t a damper enough to the Jersey Shore kickoff that Superstorm Sandy ravished businesses, their employees and shore area municipalities desperately need, the shore’s biggest newspaper, and its most popular columnist/blogger are working against us too.
What is really insulting, is that the APP blatantly show how ignorant they are about the New Jersey economy, our tax structure and the cost allocation of our various governments.
There is another logical reason for making the beaches free: revitalizing the Shore economy. What better extra inducement to get people to come to the Jersey Shore? Free beaches could mean millions of dollars in additional revenues for towns. More money spent in restaurants and bars, on summer rentals and motel stays, on souvenirs, on gasoline. For some families, beach fees are prohibitive. For a family of four, they can run $40 or more. That kind of expense can make the difference between going to the beach or staying home. Or between going once or twice a summer instead of several times during the season.
Doing away with beach badges would be a logical thing to do if it would bring revenues to shore towns. Duh! Why didn’t the mayors think of that!?
The New York City Police Department has reminded its 34,000 officers than women appearing in public “simply exposing their breasts” have committed no crime, according to a report in The New York Times.
New York’s highest court decided in 1992 the law which prohibited females exposing their breasts below the top of the areola violated the equal protection clauses of the Federal and New York Constitutions. The equal protection clause is part of the 14th amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
Topless advocate Moira Johston says that baring breasts is a human rights issue and a health issue. She says public toplessness would reduce the incidents of breast cancer. (Warning, the link features Johnston speaking topless, which is considered nude in New Jersey, but not in New York.)
New Jersey’s courts have taken a different view of female public toplessness.
In September of 2011 the Appellate Division of the New Jersey Superior Court upheld a Spring Lake Borough ordinance that considers female toplessness lewd and indecent. Affirming a 2001 case, the Court ruled that there is no constitutional right for women to appear topless in public and that and restrictions on the exposure of the female breast are supported by the important governmental interest in safeguarding the public’s moral sensibilities.
As the summer season approaches, female beach goers and roadside rallyers are advised to keep their tops on in New Jersey.
The project assessed 540 municipal websites in New Jersey for content, ease of use and citizen interaction.
Red Bank’s site earned an Honorable Mention, coming in 22nd on the list of 540. Five other Monmouth County sites were in the top 100, barely. Spring Lake’s site is ranked #82, Manasquan #89, Tinton Falls #91, Belmar #93 and Marlboro #95.
Death threats, charges of racism and the disapproval of his neighbors couldn’t get Bill Skuby to remove a photo altered to depict President Obama as a witch doctor from the window display of his high end mens clothing store in Spring Lake.
Click on photo for full view
Skuby removed the photo, “for now” he says, that has generated strong reactions, both pro and con, from his window display yesterday. He said respect for the office of President of the United States and the bullying that his bi-racial granddaughter has experienced since the controversy has emerged moved him to remove the photo that has generated nationwide attention. He said he will decide whether to put the controversial photo back into the display on Monday.
Skuby has been using one of his windows for edgy advertising for years. His Halloween display mocked President Obama last year too. This year he added the witch doctor photo over the words Obama Care with the C in Care being a Soviet hammer and sickle and a black hat with F.Y.B.O. embroidered in white on the front and S.L.N.J. Tea Party embroidered on the back. The hats are for sale for $25 and Skuby says the proceeds are going to charity.
This year Skuby’s display is making an impact beyond the borders of the tony town on the Irish Rivera.
Spring Lake resident Barbara Parnell walked past the display on Monday and found it to be “overtly racist.” Parnell called the clothing manufacturers who supply Skuby’s store to complain. She told them that the press had been alerted. “I plead the 5th amendment,” Purnell said when asked directly if she alerted the press. Later during a phone interview she said that one of the people quoted in the Asbury Park Press’s initial article about the display, not her, alerted the media to the display that she said “does not represent the Spring Lake business community.”
While Skuby seemed to be enjoying and cashing in on the publicity on Tuesday and during radio interviews on Wednesday morning, when MMM visited his store on Wednesday afternoon the ugly phone calls and emails from all over the country as well as the negative reaction of his fellow business owners on Third Ave were taking a toll on him and his wife Gail.
“90% percent of the reaction has been positive and supportive, but the 10% has been over the top,” said Skuby, “I’ve gotten six death threats and someone threatened to destroy the store if the display is not removed. I’m resigning from the Chamber of Commerce and the Business Improvement District, putting my house on the market and moving my business out of town when my lease expires at the end of the year.”
During a phone interview on Thursday, Skuby said that about half of the negative responses he received were not about race, but about respect for the office of the presidency. “That’s what got me to take it down. I’m not sure I will keep it out of the window, but I see their point.”