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Sandy Springs Plans War On Smut

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Creating a new city government from scratch apparently isn't enough of a challenge.

In addition to deciding such pressing matters as how to structure a fire department and handle zoning issues, prominent supporters of the incorporation of Sandy Springs are semi-quietly strategizing to run strip clubs and other adult-oriented businesses out of town - as soon as they have a town, that is.

Eva Galambos, long the leading advocate for the proposed city, says cleaning up the area's morally questionable establishments is "definitely one of the objectives of this community."

"We've got spas up and down Roswell Road that are brothels, adult book stores, and smoke shops that I know have marijuana," says Galambos, who is the front-runner and, indeed, only declared candidate for mayor.

If voters give the city the go-ahead in a June 21 referendum, then elections for mayor and council members would be scheduled for Nov. 2.

Fulton County Commissioner Tom Lowe, who's represented Sandy Springs for the past 30 years, says he was surprised to learn that many local civic leaders intend to make it a top priority, once they have their city charter in hand, to go after the venerable Flashers strip club and other local adult businesses - a potentially expensive and risky undertaking, even for established governments.

"I told them they need to set aside $5 million to fight that battle for the next 10 years," says Lowe, who had a front-row seat when Fulton County lost its own legal battle to restrict nude dancing a few years back.

But the anti-smut brigade is undeterred. Last month, the Committee for Sandy Springs, a pro-incorporation group headed by Galambos, mailed a fundraising letter to residents warning that "opponents like the sex industry ... will spend thousands to defeat the referendum."

Those are fighting words to Alan Begner, Atlanta's leading adult-entertainment attorney, who just so happens to live in Sandy Springs.

"The adult industry could care less whether Sandy Springs becomes a city," he says. "[Galambos] is just trying to inflame conservatives."

Begner already is suing Fulton County for refusing to allow a new Starship adult-novelty store to open in Sandy Springs. He's also attempting to defeat an untested county ordinance that prevents another client, Maxim Cabaret on Roswell Road, from serving alcohol while offering nude dancing.

What would happen if the new city of Sandy Springs were to step into the county's shoes and take up those legal battles?

"That would be very interesting," Begner says.

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