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Postell: 'Pull 'em up'

ALBANY, Ga. -- The same day the elected head of a central Georgia city signed into law an ordinance aimed at cracking down on what he believed was a chronic problem with Dublin's droopy britches, some on the Albany City Commission again called for a similar ordinance in Albany.

On Tuesday, Dublin Mayor Phil Best signed an ordinance adopted by the City Council that makes it a violation of the city code to have saggy pants.

In Albany, Best's actions prompted Ward 6 Commissioner Tommie Postell to reiterate his call for an ordinance aimed at keeping pants off the ground in Albany as he asked to have the discussion put on the commission's next meeting agenda.

"It's disrespectful and obscene," Postell said. "No one in this town wants to see anyone's underwear."

Postell hasn't been alone in his call to make regulations tighter for visible boxers. His counterpart on the Dougherty County Commission, Jack Stone, brought up the measure earlier this year before withdrawing his request for an ordinance.

While several cities have similar ordinances, many people familiar with constitutional law believe the ordinances could prompt litigation and that saggy pants doesn't rise to the level of an obscenity.

Just last month, a New York judge tossed out a case from the Bronx Municipal Court, ruling the practice of wearing one's pants loosely below the waist was distasteful and foolish, but wasn't illegal.

The practice was thrust into the national spotlight after former civil rights activist General Larry Platt sang his original song "Pants on the Ground," mocking men who take part in the practice, on "The American Idol."

Davis said he has sent Postell information he's been able to find, but the challenge in constructing an ordinance is to write one that doesn't target the person's constitutionally protected freedom of expression.

"It's a challenge because there are constitutional issues, but some have looked at approaching it through like a lewd behavior statute," Davis said. "I've sent some information to the commissioner on what I've been able to find."

On Tuesday, Postell asked Albany Police Chief John Proctor his opinion on such an ordinance. Proctor replied that enforcement likely would become problematic given the limited manpower and that there would be concerns on what punitive measures would be taken, such as ticketing or arrests, and their impact at the Dougherty County Jail.