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Not a Sexually-Oriented Business!

I know my pheromones are legendary, but oh my! A mystery character has given me too much credit and complained! They are calling the Belmont a sexually-oriented business. But why?! Well it all starts with a few Kegel balls and hard-as-rock phallic sculptures. Don't be jealous—you can be a goddess too! We all can!



Why deprive Superior and the world of strong pelvic floors? It is time to de-stigmatize women's health! Said to be haunted, the Belmont served as a brothel from the 1930's through the 1950's. If you take issue with our Kegel ball inventory, you'll also have about fifteen lady ghosts upstairs shaking their heads at you. Ever since the new madam arrived (that's me—Nicolette Taylor), my ladies of the night have been learning a few lessons!


We are getting ready to share these lessons in female empowerment with the world! Come back soon for our new show, Bessie's Boudoir, where we explore socio-political and socio-economic topics meant to transform your meek habits to mighty habits!


That's what Belmont represents... the mighty power of the divine feminine. At the Belmont, we worship the full global pantheon of goddesses. This year, we are focused on channeling the powers of Kali and Durga. Learn more about these two powerhouses in Bessie's Boudoir!


In the meantime, we have some business to discuss.


At approximately 07:00 on Wednesday, 20 December 2023, the Belmont Hotel posted the below advertisement as a strategic, last-minute shopping prompt for the holidays. The poster was visible from the East windows of our Gallery and Gift Shop, which primarily sells fine art and crystals.


Around noon this same day, I was in the east alley watering the Belmont’s roses with my infant foster son on my hip, when I was approached by the Superior Police Department (PD). The officer, who was only doing his job and shall remain nameless, was on an “unofficial errand.” He stated the Town wanted me to take down my poster. When I asked why, he stated, “I really am not sure, it has something to do with licensing and being a sexually oriented business. They told me to give you this...” The officer then handed me an excerpt from the Town Code.

 

I asked, “Does this have specifics highlighted in the text for me to reference as to what exactly I am doing wrong?” He wasn’t sure and stated that he was confused by the request. After agreeing with me that the subject poster contained no nudity or profanity, we discussed the poster’s topic—which is the Belmont’s relatively small Kegel ball inventory. The officer was unaware of the purpose for Kegel balls. I joked and said, “Well this should make for some interesting body cam footage.” I then explained to the officer that our Kegel balls were simply rock spheres, as picture below, and are not used during sexual intercourse. Instead, they are a women’s health tool for strengthening the pelvic floor. This health need becomes more critical as women age and should not be discriminated against nor considered a sexually-oriented product.



At the conclusion of the PD visit, the officer assured me this was not a police call, I was not in trouble, and I was not being ticketed in any way. From what he could tell, this was a civil issue. I told him point blank, “Since I don’t know what is going on here, and you don’t know what is going on here, why don’t you go back to the Town and tell them to put something in writing for my Attorney to review.” We agreed that was the best course of action. I politely declined to take the poster down as sufficient rationale was not presented.

 

After the officer departed, I immediately called Town Manager Todd Pryor. Highlights from our dialog are below and are accurate to the best of my memory:

 

Taylor: Hi Todd, So… I just had the cops show up telling me to take my poster down. What is going on?

 

Pryor: Well, you are a sexually oriented business. And that requires a special license.

 

Taylor: I’m not sure I understand why since Kegel balls are a women’s health tool for strengthening the pelvic floor.

 

Pryor: Well, we also know about the phalluses. They were posted on Facebook.

 

Taylor: Oh yes, we do have solid rose quartz phallic sculptures. So that brings us to a good topic. I’ve been meaning to ask what the rules are when it comes to nudity in fine art, as there will likely be paintings in the future containing nude figures.

 

Pryor: I’m really not sure, this is all new to me.

 

Taylor: Okay, well I totally understand that. Can you point me to the text where it states I’ve done something wrong?

 

Pryor: Well, no… it’s very complicated, you’ll just have to read the whole thing.

 

Taylor: Sure, well can you tell me how much the sexually oriented business license costs?

 

Pryor: It’s $750.00

 

Taylor: Oh! Well great, that’s no problem at all! $750 is nothing. I’m happy to pay that!

 

Pryor: Well, it’s quite the process. It’s not that easy. It’s very involved.

 

Taylor: Okay, well sounds like I need to do some reading. I am sure you are very busy too since it is almost Christmas. So how about I take a look at this after the holidays and get back with you on our path forward.

 

I then followed up with an email, confirming our conversation and assuring him the Belmont would remain closed until the licensing was handled. The phallic sculptures being discussed are shown below.



Earlier this week, I finally found the time to read the documentation provided by Mr. Pryor. The Town Code provides absolutely no definition of a sexually oriented business, which means we default to County and State Statute. According to SB1162 - 432R - C Ver regarding adult oriented businesses:

 

5. "ADULT ORIENTED BUSINESS" MEANS ADULT ARCADES, ADULT BOOK STORES OR ADULT VIDEO STORES, CABARETS, ADULT LIVE ENTERTAINMENT ESTABLISHMENTS, ADULT MOTION PICTURE THEATERS, ADULT THEATERS, MASSAGE ESTABLISHMENTS THAT OFFER ADULT SERVICE OR NUDE MODEL STUDIOS.


After reviewing these business categories, the only category even remotely applicable to the Belmont’s Gallery and Gift Shop is Paragraph 2. "Adult bookstore or video store,” which is defined as follows:


2. "Adult bookstore or video store" means a commercial establishment that offers for sale or rent any of the following as one of its principal business purposes:


(a) Books, magazines, periodicals or other printed matter, photographs, films, motion pictures, videocassettes or reproductions or slides or other visual representations that depict or describe specific sexual activities or specific anatomical areas.


(b) Instruments, devices or paraphernalia that are designed for use in connection with specific sexual activities.


From this definition, the Kegel ball inventory does not qualify. However, I do see how the phallic sculptures could be considered a visual representation that depicts a specific anatomical area. That said, the statute further elaborates on the qualifications to meet the criterion of “principal business purpose.” According to Paragraph 15,

 

"PRINCIPAL BUSINESS PURPOSES" MEANS THAT A COMMERCIAL ESTABLISHMENT DERIVES FIFTY PER CENT OR MORE OF ITS GROSS INCOME FROM THE SALE OR RENTAL OF ITEMS LISTED IN PARAGRAPH 2.

 

The Belmont’s phallic sculptures range in price between $32.00 to $38.00 depending on the stone content, clarity, and weight. That said, the Belmont’s inventory ranges between $4.50 for our smallest stones to over $300 for our larger crystal formations. Our fine art ranges in $7.50 for bookmarks all the way to over $6,000.00 per painting for our top performing international artist, Vladamir Prodanovich. The phallic sculptures represent a tiny fraction of the Belmont’s overall revenue. They serve as a simple marketing strategy highlighting the Belmont’s unique history as a haunted brothel. This novelty and Bessie O’Brien’s legacy is most certainly an attraction for tourism and should not be discriminated against.


If the Town Attorney requires additional information on my inventory to close this silly complaint, I am more than happy to supply this information. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, “Transparency is key to proper governance, and it is how I do business.” The photos below illustrate my current inventory. Only three phallic sculptures are on display at any given time, which means even by count and not dollar value, these do not represent 50% of the total inventory on display.



PATH FORWARD

The Belmont will continue its careful preservation and restoration of the Belmont Hotel and looks forward to reopening our Gallery and Gift Shop during the upcoming Apache Leap Mining Festival. Hope to see you there!




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