Cracking down on droopy drawers - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

Cracking down on droopy drawers

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Reporter: John Bachman

Update: Pull 'em up or pay the price. Riviera Beach bans saggy pants in public. Seventy-two percent of voters decided they don't want to see people with pants hanging below their waists.

The first offense carries a $150 fine or community service. The second offense results in a $300 fine. After that, violators could spend up to 60 days in jail.

Previously: Voters hit the polls Tuesday to decide if one local city should have the right to tell you how to dress. On the ballot: A referendum that would make it illegal to wear saggy pants and show your underwear.

Some Riviera Beach residents support the referendum, but that doesn't mean they are going to vote for it.

There are 21 referendum questions on the ballot. The last question is the one about baggy pants and people's right to wear them.

It's a fashion trend that's popular well beyond the streets of Riviera Beach. Baggy pants dipping dangerously close to knees and sometimes even the ankles. But, it's a trend some people are hoping to see stopped.

"Kids should have more dignity about themselves, and they should respect each other and respect themselves," says Marvin Walker.

One of the people hoping to put an end to sagging pants is Riviera Beach Mayor Thomas Masters. "This is indecent exposure that we are seeing on a day-to-day basis."

The mayor has been stumping for support on the issue since he first floated the idea last year. Since then, he says, 4,700 people have signed a petition supporting the baggy pants ban.

But on the night before the vote, opinions seem mixed.

Reporter asks, "You don't think that the city of Riviera Beach has the right to tell you how to dress?"

Johnson replies, "No, I don't think so. They need to look into other things, man, you know."

In fact, several people, including Alvonza Clark, say they like the idea of forcing people to pull their pants up but worry the ban would be tough to enforce and the city has other problems it needs to deal with. "I like that you are fighting, mayor, for that. But, I don't think it's going to work. There's a lot more important issues like the dope dealers and users in the streets - in people's yards - the whole nine yards. You need to be putting your policemen out to deal with that kind of stuff."

But Masters says the baggy pants ban is an important part of a plan to tackle those problems, too. "That's why we are having a job fair every single week. That's why we are bringing in healthcare. That's why we brought in the truancy, the delinquency, the curfew."

The mayor says he's confident the baggy pants ban will pass even though the turnout for Tuesday's election is supposed to be small. If it does pass, there will a one month grace period before they start cracking down.

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