Dunn, N.C. — Dunn Mayor Pro Tem Carnell Robinson says he is fairly confident that the City Council will approve his proposed ban on saggy pants, a fashion statement typified by men whose underwear is visible above the waist of their pants.
Under the proposal, the first two violations would result in a warning. The third time, violators could face a fine of up to $200.
"This is an issue that impacts our total community," Robinson said Tuesday morning. "It is extremely important that our young people rise and realize their full potential. We are partnering with our school system and our faith-based community. We have their support."
Last month, Robinson said he believes the form of dress is "part of a culture that breeds drug sales, drug addictions, crime and murder."
About 100 people showed up to Tuesday night's council meeting for hours of lively debate over the issue. A vote was postponed until Sept. 11.
While some residents said they agree with Robinson, others said town leaders are wasting resources and time worrying about men's waistlines.
"Crime has no face, no face at all," said Jalisa Holiday. "(There are) predators out there who wear ties. What about them? Their pants aren't sagging."
Joy Martin said it comes down to freedom of expression.
"I don't believe in what you're wearing and your underwear showing, but I believe in you having the right to do that if you choose," she said. "I hope the city has money for a lawsuit if they pass this because that's what it's going to come to."
Robinson said the discussion of the proposal among community members has already generated a shift in culture.
"The dialogue has made a difference. The majority of our kids are now dressing better, parents are talking about it," he said. "We're talking about the 10 percent. I think we've already made a difference in our community."
The proposal was drafted based on a similar ordinance in Tuscumbia, Ala., one of several small towns in the country that has banned saggy pants.