It didn't require clairvoyance to know that the March 4 meeting of the City Council's Planning and Zoning Committee was going to get weird. On the docket: the infamous "dress code ordinance," which aimed to stop taxpayer-funded businesses from adopting overly restrictive dress codes. The ordinance was not-so-subtly directed at the Power & Light District and its developer, the Cordish Company. The dress code at the district, which bans necklaces on men, white T-shirts, baggy pants and do-rags — the fashions favored by young black men in particular — had been called racist. Councilwoman Sharon Sanders Brooks kicked off the meeting's long period of public testimony, stepping up to the lectern with a Stein Mart bag in hand. She whipped out a pair of purple panties and a bra, held them high for all to see, and proclaimed that the unmentionables were less revealing than the standard work attire for waitresses in some of the district's establishments. The sartorial offenses that cause P&L security to turn away African-American patrons pale by comparison, she argued. The City Council ultimately passed a watered-down version of its dress-code ordinance; Brooks' use of lingerie was anything butt.
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