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Sagging pants

Pedestrians wait to cross Natural Bridge Road at the intersection of Jennings Station Road in Pine Lawn on Feb. 2, 2008. The grace period had passed for violators of an ordinance prohibiting residents from wearing their pants below the waist, but long coats in cold weather kept Pine Lawn police from issuing citations. John L. White | Post-Dispatch

Collinsville has become the first Metro East community to ban "sagging pants," following a City Council vote Monday.

The new law requires pants to be "secured at the waist to prevent the pants from falling more than 3 inches below the hips ... causing exposure to the person or the person's undergarments," according to a copy of the ordinance. It would only apply to pants worn on public property. Violators will be fined $100 and be required to perform community service for the first offense and $300 and community service for subsequent offenses.

Mayor John Miller and council member Nancy Moss voted against the measure; members Liz Dalton, who initiated the ordinance, and Jeff Kypta voted to approve it. Councilman Michael Tognarelli, who said he was undecided prior to the vote, voted in favor of the new law.

"I've had several phone calls and emails and 75 percent of the people were for it," Tognarelli said, calling the fashion fad "gang-related."

However, Moss said that sagging was a non-issue before Dalton brought it up last month.

"Prior to this, I had not received one phone call from residents in the city about sagging," Moss said. "This is not what I want our city to be known for."

Dalton introduced the proposal because she said she received requests from citizens.

"We are elected by the people and we're supposed to represent the people," Dalton said. "If there's a problem, residents want us to address it."

Miller disagreed.

"I must live in a different city," he said, adding that he has gotten feedback and seen online polls that show the public is against the ban. "I think it's very strange that we would spend taxpayers' money to facilitate something the taxpayers don't want."

After the members voted 3-2 to approve the vote, Miller seemed stunned.

"I'm sorry that that passed," he said before adjourning the meeting.

Contact reporter Ramona C. Sanders at 618-344-0264, ext. 136