Porn at a local transportation board meeting? You’ll know it when you see it

“I’ll know it when I see it.’’

The quote has its own Wikipedia page, which explains how the phrase was “famously used in 1964 by United States Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart to describe his threshold test for obscenity.’’

US_Supreme_Court_Justice_Potter_Stewart_-_1976_official_portrait

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart

That’s what came to the minds of a group of elected leaders Thursday when the phrase was mentioned during a discussion by the Palm Beach Metropolitan Planning Organization about the Federal Railroad Administration’s train safety guidelines.

“In their minds, a sealed corridor is something they know when they see it,’’ said Kim DeLaney of the Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council, refering to the FRA.

“Like pornography,’’ Palm Beach County Commissioner Hal Valeche said as MPO members chuckled when they heard the phrase.

Boca Raton Mayor Susan Haynie, the MPO chair, laughed and teased her colleague: “That’s not something we talk about at the MPO, Commissioner Valeche.’’

Valeche smiled and quickly explained the phrase’s connection to the Supreme Court case.

County Commissioner Hal Valeche

County Commissioner Hal Valeche

The light moment lasted a few seconds and was all in fun.

The technical discussion went on another 10 minutes before ending, again with the obscenity reference, this time thanks to West Palm Beach City Commissioner Keith James.

James, who graduated from Harvard, wanted the MPO board to know that Valeche graduated from Ivy League rival Yale.

“I just wanted the record to reflect,’’ James said, “that it was a Yale man who injected pornography into this discussion.’’

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