Decriminalize Prostitution Initiative on San Francisco Ballot

Thank you to everybody who worked to get this initiative onto the ballot!  Here is information I received:

 

The San Francisco Department of Elections announced that the 
measure prohibiting city officials from spending money arresting and 
prosecuting people for prostitution, and mandating equal legal 
protection for sex workers, has qualified for the November ballot. Of 
500 signatures randomly sampled and checked by department personnel, 
80 percent were found to be valid. “This is a happy day for San 
Franciscans who want government to focus on fighting real crimes like 
homicides and robberies, and are tired of seeing resources wasted in 
a futile effort to police consensual sex between adults,” said 
Starchild, a sex worker activist and spokesperson for the campaign. 
“We’ve cleared the first hurdle.” By the Elections Department’s 
tally, supporters had turned in 12,745 signatures of registered San 
Francisco voters on July 7.

The campaign to decriminalize prostitution will hold a kickoff rally 
and press conference to formally announce the results on Tuesday at 
4:00 p.m. July 22 in front of the Polk Street entrance of City Hall, with 
speakers to likely include Supervisor Jake McGoldrick, who was a 
signer of the petition to put the measure on the ballot along with 
two of his board colleagues. “It is way past time that the 
recommendations of the Board of Supervisors 1996 Prostitution Task 
Force were implemented, ” said the measure’s proponent, Maxine Doogan. 
“Criminalizing sex workers has been putting workers at risk of 
violence and discrimination for far too long.”

The prostitution reform measure joins two other voter-submitted 
measures on the local Nov. 4 ballot, along with eight measures put on 
the ballot by the mayor or members of the Board of Supervisors, with 
many others expected to be added in the next several weeks.

17 Responses

  1. Prostitution is linked to criminal activity at a high rate, it can’t be allowed

  2. There will be an XBN broadcast at 10 a.m. PST on Monday, July 21. If you’re unable to listen live, the broadcast will be archived so you can listen later. Here is a link:
    http://www.blogtalkradio.com/swopeast/2008/07/21/Prostitution-Decriminalization-on-San-Francisco-Ballot

  3. Does anyone know if there’s been any polling done to see if there is sufficient support for this measure to give it a chance of passing?

  4. Here’s one for ya

    http://cbs5.com/local/
    prostitution.sex.measure.2.775062.html

  5. The initiative successfully made it onto the ballot, so it has a chance of passing. Of course, it’s important to engage in advocacy to help it pass. Also, I went to the link Maxine posted, but didn’t see this poll. All that came up was the homepage for the TV station. Is it possible to resend the link?

  6. Sorry I was being facetious
    there are no ‘polls’, there is the public opinion, which is better.

  7. Industrial Workers of the World members were responsible for putting this measure on the ballot. The IWW was the first union to organize prostitutes starting back in 1906, and we have always continued to support sex workers.

    I personally spent four months working on the campaign full time. I have had thousands of conversations with San Franciscans about prostitution. I used the petition as a tool to not only educate people about the issues, but as a way of finding sex workers out there to be involved in the campaign.

    IWW members collected over half of the signatures that were turned in. Wobblies also spent their money to pay for blank petitions. We also allowed a paid signature gatherer to stay in our house in exchange for collecting signatures.

    I now owe two months of rent, and I don’t think there is enough money in the campaign to pay me back yet. Donations are urgently needed. If you cannot help in other ways, you could send a check to the Bay Area Branch of the IWW.

    The address is: IWW, PO Box 11412, Berkeley, CA 94712

    Also, the continued support of the IWW will be critical to the success of this campaign. Coming from a union background will counter the idea that this is an issue of morality. This is a workers rights issue. I cannot tell you how many people were confused about the issue, but when they heard we were supporting it, signed up quickly.

    There has been some good press, but there has also been some bad press. It will be vital to make sure all different kinds of voices get heard and are working for the passage of this measure.

    The correct link from above is:

    http://cbs5.com/local/prostitution.sex.measure.2.775062.html

    another link in today’s paper is not as good (look at the video on the right):

    http://www.ktvu.com/news/16930940/detail.html

    No polls have been done, but I can tell you from my experience talking to people on the street – I think a LOT of different kinds of people are supportive. One of the main problems is the issue of trafficking. I think it can go either way. It all depends on how well we run the campaign.

  8. Much love to y’all at the IWW and ESPU: I’ll be crossing my fingers here in New York.

  9. crossing finger is good mojo, fundraising is better.

  10. Haha – as soon as SWANK and $pread are set and the “Hot Lap Dance Club” workers who just got busted in New York are in the clear, I’ll look to arrange a benefit…

    How much time do I have? Until November? I’ll see what’s up, but NYCers have are hands full right now.

  11. yeah, we always have our hands full of something, don’t we.🙂

  12. What I noticed about the CNN interview is that all of the female callers were pro decriminalization and all of the male callers, who also had much harder to follow comments were anti. The patriarchy and sexism not to mention classism (the reporter and kamala and male callers all seemed incapable of imagining prostitution that didn’t involve “women on the streets”) run rampant was outrageous.

    On another note, Starchild was incredibly well-spoken, consice and informative. Way to go!

  13. Here’s some interesting examination of the subject of prostitution.

    http://www.ontheissuesmagazine.com/july08/index.php

    It’s the typical bullshit offset by some excellent material.

  14. I agree with Sadie about Starchild doing well in the interview. Kamala Harris brought up the issue of exploitation, so I think it’s important to address how persecuting sex workers does nothing to stop exploitation. In fact, this is a form of exploitation. Something else I noticed was that Kamala laughed when Starchild mentioned that she referred to herself as an “honarary sex worker” when trying to get support from sex workers’ rights activists while running for
    re-election…..but she didn’t saying this.
    On another note, the press conference/rally to officially kick off the campaign for this decriminalization initative will broadcast live on XBN at 4 p.m. today (July 22). Like with all XBN broadcasts, this broadcast will be archived, so you can listen later if you’re unable to listen live. Here is a link: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/swopeast/2008/07/22/Press-Conference-and-Rally-Decriminalize-Prostitution-Initiative

  15. Much kudos to ESPU and IWW for getting this on the ballot. (Hey, the Wobblies are back!)

    I was reading about the measure and reactions to it in the Chronicle and it sounds like its going to be a bit of an uphill battle, since some key members of the SF political establishment are coming out against it. (Notably, mayor Gavin Newsom and district attorney Kamilla Harris.) The usual arguments – this will interfere with the fight against human trafficking, etc.

    Hopefully voters can be swayed against the conventional wisdom.

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