Naked politics

The rhetoric is getting louder over San Francisco’s Proposition K, which would decriminalize prostitution in the city.

There were dueling news conferences on the issue Wednesday. First, Mayor Gavin Newsom and District Attorney Kamala Harris spoke to reporters outside what had been a brothel fronting as a massage parlor on Geary Boulevard. Later, the backers of Prop. K promised to have sex workers at an afternoon event in the “red-light district” of North Beach. (They produced one former prostitute and several advocates for sex workers.)

Why all the hubbub? Well, the issue is getting national attention, and opponents are concerned it will pass.

David Binder Research, a major polling firm on San Francisco political issues, has not polled on Prop. K. Newsom said that he was unaware of any direct polling on it but that generic polls have shown a “huge undecided” segment

“The reason we’re doing this, candidly, is we’re worried it’s going to pass,” Newsom said. “I didn’t believe it could possibly pass a few months ago, and now there’s real concern that it might. And we will regret the day that we made that decision.”

Newsom said he attended a raid at the Geary site in 2005 and walked in on a man having sex with what he believes was an underage victim of human sex trafficking. Opponents of Prop. K say it would make it impossible to stop the city’s burgeoning sex-slave trade.

Supporters of the measure argue that it will improve safety because now prostitutes are afraid to report crimes like rape for fear of being arrested themselves.

– John Coté

3 Responses

  1. “The reason we’re doing this, candidly, is we’re worried it’s going to pass,” Newsom said. “I didn’t believe it could possibly pass a few months ago, and now there’s real concern that it might. And we will regret the day that we made that decision.”

    Mayor Newson, who do you mean by “we” when you said that “we will regret the day that we made that decision (to decriminalize prostitution)? Do you mean the people who are profitting off of the criminalization of prostitution, or the sex workers being harmed by these horrible laws? I think it’s the former. This is great news that you now think Prop. K has a good chance of passing. You may have underestimated us, but you aren’t silencing us.

  2. This is the bit that looks suspicious to me:
    “…Newsom said he attended a raid at the Geary site in 2005 and walked in on a man having sex with what he believes was an underage victim of human sex trafficking…”
    So 3 years after the raid and he still doesn’t know whether or not the worker was an “underage victim of human sex trafficking” !!
    It sounds to me like Newsom is full of it

  3. “Later, the backers of Prop. K promised to have sex workers at an afternoon event in the “red-light district” of North Beach. (They produced one former prostitute and several advocates for sex workers.)”

    “Promised”? “Produced”? What are we sex workers — magic tricks? “Hey, reporter, watch me while I pull this prostitute out of my hat…”

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