Well, I regret to say I was wrong about SF Weekly reporter Matt Smith being on our side. His past writing did not lead me to think he was biased against decriminalization, and he did a good job of seeming sympathetic when he interviewed me, is all I can say. While not opposing Prop. K, the piece he wrote aims to undercut the claim that cops are extorting sexual favors from prostitutes. Admittedly the record of hard cases on this appears sparse, but of course what would you expect? How many prostitutes are likely to come forward about having been victimized in this manner? He said nothing about our going to court about the ballot arguments, and didn't even end up quoting me at all, although we probably talked for a good 15-20 minutes. It's just as well, since that means he didn't get anything out of me that he could use to further his agenda for the story. The sentence in his opinion piece I found most offensive was this:
"In any other field, 'research' conducted by outlaws, aimed at informing political debate about whether their chosen activity should be illegal, would be labeled conflict-of-interest–riddled propaganda."
Apparently study co-author Alexandra Lutnick was a former high-end call girl, which is where Smith gets the "conducted by outlaws" line. But since her status is former, it's a false statement. And as is plain from the existence of people like Norma Hotaling, former prostitutes aren't automatically sensible proponents of decriminalization. If raising Lutnick's former occupation as a conflict-of-interest point is valid, then it's also valid to point out the conflict of interest in negative studies that are funded by governments which outlaw prostitution. Outlaws aren't born that way -- they become outlaws by virtue of laws being passed. And when those laws are bogus and lack social consensus behind them, people stigmatizing people as "outlaws" not only prejudices people against the individuals so labeled, it also tends to prejudice other people against the law in general, since "outlaw" ceases to mean someone who is really doing any harm.
Anyway, I'm rambling. But feel free to use any of the above material in comments or letters you may post or send.
Here's the link to the story, which appeared in yesterday's SF Weekly: http://www.sfweekly.com/2008-09-10/news/dubious-ucsf-study-claims-cops-extort-sex/1.
Love & Liberty,
((( starchild )))