New file uploaded to lpsf-activists


  Good suggestions below. I think my partial revision addressed some of your concerns. I think the effort to divide specific crimes into high, medium and low priorities is a worthwhile one. I do have a couple -- well, at least one, maybe two -- differences with your categorizations.
  First, I object to putting non-consensual sex work in the "high" category for the simple reason that it gives the authorities too easy a loophole to target sex work in general. They can always go after prostitution and claim that they thought pimps or traffickers were involved, and even cut deals with the prostitutes if they'll agree to say they were being forced to work. Not only does that fly in the face of justice for the managers and agents, but it contributes to false public perceptions that people do not voluntarily work as prostitutes.

  Last year a massage parlor in the Sunset was raided, and the media had quotes from law enforcement about sex trafficking and such, but it was not clear to those of us in SWOP whether there was any actual evidence of this. A massage parlor full of uneducated immigrant women who speak little English is not proof of sex trafficking or non-consensual dealings, but the authorities and I think unfortunately much of the public tends to assume that it is. If a poor immigrant woman from China voluntarily agrees to come here and work in a massage parlor in exchange for help in relocating to the U.S., that should not be illegal.

  If the authorities think they have a case that someone was forced to do sex work, let them bring a kidnapping charge. I believe that the standard of proof for kidnapping is higher. This would avoid stigmatizing sex work, or giving the police a loophole through which to continue targeting and harassing legitimate prostitutes.

  The other activity I wanted to comment about is graffiti. I believe there are three important questions to ask with regard to graffiti:

(1) Is it on private property or government property?
(2) Does the property owner object?
(3) Does it have aesthetic merit or socially redeeming value?

  First of all, it should not be automatically assumed that graffiti is bad or unwanted. Certainly no one should be prosecuted for graffiti without the assent of the property owner whose property was affected, and the owner ought to be given the chance to demand that the graffiti artist repaint the affected surface or pay for the cost of doing so as an alternative to being prosecuted and forced to work for the government.

  My understanding is that the community work to which convicted graffiti artists are typically sentenced involves the removal of other graffiti. This makes about as much sense as forcing convicted prostitutes to engage in social work aimed at preventing other people from having sex. Not that people in the latter category should be prosecuted at all, obviously, but if they are, it would make more sense to employ them in having sex with indigent disabled veterans who are wards of the state as part of the therapy and health care of those persons. If a convicted graffiti artist has artistic talent, it would make more sense to sentence him or her to paint public murals in approved locations.

  In the case of government property, if someone were to paint a beautiful mural on an abandoned government building, or paint something of social or artistic value on a public sidewalk, this should not be regarded the same way as a gang scrawl sprayed on the exterior of an attractive edifice like City Hall. We the people are the ultimate owners of government property. From the sheer amount of graffiti that appears on government property, it appears that many of the owners of that property do not object to a certain amount of graffiti.

  Graffiti in its finer forms is a recognized art form. It also has enduring historical value over the long term. When I visited the ruins of Pompei in Italy last year, the graffiti on the walls of Roman villas thousands of years old was the object of intense tourist interest and its importance was recognized by the site administrators and archaeologists.

  So all in all, if we are to put anti-graffiti efforts into one category or another, I think they should be regarded as a low priority. While some of it rises to the level of medium priority, much of it does not.

Yours in liberty,
        <<< starchild >>>

I agree with Starchild that graffiti on govt property is ok.

In fact, it brightens up dull gray Govt buildings--the artists should be compensated for their efforts.

Best, Michael