Saturday, June 09, 2007

Jake McGoldrick wants to legalize prostitution

The thing about Supervisor McGoldrick is that he has always had a "progressive" agenda that he doggedly pursues regardless of what anyone else thinks. Like a lot of progressives---and conservatives, for that matter---McGoldrick just knows what's good for the people of San Francisco, and he won't be deterred from implementing that vision. He just knows, for example, that riding bikes is a Good Thing for the people of San Francisco, even though he himself drives to work every day, because, you understand, he's just so busy implementing his vision that he can't spare the time to ride Muni or a bike.

And he just knows that the Geary Bus Rapid Transit idea is good for the people of his district, even though the MTA board only recently authorized an EIR on the subject. McGoldrick doesn't need to wait for the results of that study; he already knows that BRT is a Good Thing, even though those of us who ride Muni's 38 Geary line have no complaints about how often or quickly that line moves between Van Ness and the avenues (between Van Ness and Market St. is another story).

And he just knows that closing Golden Gate Park to autos on Saturdays is a Good Thing, even though city voters decisively rejected the idea twice on the same ballot in 2000.

Another thing McGoldrick knows: People who engage in sex for money aren't prostitutes or hookers; they are "sex workers." When the Board of Supervisors voted on Fiona Ma's ordinance to require a hearing and a permit before any new massage parlors open in the city, McGoldrick was the only no vote:

A recent series in the Chronicle reported that scores of Asian massage parlors in San Francisco offer sex, and that some of the women inside are forced to work against their will. The ordinance approved Tuesday would place conditional-use restrictions on massage parlor permits so neighbors living within 300 feet of a proposed massage operation would be invited to express their concerns in a public hearing. Applicants would also need approval from the Planning Commission before they could request a massage parlor permit from the Department of Public Health. Supervisor Jake McGoldrick was the lone dissenter; Supervisor Ammiano was absent. McGoldrick said he is concerned that the legislation could interfere with his goal of decriminalizing sex workers in the city. "This is misplaced[sic] legislation that attempts to politicize an issue that needs more policy work," McGoldrick said. (Massage parlor regulation closer to law, Robert Selna, SF Chronicle, Nov. 8, 2006)

Never mind sex slavery and the exploitation of women, McGoldrick sees the legalization of prostitution as a way to protect women:

But others, such as the sole 'no' voter, Supervisor Jake McGoldrick, think the law is a "panicky kind of paranoia." "Driving it underground is the worst thing you can do," said McGoldrick, who advocates decriminalizing prostitution to protect women (S.F. law called insufficient to stem sex traffic, Meredith May, Charlie Goodyear, SF Chronicle, Nov. 29, 2006).

"We need to know what we are talking about, what's really out there, before we jump to conclusions," he[McGoldrick] said. "Maybe we should examine legalization, like in New Zealand or the Netherlands, and recognize contractual, consensual sex has always been, and will always be, a part of human culture." ("Mayor's plan to curb sex trafficking in S.F. could fine, jail landlords renting to illicit massage parlors," SF Chronicle, Meredith May, October 11, 2006)

McGoldrick doesn't think the Bicycle Plan, Healthy Saturdays, and the Geary BRT need more study, but legalizing prostitution supposedly does. Why do I suspect that McGoldrick has already made up his mind on that issue, too?

Recalling McGoldrick:

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