he “live-and-let-live” city of San Francisco already has medical marijuana clubs "next to grocery stores and an annual fair celebrates sadomasochism,” said Associated Press writer Evelyn Nieves in The Mercury News. If Proposition K passes next month, it will become the first major U.S. city with prostitutes walking the streets “without fear of arrest.” Proponents say that would save police $11 million a year they would otherwise spend rounding up streetwalkers.
“The argument that the legalization or decriminalization of prostitution” would provide an “economic boost” isn’t necessarily true, said Jeff Poor in News Busters. “Prostitution is legal, regulated and taxed in 11 counties” in Nevada, but that state is “suffering very tough economic times—unemployment is at a 23-year high,” and they’ve “had to cut spending by $1.2 billion.”
The benefit of decriminalization to sex workers “goes beyond dollars and cents,” said Elizabeth Pfeffer and Angela Hart in the San Mateo County Times. They routinely face "dangerous, sometimes violent situations,” and legalizing prostitution would let them seek help without landing in jail. Then again, decriminalizing prostitution could “draw pimps and traffickers to San Francisco like moths to a flame.” It’s a tough call.
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
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