Letters for the Week of October 31, 2012 

Readers sound off on the Oakland Zoo, sex trafficking, Richmond's soda tax, and more.

Page 5 of 10

What right do the proponents of Prop 35 have to interfere with my employment and income? What right do they have to interfere with any activity enjoyed by consenting adults?

The men who chose to engage with underage children are sick. The people who coerce underage girls and boys into the business are sick. Target them — leave the rest of us alone.

"Kathi Kuddles," San Pablo

Deeply Distressed

I am deeply distressed by your newspaper's most recent article concerning prostitution. If your newspaper believes in the worth of the individual — every individual — how could you print an article promoting prostitution as merely a "lifestyle," one seemingly legitimate choice among many?

This letter is not written from the perspective of a mere spectator.

I have lost friends of friends to murder in that world you attempt to present as liberating, as independence for women. Why not write about the realities of murder, rape, assault, and addiction? Why not write about the high percentage of sexual abuse survivors among the prostitutes?

During the first American Depression, my father, a young physician at the time, treated pregnant addicts and their chemically compromised babies. Some of these young women were prostitutes, possibly younger than "Jolene."

Surely all children, all persons, deserve a less dangerous future. My religious beliefs as well as life experiences mandate my objection to your article as a promotion of moral unworthiness.

How horrible that our society has now descended to commodification of all it can eat, including "Jolene"?

Kari Ann Owen, Hercules

Prop 35 Punishes Everyone

This was an interesting article, but its final conclusion, that Prop 35 pits the interests of sex workers against those of victims of sex trafficking, is wrong. That is what the anti-trafficking organizations, which are generally against consensual sex work, want the public to think.

Sex workers' rights organizations have come out against Prop 35 because it is not actually going to help young people who are being sexually exploited. It will, in fact, lead to further traumatizing of victims because of its reliance on arrests and the involvement of ICE. Anti-trafficking organizations and police agencies that work on the ground to find victims have come out against Prop 35 for this reason (among several other reasons).

Sex workers' rights activists are also against Prop 35 because what it will do is put more poor women, men, and transgender people in prison. Sex worker organizations are not the only ones that have come to this conclusion after reading the text of Prop 35. The California Coalition of Women Prisoners and Legal Action for Women, two groups that fight for the rights of women in prison, are also convinced that this proposition will result in more poor women, women of color, and transgender women being put in prison, and on the already watered-down sex offender rolls.

If you would like to read more in-depth analysis of the text of Prop 35, please check out AgainsttheCASEAct.com

Yes, there are people being exploited, sexually and otherwise, and they should be getting help. But Prop 35 is not the way to do it. We already have laws against rape, statutory rape, assault, kidnapping — and trafficking!

Shannon Williams, Berkeley


"Big Oil Targets Little Richmond, Again" Election 2012, 10/17

Shedding Light

The Contra Costa Times endorsed Gary Bell because he "went through the fiscal crisis of nearly a decade ago and should be well-grounded to attack the next difficult challenge," rather than endorsing the progressive candidates working closely with Mayor McLaughlin, the mayor who led the city as it "climbed up from the bottom of the hole." (The Times doesn't even credit McLaughlin.)

Thanks for shedding some light on the real work the Richmond Progressive Alliance has done and offering some facts on Gary Bell that Chevron won't be printing on glossy flyers.

Overall, I find this to be a well-balanced piece, and am pleased to see the Express covering this news!

Jessica Langlois, Berkeley

Thanks

As a Richmond resident for 25 years, I congratulate John Geluardi for his article.

Rarely do articles about Richmond politics get such a frank and detailed examination. I have recommended it to all my friends, but think it should get greater circulation. Any chance that it could be submitted to the Contra Costa Times as an op-ed? In its coverage of Richmond, it tends to water down the political news to the point that it has little impact, which is why I appreciate Mr. Geluardi's journalistic integrity.

Kent Kitchingman, Richmond


"San Francisco Against the World," Opinion, 10/17

What Now?

It would take centuries for nature to restore Hetch Hetchy to its former glory. Or are we going to build a giant Golden Gate Park in the Sierra? What happens to the ecosystem in place now? Marine and animal life have adapted to the reservoir/lake and the rain shadow caused by it. How do we replace the free, environmentally friendly power? Let's say we vote yes for this $8 million initiative and then vote to tear down the dam. A Republican-controlled House of Representatives will in fact have final say about the dam. Here is exactly what will happen: They will privatize the water and the power, selling it to the highest bidder, and tell my fellow environmentalists to go F themselves. Hetch Hetchy should never have been damned, but it is here now as a vital, green part of our infrastructure in an era when the forces on the right are fighting every single penny in public works projects. It would be lovely for the people of the 26th century to be able to enjoy Hetch Hetchy Valley, but we should focus our resources and energy elsewhere to mitigate the oncoming disaster of climate change.

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