S.F. mayor blasts prostitution referendum

Nov. 1, 2008 at 10:32 AM
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SAN FRANCISCO, Nov. 1 (UPI) -- San Francisco authorities say a ballot measure to decriminalize prostitution in the city is no laughing matter -- in fact, it is dangerous.

After first laughing off Proposition K, which would forbid police from using any resources to investigate or prosecute people who engage in prostitution, city officials have become alarmed by the support it is receiving and are now actively campaigning against it, The New York Times reported Saturday.

"This is not cute. This is not fanciful," Mayor Gavin Newsom told the Times while standing in front of a closed massage parlor in the city's Tenderloin district. "This is a big mistake."

San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris also weighed in against Prop K, saying, "I think it's completely ridiculous, just in case there's any ambiguity about my position. It would put a welcome mat out for pimps and prostitutes to come on into San Francisco."

Prop K backers, however, accuse the city of profiting from prostitution through fines and imply that such laws are inherently racist because minorities are disproportionately arrested. The measure, they contend, will increase safety for women and save taxpayers money, the Times reported.

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