Friday, June 26, 2009

San Francisco Diary--Journal Of An Exile

Massage this! Despite its reputation for rubbing people the wrong way, San Francisco has laws against it. And now we have a new one. Public hearings are now required for applications to open a massage parlor. The ordinance will also make it easier to revoke permits. This is all in the name of closing massage parlors that are actually fronts for prostitution. Apparently, the practitioners of massage "therapy" were literally rubbing patrons the wrong way.

NOTE: Like everything in San Francisco, this brouhaha is not as simple as people in the real world might think. In a town where pet owners are "human companions," there are no masseurs or masseuses, only massage "therapists." Mayor Gavin Newsom and the Board of Supervisors agreed that there can be no massage "therapy" after 10 PM. And your "therapist" can't be a minor, no matter what time of day you are getting your "therapy." Additional fines can be levied against parlors that require reinspections after code violations are found. Exactly which codes those are was not made clear. Perhaps "the therapist repeated that particular massage maneuver too rapidly and too often." I think it's called the "therapy with full release" violation.

But houses of prostitution must be closed, right? This ain't Poughkeepsie, folks. First, there are no prostitutes in San Francisco, only "sex workers." A big lobby at City Hall. Sex workers, not to be confused with massage therapists, have expressed the fear that this legislation will hurt women more than business owners (women don't own businesses?). But this may be just a simple jurisdictional labor dispute. The sex workers actually ended up supporting the measure unanimously. So it could just be that the hooker's union wants the therapists to pay their fair share of union dues.

Views from Chronicle and Examiner readers: One commenter on SF Gate said "Former Supervisor Jake McGoldrick put a prop on last year's ballot to legalize prostitution and stop the hypocrisy. San Francisco voted it down." Since the ratings for this comment were running five to one favorable, it seems Chronicle readers believe that prostitution isn't a problem, keeping it illegal is the problem. Another commenter said (and I quote precisely): "The Only people that can afford a Massage License IS the prostitutes! So basically SF is going to charge Prostituion [sic.] rings More money for Fake licenses!! Stupid is as Stoopid does. How about DECRIMINALIZING prostitution & Make LOTS of MONEY??!" See? Once prostitution is legal, poor massage therapists will also be able to afford licenses for cathouses. Or not. The comment was sufficiently unclear that it was getting only four favorable ratings to three. The writer also points out that not all massage therapists work in parlors. Many go to the client's home. I wonder if they're known as "call therapists."

NOTE: There was a hot time in the old Bayview last night! The largely African-American neighborhood was visited by First Do-Gooder Michelle Obama, hand-in-hand with Mrs. Governator Maria Shriver to assist volunteers in building a playground in this dangerous and decaying part of town. Hundreds of locals had to climb fences and telephone poles to view the proceedings since the area was carefully fenced off. According to other locals, the people were not happy about being left out of the party. Jackie Williams, a longtime Bayview "gardening and youth program activist" who was included in the proceedings said that if they had volunteered, they would have been let in. Many had complained they hadn't been told about the program. Williams disagreed: "They knew about it, honey, and had plenty of time to sign up, they just didn't know the President's wife was going to be there." Volunteering to help out in your own neighborhood is only a good thing if you get to have face-time and a photo op with Lady Obama, children at her feet. At least in the Bayview.

NOTE: The Board of Supervisors passed a package of "renter's rights" authored by the very lefty Supervisor Chris Daly. Among a host of hare-brained anti-business and fiscally suicidal provisions, the one that got the most play was Daly's proposal to bar landlords from increasing rents to more than one-third of a tenant's income (net? gross?), compulsory rent decreases for those who have become unemployed or whose wages have decreased by 20% or more over the past year, or whose sole income is (wait for it)--government assistance. Despite winning on a majority vote, the Supes are facing a veto by Mayor Gavin [not even I'm that crazy] Newsom. It is unlikely that the Supervisors will be able to muster enough votes to override a veto.

NOTE: One of the Bay Area's major modes of moving people from home to work and back again is facing a strike deadline of June 30. Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) is one of the few government agencies that actually produces a decent working product, so naturally no matter how tough the economic times, the unions are demanding an end to the wage-freeze (nobody even suggested a pay-cut). But wait, there's more. The unions are further demanding a 3% pay increase. The unions have adopted President Obama's concept of creating money out of thin air. That would add $4,400,000 to the annual BART budget shortfall, which remained in deficit even after fares were increased to close the money gap.

NOTE: District Attorney Kamala Harris announced that seven illegal immigrants whose drug convictions were expunged as part of a job training program were "following the rules and deserved to be exonerated" even after prosecutors learned of their illegal status. One of the graduates of the program was arrested for assaulting and robbing a woman in San Francisco's exclusive Pacific Heights neighborhood, apparently while finishing up a task which he learned how to perform while in the program. After another earlier fiasco resulting from San Francisco's sanctuary city policy in which an illegal immigrant with multiple felony arrests committed a brutal murder, Harris had promised that those with criminal records would be reported to federal immigration authorities. Apparently somebody forgot to tell Harris about the drug conviction work program for illegals. Or so she says. Is she telling the truth? Is she lying? Take your pick. I know what I think.

16 comments:

AndrewPrice said...

Lawhawk, How does this licensing issue affect the stripper lobby? LOL! You guys sure know how pick strange fights.

Writer X said...

Is Newsom using any of the stimulus money to open up new parlors?

LawHawkSF said...

Andrew: We don't have strippers, either. They're "epidermal exposure therapists."

LawHawkSF said...

WriterX: With all the massage therapy in town, we already have sufficient stimulus. The Board of Supes and Newsom are watching out for our well-being by limiting parlors so that we don't get over-stimulated.

Writer X said...

LawHawk, glad to hear that they're all Masters of Their Domain.

StanH said...

Ahhh… government at “work.” Lawhawk do masses people run through the streets of SF butt naked, slobbering, pounding themselves in the head, while screaming like an epidemic of turrets syndrome? I heard about the tenants rights scheme the other day here in Atlanta, and SF was referenced, I think our politicians are getting ideas from your politicians, thanks a pant load, SF. I enjoyed your report from inside the wire, God help you buddy.

LawHawkSF said...

StanH: I've heard that Atlanta was making moves that often resemble those here in la-la land. I hope it's a temporary fever there, because it's a permanent, chronic disease here.

AndrewPrice said...

StanH -- LOL! I'm with you 100% on this. I see Lawhawk like the hero who got caught in the building when the terrorists took over, and now he's broadcasting status reports to the rest of us. That sounds like a movie. . .

DieHard V: LawhawkSF

StanH said...

Oh yeah, Atlanta can be as loony as any city, we don’t need any help. We can only aspire to reach the insanity of SF however. Atlanta is in the middle of a very Red state where some of the lunacy gets tamped down.

StanH said...

Yeah Andrew, I wouldn’t be surprised that one day we have to rescue Lawhawk from the clutches of insanity. You can picture Lawhawk running with the remaining American flag heading the hell out of town being chased by a seething throng leftist.

LawHawkSF said...

Andrew and StanH: I picture myself as a combination of Edward R. Murrow and Winston Churchill: "Greetings, America. "The lights are going out all over San Francisco, and I fear that we shall not see them lighted again in our time." Unlike them, however, I then intend to run like hell.

Mike Kriskey said...

If a renter is already paying more than 30% of his income on rent, would his rent then be cut?

Every couple of months, Thomas Sowell likes to talk about real estate policies in San Francisco as an example of the importance of understanding basic economics.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

"Once prostitution is legal, poor massage therapists will also be able to afford licenses for cathouses."

Or doghouses, which are quite reasonably priced at Walmart.

Thanks for updating us on SF, Lawhawk, or should I call you John Mclane?

BTW, Seattle is another city that tries to emulate San Francisco. Thankfully, we live 90 miles away from San Francisco's northwest division.

Out of curiosity, having visited Zombietime a few times to see pics of the many gay parades and events in SF, I wondered, after reading your post, why those aren't licensed and/or taxed?

Because massage "therapy" is practiced, as is obvious by some of the pics (NSFW pics...hell, not safe period, but hey, I was curious as to what goes on at those SF shindigs...now I require daily brain and eye bleaching), along with an apparent "sex worker" and "epidermal exposure therapists" training programs.

Also, just how many gay parades does SF have per year, not counting the naked bike ride?
And is this what caused this summer to be the last season of Monk?

LawHawkSF said...

Mike Kriskey: The clowns running this town don't think of little things like that. They just see "bread" and vote yes. They see "circuses" and vote yes. How to pay for the bread or the circuses is for the adults. The bill leaves it completely unclear whether everyone is entitled to the "30% of income" benefit. I'm guessing they'll clear that up by making sure it does so that all God's children get a rent reduction. The odd part is that if this succeeds, I'm now entitled to have my rent reduced for the first time in nineteen years.

LawHawkSF said...

USS Ben: I knew that Seattle was trying to be the San Francisco North Annex. At least with all your rain, the homeless people are cleaner.

There's only one official gay pride parade annually. And it's tomorrow. My son is a senior software engineer at Google and they always put a float in the parade. On a dare, he's going to be on it. He and his wife will be waving at me on the TV (I refuse to go downtown for this). He decided to tell me this in the middle of my father's day dinner, and I almost lost a very expensive mousse. I told him that the last time I saw him naked, I was putting on his diapers. At least they're going to be fully-clothed for the event, thank God. I'd threaten to disown and disinherit him, but he's building my retirement apartment on his property in the Berkeley Hills, and he is independently wealthy, so threatening not to leave my debts to him doesn't scare him much.

Monk just couldn't make it up those hills any more, so he's retiring to the flatlands. On gay day, he would hide in his apartment and take multiple showers and rearrange the drapes.

As for the parlors, they make you happy long time. What the world needs now is love, sweet love, and a few more massage therapists.

BevfromNYC said...

So let me get this straight, City officials actually passed a package of renters' rights that made it to the Mayors desk that says basically that landlord cannot collect rent from people who don't or can't work. You can just stay where you are and not pay rent. Hmmm, one would think that would be solely up to the owner or landlord, not the City or County or State. I thought NYC had wacky Renters' rights. It's always been pretty clear that if you couldn't afford to pay the rent that you had to move (at some point) to a place that you could afford unless you had a really nice, understanding landlord. I'm moving to SF and renting one of those fancy places, then not pay the rent.

Law, at least your son will let you live with them. My brother's idea is, instead of putting our parents in "the home", we would volunteer their services to NASA and have them shot into space for space research. They can report back on the effects on the elderly in space. I am not sure he's kidding, so because he lives near Houston, I don't leave him alone with my parents much...

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