C MacIntosh 
Member since Aug 17, 2013


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Re: “Sex work in the shadows

This is a business in which competition is strong, nightmarish even. Sex workers might argue that they supplement if not outright replace the services provided by 'amateurs' but the fact is, there's a lot of amateurs out there. And there's also a lot of professionals out there, as well, because let's face it, nobody got into this work because they opted for it as an alternative to a career as, say, an electrician or a lawyer or a nuclear physicist. So the probability that high enough rates can ever be to charged so as to cover the real costs of administering the business competently, and safely, is unlikely. You make several references to the lack of funding, i.e. subsidy. As a taxpayer, I've no problem subsidizing counseling services to help women get out of this business, because it is a disaster: it relies on a fallible piece of latex against disease; the 'associates' - read, the pimps - are notoriously abusive; and then there's the risk of accidental conception. So funding outreach programs is one thing, as is refraining from enforcing prohibitive laws, but asking me as taxpayer to subsidize the salaries of what amount to personnel managers of a private business is quite another.

However the real problem is that it simply isn't an industry for which the government can offer any guarantees. You suggest that sex workers have a right to be free from physical harm as they work. However, just as the state hasn't been able to effectively ban sex work, neither can it realistically attempt to guarantee the safety of sex workers. Police have a hard enough time protecting the victims of domestic abuse, in which the participants, both of them, are usually clearly identified, and both usually have some form of known fixed address - often the same one. Whereas customers of this business are notoriously 'prudish' about being identified, and that includes running the risk of being seen going to the address of a known sex work business - especially if they are high profile members of the community. They want anonymity, the very thing that poses most risk to the person providing the service. Attempts to screen customers online is no solution, since the Internet affords even more anonymity than that darkened car.

Posted by C MacIntosh on 08/18/2013 at 11:56 AM

Re: “Pushed out by gentrification?

Hilary Beaumont's article is titled so as to suggest, incorrectly, that renters are not themselves amongst the ones pushing people out of a given location. Even before the advent of gentrification, as well as during gentrification, those who rent a given property keep other would-be renters of that property from doing so. And this is not limited to properties on the private market: public housing has more convenient versus less convenient locations, it has newer versus older units, and someone ends up occupying the better units at the expense of someone else. Thus, who 'pushes out' whom isn't as straightforward as Ms. Beaumont insists. No matter how we finance our housing, we can't all live in the same square mile.

No discussion about the North End can ignore the history that was Africville. While Africville cannot be other than a race issue, given who lived there, it is equally wrong to ignore the fact that the history of the displacement of Africville mirrors almost exactly, the history of the displacements of the very white neighbourhoods of east London and the English midlands during the postwar period of the late 1940s through early 1960s, right down to the kind of buildings built to replace those neighbourhoods. (Take a look at the 'estate' model in the UK, and how virtually all of the errors committed in the course of designing, building and populating those projects, were repeated in the project that replaced Africville.)

The model for the disaster of Halifax renewal that was the Africville affair was based on the merits of Tearing It All Down And Starting Over Again, which is not so different a philosophy from the one of today's Occupy Movement. This should not really surprise anyone: the architects and planners in England were similar to the Occupiers and social activists of today: young, skilled, and idealistic, they truly believed they were going to build a world both newer and braver. It's too easy to dismiss those past planners as having ulterior motives, to believe that they failed because their vision wasn't pure. Yet their failure was more the one committed by your article, of ignoring what people actually do or don't do, of ignoring what people actually want, in favour of what activists merely insist people do and want. Are residents who seek to sell their homes for the highest price possible, not expressing a valid opinion as to what direction they want their neighbourhood to take? What about residents who wish to limit the size of their families, why does this translate into a corresponding limit on the number or size of schools as being 'wrong'? And given that limiting family size generally eases poverty as opposed to exacerbates it, are fewer schools really such a sign of a 'damaged' community?

It is just possible that what people do (or in the case of limited family size, don't do) have a different opinion on gentrification from the one you insist they have. Those residents might just see having a tiny bit of Paradise Mountain after years of Poverty Hill, as something of an improvement.

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Posted by C MacIntosh on 08/17/2013 at 4:28 PM

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