Readers Respond to Prostitution
by Jenni Burton
Posted on September 3, 2006
Well, most of my responses to last issues article were mostly in favor of decriminalization, and mostly male. [downtown diary] Hey ladies! What’s the deal? I know there are some mothers out there who balk at the idea and are dying to chew my head off right now. I want to hear from YOU.
You know, I have to wonder what a typical mother in the Netherlands has to say about decriminalized drugs, prostitution, and live sex shows. I suppose she must have some very frank and realistic discussions with the kinder. I want to know what those discussions sound like. I imagine they must sound something like, “Well, son. Do you REALLY want to look like one of those ridiculous American or English tourists, smoking your brains out and picking up a Czech hooker?” Hmmm….I wonder if the Tree would send me off for some in-depth investigation. That would be nice…leave my husband at his favorite “coffee shop” with a gram of Northern Lights, I’d go to the Bosch museum and conduct some interviews afterwards…Oh, sorry, you caught me daydreaming.
Anyway, here’s a taste of what some gentlemen had to say on the issue. A couple of responders asked that their responses remain unpublished for the sake of anonymity, which I totally respect. Among the responses are the following:
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Interesting bit you put forth. I think prostitution should be legal and controlled for reason you stated and other obvious ones.
I have never picked up one or been to Juarez for one, personally. (And I’ve lived here all of my life) No need, have you seen what goes on at the country clubs?
Have you read, "The Gentleman's Club" by Gordon Foster (he committed suicide because of his involvement in a love triangle) or "Frontier Newspaper, The El Paso Times", by John Judy Middagh. Both these books touch on the subject here in El Paso.
They are out of print and on the rare book list, but I have extra copies.
Also, Patsy King just came out with a little book about Sadie Orchard the madam in Hillsboro, NM.
John McVey Middagh
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Great write-up on a colorful segment of the downtown scene! I greatly enjoyed your use of humor and descriptive narrative.
As to your request for any reaction to this issue, I will vote to legalize adult prostitution every time. That goes for some form of legalized drugs, gambling casinos, same-sex marriage, and flag burning. And I will vote against any attempt to breach the separation of religion and government, against any attempt to impair a woman's right to control her reproductive processes, or against any other form of aggression on our Bill of Rights.
If you share any other of my sentiments, then we both run the risk facing great castigation from those who base their ethical judgments on messages from God rather than from rational considerations.
I suspect that many who oppose these activities would never admit that we are upright primates or that bonobos and the more regular chimpanzees are more closely related to us than these primates are to gorillas.
I am not too optimistic about promoting my values and sense of ethics, but I keep on trying. I hope that you will never become too discouraged and give it up.
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Your article: Downtown Diary, brought a flood of memories. Years ago, I owned businesses downtown. One, being a small finance office in the same location as "Barrio Skate". In those days, there were three bars in that one small block where Cafe Central is now located, and the Eagle Cafe was on the corner of Texas and Oregon Streets. The office building, now owned by Jim Scherr, was the recruiting offices for the Army, Navy and Marines, as well as the Armed Forces Medical Examining Station.
Not to mention that all the theaters were fully operational and Gil Aikman had at least two or three other bars in operation within a two-block radius.
Put all this together and you could not count the prostitutes that inhabited the San Jacinto Plaza area. I remember the three that used to come into my office, on a regular basis, to get cool or warm, depending upon the season.
At first, they tried to come on to me to use their services or give them money so they could buy a bus ticket back home and get away from their life of sin. When they realized this ploy did not work, they settled down to become friends, of a sort. It was fun to watch them work the young G.I.s, or beg for loose change from passersby on the street. Believe it or not, they would come into my office at the end of a day and exchange their coins for $70 to $80 dollars in bills. As you can imagine, they were very personable, clean and had a good relationship with the city police.
The unfortunate part of all this; each one died from an overdose. One, was given a "hot shot" (a dose of rat poison mixed into their dope injection) at the Juarez "shooting gallery" for giving the police too much information regarding others on the street. The other just took too much and a police unit had to take her to the emergency room at Thomason Hospital (too late). Each of these women confided that they were doing what they needed to do to make a living, with no outside influence. Neither had any remorse. Actually, they seemed to enjoy the "challenge". There are other conflicting stories, I am certain. But I must agree with you that this trade is one that will not be going away anytime soon, especially with the influx of new troops due to arrive in the El Paso area soon. I am still working in the downtown area and enjoy your reflections immensely. It brings a personality to the area.
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Thanks for the interesting article about prostitution in the Downtown area. I wonder what re-vitalization will do to this profession; probably attract a higher class of prostitutes since the Downtown economy will be so much better. But, I digress, I wanted to refer you to the book that Gordon Frost wrote 15 years or so ago that dealt with prostitution in El Paso and what a vibrant business it was for many, many years. If I remember correctly prostitution was finally forced underground by the Army who was ready to declare Downtown El Paso and Juarez off limits if the city fathers didn't do something about the soiled doves who were very blatantly strolling and trolling any and all who were interested in some illicit "love". This is a fascinating subject, but if you delve into the dark side it is a subject full of suffering and violence. I hope you get some interesting feedback and can write an in depth follow up.”
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Well, Tony- I think I’ll take your advice. Please people, keep those responses coming! It doesn’t matter whether you agree or disagree with me. I truly want to hear from the community (including Law Enforcement). I would definitely love to do an in-depth article on the subject.
Oh yeah, and this is totally off subject- has anyone seen those ridiculous scooters and golf carts the meter maids are riding around in? WTF? In this, a city plagued with obesity and diabetes as well as high energy prices, I think that it’s a dangerous example to set for the public and other law enforcement. I don’t know about you but I and other ladies such as myself have admired the lean and healthful physiques of the officers issued bicycles (how could you not?), and feel that it sets a better example for our civil service. In many other cities, Metro police have been issued golf-carts and Dodge Neons for ticketing purposes, but if we’re serious about setting a healthy and progressive example, we should not fall into the trap of sacrificing for the sake of convenience. From what I’ve seen most of our meter maids could stand to lose a few pounds, and if the golf carts are a matter of efficiency, then maybe issuing bikes would be more appropriate. I just find it ridiculous that while city officials are trying to encourage biking to work through a public service campaign (and rightfully so- Kudos to Beto on this point), we encourage our civil servants to waste energy and put on pounds. Oh by the way, Cheech- you looked really slick harassing the doped up homeless guy on that scooter Thursday. Allow me to illustrate. *Brrrrrrrr* “Hey, guy- get up. Get up.” *Brrrrrrr* [whizzes to the other side of passed out homeless man and taps him on his side with his wheels] “I know you hear me. Get up.” *Brrrrrrr* [Whizzes to the other side again and proceeds to do and say the same thing as he shoots me a dirty look]. C’mon man- leave that to someone who has jurisdiction.
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Email Jenni Burton at email@example.com.
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