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Think Bill de Blasio’s dumpster fire of a mayoralty can’t get worse? Think again: Albany is planning to send him more street hookers. Whoopee.
State Sen. Brad Hoylman, a Manhattan Democrat now running for borough president, considers the notice police pay to transsexual streetwalkers to be a pressing civil-rights issue — and so he’s pushing legislation that effectively would make street-walking of all sorts legal.
The bill appears fated to pass — and what could go wrong with that?
Plenty. Blame for much of what makes New York City so difficult to navigate these days rests squarely with the normalization — and outright legalization — of anti-social, often dangerously aberrant, public personal behavior.
The pandemic sure hasn’t helped, but if you want to know how junkies are getting away with shooting up in the Upper West Side’s Broadway median, just ask de Blasio and his merry band of policy miscreants.
They also get the discredit for Gotham’s sidewalk colonizers, its in-your-face panhandlers, its subway shovers and its platoons of public poopers — as well as the gunsels terrorizing public-housing projects all over the city.
These things happen everywhere, to be sure, but the soaring volume of New York’s anti-social behavior and its increasingly dangerous nature trace directly to de Blasio administration policy choices. These include abandonment of both quality-of-life policing and proven anti-gun-violence strategies.
Albany shares close-to-equal blame, of course. Its recent criminal-justice “reforms” hastened the whirlwind — and now, with Hoylman’s bill, it is poised to make matters even worse. Just as there are no boundaries to human perversity, there is no shortage of New York politicians eager to accommodate it.
Hoylman’s legislation would strike “loitering for the purposes of prostitution” from New York’s penal law. It’s claptrapped up with the usual civil-liberties pieties — the senator calls it the “Walking While Trans” law, and ostensibly it’s meant to address what activists term “police harassment” of transsexual New Yorkers.
In practical terms, of course, the bill is intended to hobble police efforts to control street-walking and its socially corrosive attendant pathologies — drug-dealing, mugging, the spread of sexually transmissible disease and the inevitable decline of neighborhoods where public prostitution is practiced.
Nevertheless, the bill is on track to pass both legislative houses — and Gov. Cuomo, always a reed in the wind before dubious, high-decibel activists, says its passage is a priority. (And what would Mario have thought about that, one wonders.)
To cut through the fog, whether a disproportionate number of transsexual hookers attract the NYPD’s attention is open to question. But, in any event, cops couldn’t hassle transsexual street walkers — or any kind of street-walkers, for that matter — if they weren’t out walking the streets in the first place.
That is, out breaking the law. It’s hard to see how this is a civil-rights issue: You make a choice and maybe you pay a price — and what’s so terrible about that?
But the same arguments — everybody has rights; nobody has responsibilities — have rendered a whole series of quality-of-life offenses immune to any regulation, to melancholy effect. And they are sure also to be marshalled to advance unrelated efforts to legalize prostitution more generally.
One bill now on tap would maintain penalties against pimps and brothel keepers but decriminalize what is euphemistically termed “sex work” itself; other Albany powerbrokers want to legalize the trade right across the board.
Apart from Hoylman’s dubious advocacy for social decay, outright legalization doesn’t seem imminent. Plus, problematic though it might be, one can make a case for properly regulated prostitution; it’s part of the human condition, after all — and thunderbolts haven’t yet struck Nevada, where it has been legal in various forms for more than a century.
Unregulated streetwalking — by transsexuals or anyone else — is a different matter altogether, and it truly is distressing that a viable candidate for Manhattan borough president needs to have this explained.
But, just as Upper West Side City Councilwoman Helen Rosenthal continues as a knee-jerk enabler of the street chaos surrounding a West 79th Street homeless hotel, Hoylman seems hell-bent on making his own contribution to Bill de Blasio’s burgeoning dystopia.
Think of it as a foot-race to the bottom — if there is a bottom. And every little bit hurts.
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