I don't think police reform will ever be successful until we get cops out of the 'vice" business. The idea of using police to "elevate" the lifestyles of the "unwashed masses" (poor people crammed in filthy coldwater flats in lower Manhattan) goes back to the mid-19th century when Anthony Comstock decided that this was a great idea and sure to work. No one asked the "unwashed masses" their opinion.
This was the time period when private sexual behaviors - pre-marital sex, adultery, gay sex and prostitution, publishing/mailing "obscenity" - were made into criminal offenses. You could even sue in civil court for monetary damages if someone stole your honey. (Except for the outlawing of prostitution outside a couple of Nevada counties, all of the above has been reversed). There was even an anti-sex trafficking law, The Mann Act, which forbade interstate transportation in the service of prostitution (no one has ever been prosecuted for trafficking unwilling prostitutes under the Mann Act).
The anti-vice movement was closely tied to the alcohol prohibition movement, and provided a framework and justification for drug laws that, unlike laws enforcing accurate labeling and standards of purity (such as not letting milk with pus in it be sold to the public), controlled who could purchase drugs and for what reason - restrictions that have gotten harsher and harsher since they started with the Harrison Act in 1916. Alcohol prohibition didn't last more than 13 years, but it did provide the opportunity for black market money that made organized crime organized - and wealthy - for decades after repeal.
Vice laws were used for other than their stated purposes from the start - "obscenity" laws were used to keep contraceptive devices and information away from the public. It was during alcohol prohibition that police using "traffic stops" to catch people for vice violations (mostly alcohol and prostitution). Between the time prohibition ended and the drug war got hot in the 1990s, traffic stops were a lot less dangerous for cops.
Using police to change private social behaviors that do no harm to people other than participants (if it even harms participants) has not reduced the incidence of such behavior, nor has it made our society more harmonious. But it has clearly lead to severe erosion of constitutional rights, turned sex workers into serial killer fodder, lead police and the justice system to deputize professions that should have nothing to do with law enforcement - like educators, doctors, parents - for the specific purpose of stamping out "vice". On top of that, the police pass along tons of misinformation and unsupported claims in the service of the policing of "vice" ( I once saw a handout from a precinct in SW Portland that identified the Vulcan Salute from Star Trek as a satanic ritual abuse greeting). Lying about sex and drugs is fine with a lot of people if the misinformation is scary enough to frighten people into not doing "vice", especially since the police are so willing to tell people that these vices (and not the increasingly draconian punishments) can destroy people's lives.
But is Portland - or any American community - going to get the police out of the vice-busting business? Or are they going to do some community policing photo ops?
@frankieb - yes.
If you dislike the closed bridges/street runs, big street parties, etc., you could complaint to the city. I'd be just as happy setting up in a park or on a wide sidewalk.
Thanks - have a nice day. Have to get back to packing up the shipment.
@altogherpdx - not just a didgerdoo, an *amplified* digeridoo band (two digerdoos). 300 limit meant I had to cut some words.
A@ frankieb - To me, (and the IRS, btw) my street booth is a sole proprietor business, - which I did on the sidewalk on Alberta (with permission & encouragement of the adjacent shop) until amplified "street party" infestation destroyed that venue.
So I found a new location. The city of Portland chose to permit art sales at that place/those hours & keep out cars. For me, street sales isn't about art-snob "legitimacy" or demand attention from disinterested persons. It's about selling a product in a place & time designated by the city, where customers know to find me. (Sort of like if I were selling cotton clothing, I'd set up at a mall.) In previous years, my evening May sales (without amplified digerdoo infestation) were $200-250, helping support my family in this crummy economy. (evening in question, $35, - and 3 people said to me they were leaving because of the digerdoo. I paid $40 to be there & $5 for parking).
I would never have set up a booth if I didn't already have a history of selling what I paint.
One last thing - what you say about "shitty whimsical 'creative' endeavors" could easily be applied to the people who invaded the art event that other people went to the effort to organize, pay to attend, & promoted the event.
Oh, gotta go - got a request for another shipment. Will be far too busy packing up art to send out to continue posting this week.
@bort - you sure do a good imitation of disliking art. Or artists.
I only started selling art because I was approached so many times by people wanting to buy things I'd painted for my own amusement that I thought I'd have a go. My art has been selling nationwide for several years now, to the point where it's my main source of income. I found street sales an enjoyable opportunity to get to meet people who buy my work (which I usually can't do, as most of my art buyers are scattered across the country) - until the "musicians" destroy each street art opportunity, like parasites always destroy their host.
Whatever you feel about art, artists, my work in particular, has zero relevance as to whether it's ok for people (and I use the word loosely) to barge into an event they didn't contribute to, and hijack it to make money for their own selves.
I didn't fingerpaint as a child.
It would be nice if the anti-flouride "activists" understood that adding fluoride to water is Mimicking a Natural Phenomenon. Scientists way back when noticed people in some places had tons of cavities & some had none. By using science to see what the difference between the two groups was, they found it was the amount of fluoride in the water. By mimicking the fluoride levels naturally occurring in some water, via adding a teensy bit of fluoride to water supplies, they found that cavities stopped happening where people had been getting tons of cavities. Also, studies of populations with natural fluorine in water, added fluorine and no fluorine, prove there's no evidence that fluorine in water has ever harmed a human.
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