Someday, our society will learn that what consenting adults do behind closed doors is their business and theirs alone. Let us pray that that day comes sooner rather than later.
San Jose Prudes
Two thumbs down to the San Jose cops for busting Raeshel Keavy ("Madam I Am"). This event is a stab in the back to the pursuit of carnal pleasure by consenting adults. San Jose may be a large and populous city, but it is not a cosmopolitan metropolis.
Two other events in San Jose's recent past stand out as examples of its moral prudery and small-town state of mind: Tom Campbell's (R-San Jose) vote to impeach Bill Clinton for receiving blow jobs from Monica Lewinsky and who knows who else in the White House Oval Office, and the San Jose Mercury News' editorial support of the Communications Decency Act.
Is San Jose following the lead of Cincinnati in banning the sale of all Larry Flynt publications, or preventing the exhibit of Robert Mapplethorpe's photography?
Madam's Employees Protest
While we applaud the long, tedious process your reporter must have taken to go through an incredible amount of paperwork in order to write the article "Madam I Am," she possibly was misled by the San Jose Police Department about some pertinent facts. The District Attorney's Office is most likely not to blame for most of the inaccuracies.
Like your reporter, the DA's Office, including Chuck Gillingham, was originally misled regarding the nature of the "probable cause" needed in order to conduct the police investigation. The DA's Office has gone so far as to admit this. Of course Raeshel was dumbfounded when San Jose police arrested her, but not for the reasons you were told. Yes, she didn't advertise there, and as a result we didn't get many inquires from San Jose, Santa Clara, Mountain View, etc.
When the bust was first done in June 1998, the SJPD was giving many interviews with TV reporters stating, "Ms. Keavy had started recruiting employees from the San Jose area with the intention of targeting the San Jose business traveler market." They also had told this to the newspaper reporters at that time.
Most of her former employees, including us, were incredulous, and asking each other, "What in the world are they talking about?" Many of us had worked on and off for Raeshel for quite a few years, and in that whole time none of us believe we've done more than a handful of calls in the San Jose area.
While it would be easy to write us off as not credible, since obviously many would believe we are morally bankrupt and were involved in a criminal conspiracy, we are still quite capable of recognizing truth from fiction. Your reporter has even admitted that a high percentage of us "employees" are college educated. The theories that San Jose police stated as their probable cause have now shown to be baseless. We do not hold the DA's Office responsible, because most likely they knew very little about the case until after Raeshel was originally arrested.
At that point, they were professionally required to go ahead with some sort of prosecution of the individuals they held most accountable. Anyone familiar with police investigations knows that, in order to investigate someone, you need what is referred to as "probable cause." This is so police do not have the ability to go around investigating and conducting searches on just anybody they feel like. This is in order to protect the public from "baseless" police harassment. Unlike in China, and many other countries, our lawmakers are against rogue police activity, thus they have always required this "probable cause" scenario.
This did not apply to Raeshel's case. The statements made by the SJPD regarding the "recruitment and targeting" in San Jose have turned out to be fictional, no fault of the DA's Office. It should have become quite clear to Ken Willy and his superior, Lt. Farmer, that none of the "recruiting and targeting" they had originally suspected was going on, which should have ended the investigation at that point, but it didn't. They instead called up posing as clients and were paid by the city of San Jose to watch "gorgeous" girls undress, and then agree to provide specific acts for money.
We have a hard time believing that could not have been accomplished without repeatedly having the girls strip down to nothing, as they have stated. Do you honestly believe this was not providing some form of entertainment for the police officers involved, at the expense of taxpayer dollars? Men are men!
Regarding the recruiting, they must have discovered early on that Raeshel did absolutely no advertising for employment in San Jose, or anywhere else for that matter. Regarding the targeting of San Jose business travelers, it must have become evident early on that this was not the case because there was no advertising down there, as your reporter even stated in the article.
They wanted to continue the investigation at this point for political and promotional reasons for the SJPD, so they continued stating their "targeting and recruiting" theories to superiors and the DA in order to continue funding.
They still spent hundreds of thousands of dollars of San Jose taxpayer money on investigating and prosecuting these defendants, when in fact even Gillingham has stated, "We [the DAs] could not find direct evidence that Ms. Keavy actually ever did target San Jose or recruit employees down here." I think we should give Gillingham a lot of credit for being so honest when apparently the SJPD was not capable of the same professional ethics. I don't live in San Jose, but given the facts, I'm sure all that money could have been better spent on criminal activity in their own city. I also think it's terrible that your reporter was misled, along with the DA.
Any Reason You Can't Ship It Up Here?
Fantastically funny article on the Low Country Boil dinner with Jessica and Mark (The Man Who Came to Dinner, Feb. 3). I'm actually a friend of Jessica's, and was very happy to see her and Mark's wonderful charm and humor come through. I would like to make Dinner Man some south Indian vegetarian food -- but unfortunately I live in Southern California. You have an open invite anytime! Thanks for the good Sunday night laugh before the horrendous work week!
Rein In Live-Works
While I tend to agree with George Cothran's argument ("Community Infestment," Jan. 27) that live-work spaces are of questionable benefit to their neighborhoods, I don't think the issues are quite as black and white as he depicts.
The stark truth is that living in San Francisco is damn expensive, no matter whether you are renting or trying to buy. And suggesting that poor people are being driven from the city in great numbers by live-work spaces is doubtful. Mostly they are being driven away by the high rents and the fact that minimum wage is not a living wage.
While Cothran painted a bleak picture, he missed a good opportunity to come back with some suggestions for improving the situation. Certainly the 85 percent of loft owners who do not even bother getting business licenses, much less actually work at home, is a good first target. If the ordinance that allows lofts does not have any teeth for enforcement, then people ought to scream about that rather than about loft owners.
And even more than the current owners, the developers should be reined in. They should not be allowed to tear down small businesses that support actual employees, and replace them with live-work spaces that will not.
Lastly, I think that ordinances that govern things like noise pollution should contain language that varies the threshold levels for residential and light-industrial areas. And developers and loft owners should be required to sign a release that they acknowledge the area they are developing/inhabiting is an industrial area which has less strict regulations.
Obviously, I'm not a lawyer, and my suggestions are probably impossible to enact. But, unlike Cothran, I'm actually trying to point out a direction for people to aim the anger he stirred up -- and maybe the wise folks on our Board of Supervisors are listening?
By the way, I'm thrilled to say that my boyfriend and I recently became owners of a 95-year-old Bernal Heights home after countless years in the rental race. I'm sure that somehow negates my opinion on the subject.
Not a Pretty Mental Picture
And I thought investigative journalism was dead. Many thanks for your article on the two demagogues of San Francisco, Willie Brown Jr. and Joe O'Donoghue ("Developing Friendship," Cothran, Feb. 3). While destroying citizens' civil and property rights, these two ruled illegally and were rewarded regally. One thing I am sure of, Mr. Brown and Mr. O'Donoghue are so crooked that when they die, they'll have to corkscrew them into the ground to bury them. Keep up the scrutiny.