Tweeting your way into elected office

This story was reported for the San Diego News Network on June 1, 2010.

See original copy of story.

Forget knocking on doors, hanging signs and mass phone-banking, if you’re not Tweeting your campaign message or friending your constituents on Facebook, you may be S-O-L.

In other words: If you’re considering a run for office, consider your “net-roots” first. At least, that’s what experts say.

“There is a huge potential to gain support if a campaign mobilizes the ‘net-roots,’” said Bryce Cullinane, deputy director of The Institute for Politics, Democracy and the Internet. “All campaigns need to invest in engaging people online.”

It’s the first major election year since then-Sen. Barack Obama leveraged the power of social media to score his way into The White House. Now, experts say if you’re a serious candidate — you must do the same. In fact, the only races that shouldn’t are candidates who are certain the majority of their constituents aren’t keen on social media.

According to a study conducted by the consulting firm Deloitte, politicians embracing social media is comparable to the days when Woodrow Wilson first used direct-mail marketing, Herbert Hoover first appeared on radio networks and Dwight Eisenhower promoted his presidential candidacy on television.

But of course, as the study noted, social media ascended in the political world in 2008 when Obama hired Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes.

“As Barack Obama’s victory shows, his early popularity on sites such as MySpace and Facebook was no passing fad,” stated the study. “These sites provided dramatic early signals that Obama’s candidacy had caught on with young people at a time when no one gave him a chance of winning the Democratic primary, let alone the presidency. While Obama’s message and appeal had a unique resonance, anyone with an idea or a product to sell should take note — social networks have become an accepted and required part of the marketing mix.”

Cullinane — who organized the Politics Online Conference this year, a conference that teaches politicos how to use the Internet in the most efficient manner — reiterated the important of social media.

The deputy director said social media is the “new way to engage people.”

Culliane’s claim rings true with two local campaigns.

Reaching out to voters

Erin Emblem, the manager for the Tracy Emblem for Congress campaign and daughter of the candidate, said they use social media regularly.

“The general acceptance of technology like smart phones and various social media websites in our daily life makes this a very effective and inexpensive way to reach a lot of people, quick,” she said.

In fact, Erin said the campaign has been so effective in utilizing social media that they now have volunteers in 25 states phone-banking for the candidate.

“Mainstream social media lets you know which groups or people are interested in receiving your cyber friendship or tweets, so you get an idea of where you stand,” she said. “We can reach out to voters and potential volunteers from virtually anywhere at a moment’s notice in an interactive way whether by sending tweets, personal messages, launching a video or releasing a pod cast.”

Another local campaign that’s utilizing social media to gain supporters is the Jay LaSuer for Sheriff campaign. Lori LaSuer, the candidate’s daughter and campaign manager, said their team researched mass communication efforts when he first announced his candidacy roughly 21 months ago. Jay also consulted with other politicos and business people already knowledgeable about social media websites, said Lori.

Now, Jay has the Facebook application on his Blackberry and has two Facebook pages: a personal page and a fan page. His personal page has more than 5,000 friends and his fan page has about 250 fans. Lori said his Facebook is linked to other social media websites like Twitter, 912, Plaxo — which are all then linked to his campaign website.

“His grandson has yet to learn Twitter, but he [Jay] is an expert,” joked Lori.

San Diego:

A new Facebook application called Campaign Flare would allow donors to give donations in one click rather than campaign managers redirecting them to their websites and then to the secured-donation site.

She added that social media has become more than just a way to score voters. She said her father communicates with constituents through the outlets, and has even gained volunteers.

“He’ll post an event or write that he needs volunteers and as soon as he posts it, he will get a ‘gillion’ comments or personal messages,” she said. “He’s able to reach such a huge diversity of people and being able to hear what they have to say is important to him.”

The next level

Virginia-based company Blue-Saki is attempting to take it to the next level with campaigns and Facebook.

About three weeks ago, the company launched an application called Campaign Flare (see photo) that would allow campaigns to take in donations directly on Facebook. According to Blue-Saki partner Aman Latif, this would allow donors to give donations in one click rather than campaign managers redirecting them to their websites and then to the secured-donation site.

“We all recognize the viral aspect of Facebook and we wanted to be a part of that,” Latif said. “We also realize Facebook is a community for people to interact and Campaign Flare allows people to interact as they donate.”

Latif wouldn’t say how many candidates have signed up to utilize the application since it first launched but he’s confident it will slowly become a hit as the general election approaches. He also wouldn’t comment on the percentage the company takes from donations.

Erin said she would consider it for the Tracy Emblem for Congress campaign.

“Checking out the new app is definitely on my to-do list,” she said. “We’re always interested in learning new ways to connect with voters and supporters.”

Not everyone is a true Tweep

Despite the success stories, Cullinane pointed out that social media isn’t for every campaign and that others have yet to use it appropriately.

For one, Cullinane noted that some districts have a large amount of constituents who just don’t Tweet or Digg. If that’s the case, then it wouldn’t be necessary for candidates to join the bandwagon but it’s up to the candidates to figure that out.

He also noted that some campaigns don’t Facebook correctly. That’s right, it takes more than just updating your status when you’ve just received an endorsement.

“Campaigns that are invested in new mediums are investing in constant interactions though Facebook and Twitter, are having firms develop apps for them, are investing in complex functionality for their websites, and are taking advantage of new media to mobilize small dollar donors, word of mouth marketing and volunteers,” he said. “Other campaigns are throwing up social media tools so they can say that they have them, but are not actually engaging anyone through them.”

Despite the varying approaches to the new approaches of campaigning, Cullinane said money and time is still required to effectively friend a constituent on Facebook. He means that it “requires a lot of money in development” of effective applications and outreach.

“Online engagement is a new way to reach people, and when it comes to reaching certain audiences, it has definitely made the process more efficient, but no less time consuming and costly.”

P.S. Please don’t forget to Tweet, Like, Digg and Y! Buzz this story.

Hoa Quach is the political editor for the San Diego News Network.

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Eight great phrases or words to utilize if you are a politician

This story was written and edited by San Diego News Network on September 23, 2009.

See original copy of story.

As the political editor for SDNN, I’ve heard tons of key words and phrases politicians like to use. Since campaign season is in sight, I’d thought I’d help out candidates by letting them know what those key words and phrases are. But keep in mind, originality and honesty always win you the most points, at least I’d hope so.

1. “The voters have spoken” — This is your darn-my-proposition-lost-but-I-have-to-pretend-to-be-happy-about-it phrase. I must have heard this a million times in five interviews after California’s May 2009 Special Election.

2. “…In the best interest of the taxpayers” — Like Number 1, you’re telling constituents you care about their thoughts, needs and wants – you’re like better than a good girlfriend.

3. “Reform” — “Reform” is like the color black – it never loses its appeal despite the season. This works well if you’re competing against an incumbent because you’re noting that he or she isn’t doing enough, and you could do better.

4. “Tough decisions” — Not hard choices, not challenging assessments but tough decisions. A politician will often use this to say he or she has made the “tough decisions” needed (i.e. cuts to services) or will accuse another politician for not making the “tough decisions.” It’s a good one though, because if you use it, you’re saying you’re willing to make the necessary changes even if it hurts. It’s like tough love, baby, and you know what’s best.

5. “Fiscal responsibility” — These two words have been key during the recession. If you don’t use these words, you’re not a real politician. ‘Nuff said.

6. “Change” and “hope” — Riding the Obama wave, politicians from the Left and the Right are using these words. With the world in an economic turmoil, it could be smart. Encourage voters to “hope” and assure them “change” is just a few steps away.

7. “For the people” — When you’re a politician, everything is “for the people.” Of course, a few politicians probably don’t see it this way – but if you want to even be considered a politician, you better use this phrase as often as you breathe – all the time.

8. “On the backs of taxpayers” — My personal favorite, especially when a politician says it really mean. Grr. Lately though, many local politicians have been using this to describe California’s move to balance its budget “on the backs of local governments.” It’s a good one though, just be aggressive with it. (See how National City Mayor Ron Morrison uses it in the video).

Hoa Quach is the political editor for the San Diego News Network.

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Tip: Leave the sex talk in the bedroom to save your career

This story was reported for San Diego News Network on September 15, 2009.

See original copy of story.

Spanking fetishes, eye-patch underwear and adulterous trysts may have no place in a work environment, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t a topic of conversation – just ask former California Assemblymember Mike Duvall (R-Yorba Linda).

The disgraced state legislator resigned after being caught at an Assembly hearing discussing his sex life in detail with colleague Jeff Miller (R-Corona). Duvall’s mishap raises important questions about workplace etiquette, what is appropriate office conversation, and how your behavior may affect your career.

“Sex talk is very common in the work place – very common,” said image consultant Jill Haney. “But, it’s really what our friends are for – we have to be able to separate our personal lives from our professional lives.”

It seems more now than ever, employees are struggling to segment the personal and professional sectors.

In a survey released in 2008 and conducted by the Novations Group, 42 percent of 500 employees surveyed, said they have “heard a sexually inappropriate comment.” The study also found:
– 35 percent said they heard a racial slur;
– 33 percent heard an ethnic slur;
– 27 percent heard an age-related ridicule;
– 23 percent heard ridicule about sexual orientation;
– and 10 percent heard ridicule about a person’s disability.

Haney says sex talk and other “inappropriate topics” have become more accepting over the years.

Duvall seemed to think it was acceptable. He went so far as to describe his mistress’ fetish for spanking.

“Anybody who’s in the public eye should not be having those kinds of inappropriate conversations,” said SDSU human resources professor Christine Probett. “They shouldn’t be stupid to talk about it at all.”

Probett made an example of Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.). , who screamed “You lie,” during President Obama’s health care address to a joint legislature; in this case, Wilson should have kept his mouth shut said Probett.

“His apologies didn’t make up for how incorrect it was,” Probett said. “It was very offensive and grossly inappropriate and will damage his career… This was probably one of the most public forums in the world.

Related Links: Calif. GOP lawmaker resigns from office over sex scandal | More careers | More lifestyle | More politics

“People are not being sensitive enough to other people’s perspectives of what is considered inappropriate or not.”

If you – like Assemblymember Jeff Miller – are uncomfortable with your colleague’s topic of conversation, Probett and Haney have tips for how you should handle it.

Probett: “If you’re in an awkward position, say, ‘Hey you know I’m not comfortable talking about this.’ If the conversation persists, be more firm. If needed, talk to your supervisor, manager or someone in the HR department. Do not be afraid to elevate it to get help.”

Haney: “Look at the person with a firm expression and say you do not appreciate his or her comments whatsoever. Or remove yourself from the situation and make a note to yourself not to be around him or her. Let it be known that it is creepy to you, to know that information.”

Duvall’s behavior also raises the issue of inter-office sexual relationships. Duvall reportedly had sex with female lobbyists, which could have created a conflict of interest.
Duvall may be an extreme example, considering the relationship between lawmakers and lobbyists, who influence policy. Intimate relationships aren’t completely uncommon said Haney, who has worked with companies and their employees on etiquette for decades.

Haney said most companies will have policies in place on sexual relationships between coworkers – the most common is that if you decide to pursue a relationship, you must tell your boss.

“Most companies require, if you’re going to take it that intimate level, you have to go to the HR department [Human Resources] or your boss directly and make them aware of it,” Haney said. “If you don’t take that precaution, it will cross a line that’s considered inappropriate professional behavior. ”

In addition, if your boss discovers the relationship on his or her own, it can raise questions whether both parties involved can actually be “objective” when it comes to making important company decisions, Haney said.

“If you’re not being honest with your boss that means you’re losing sight of what’s important,” she said.

Using Duvall as an example, Haney elaborates on what his future holds because he wasn’t completely open with his boss – in this case, constituents.

“I think his political career is over and it should be,” Haney said.”When I heard his conversation, I just cringed with embarrassment for him. He’ll forever be known as that politician to Californians.”

Haney acknowledged that it would be a “long time” before Duvall would be able to redeem himself in the realm of politics.

“If he’s fortunate enough to ever get his career back on track, it’s going to take a long time,” she said.
Overall, the workplace has become a more casual environment, Haney said – but that doesn’t mean it should be.

“A casual work environment will cause casual conversation,” Haney said. “We must be really careful of what we share with our colleagues including small things like, sharing pictures of what we do in our free time.”

“If we want to be seen as a professional, then we need to act professional and be mindful of others.”

Hoa Quach is the political editor for the San Diego News Network.


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Deciphering the sex appeal of our nation’s politicians

This story was reported for the San Diego News Network on June 26, 2009. See original copy of story.

There once was a woman named Maria Belen Chapur. Chapur loved a pretty powerful American man – a governor of about five million people, nonetheless. The governor was named Mark Sanford of South Carolina and Chapur is from Argentina. Chapur isn’t alone, however.

Women and men all over the world are attracted to politicians, some have simply taken the step further to fulfill their desires. We heard about Rielle Hunter and her tango with Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.), Cynthia Hampton and her fling with Sen. John Ensign (R-Nevada), Patricia Allen and her affair with boss Rep. Tim Mahoney (D-Fla.) and in our own state, a married Ruby Rippey Tourk had an affair with the unmarried San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom. Of course, an article like this couldn’t be mentioned without America’s intern Monica Lewinsky and her office rendezvous with former President Bill Clinton.

So, what’s the deal about this so-called attraction to politicians? Are these women just really into their politics? Or is it just the power of attraction? And for some, is that attraction strong enough to have a soiree with a married man or to stray from your own marriage?

It can be answered in one word according to an SDSU psychology professor. The word is “power.” It could be something more or perhaps, nothing more at all. But with certainty, it’s all about power, said Radmila Prislin.

But before we jump into the Senate chambers – let’s start from square one.

Interpersonal attraction is a sector of social psychology that focuses on why women are attracted to certain men and vice-versa. According to the Gale Encyclopedia of Psychology, one’s level of attraction to another is based on several areas including personality and physical attributes. For some, pairing with the “opposite” is common.

“Personality type is another determinant of interpersonal attraction,” stated an excerpt of the encyclopedia. “In areas involving control, such as dominance, competition, and self-confidence, people tend to pair up with their opposites. Thus, for example, the complementary pairing of a dominant person with a submissive one….a person will choose a partner who will enhance his or her own self-image or persona.”

In the book, The Handbook of Social Psychology by Daniel T. Gilbert, Susan T. Fiske, Gardner Lindzey, this theory is examined further. The authors find that men can not attain their “ideal match” because of their “resources.”

“Men lacking the status and resources that women want, for example, generally have the most difficult time attracting such women and must settle for less than their ideal,” the authors write. “Interesting evident about men’s unrestrained choices comes from comparing men with fewer resources with those who have historically been in a position to get exactly what they prefer, such as kings and other men of unusually high status.”

The authors use historical references. They find that men of “high status” from the 1700s and 1800s of Germany, attracted many young women compared to men who weren’t wealthy: “Kings and despots routinely stocked their harems with young, attractive, nubile women and had sex with them frequently.”

In the end, theories show it’s all about the power politicians have, said Prislin. The SDSU professor said women can greatly benefit from a relationship with politicians – benefits that don’t involve love.

“Women are attracted to men for many reasons – power, influence, access to resources,” Prislin said. “In a nutshell, there are very instrumental reasons.”

“Evolution teaches us that a man, who is perceived to be a good provider is more attractive. He [a politician] can open the door to jobs, to status, to career, to you name it, money.”

For Hillcrest resident Felicia Morgenstern, this theory is right on the mark.

“Paint me democracy blue, I’m drawn to a politico with a strong presence,” Morgenstern said. “Sometimes presence and power overlap, sometimes they are mutually exclusive, a Venn Diagram of sorts.”

Since we have a psychology professor at hand, let’s take a deeper look into the relationship between Sanford and Chapur.

Immediately after Sanford’s confession of his whereabouts – South Carolina newspaper, The State released emails sent between the two love birds.

In an email dated July 10, 2008 – Sanford tells Chapur the details of his attraction to her body.

“I could digress and say that you have the ability to give magnificently gentle kisses,” Sanford wrote, “or that I love your tan lines or that I love the curves of your hips, the erotic beauty of you holding yourself (or two magnificent parts of yourself) in the faded glow of night’s light – but hey, that would be going into the sexual details we spoke of at the steakhouse at dinner – and unlike you I would never do that!”

In an earlier email dated July 8, 2008 – Sanford tells Chapur he will send her a small present.

“I do not want to raise expectations, when I say I will send something insignificant I promise I will do as I say,” he wrote. “It won’t be worthy of bedside placement… was just going to find the movie the Holiday as we had spoken of it last Thursday.”

“He is making sexual comments and promising something in return – if there were ever a trade off, this is it,” Prislin said laughing. “It’s as though he wrote this to prove our studies.”

“This is the kind of attraction where power and beauty are being traded-off,” she said.

As for Chapur, in an email dated July 10, 2008 – she tells Sanford, his best interest is important.

“.. if you want to go back to that and don’t write love things and so on because is not safe for you it’s OK with me, i love you and by no way would do something that can harm you, so please let me know,” she wrote.

What does Chapur’s email tell our psychologist?

“The content of her message suggests that she is more grounded in reality than he is,” Prislin said.”The fact that she, not he, raises the issue of potential harm suggests that power may make some politicians feel invincible in much the same way adolescents feel invincible.”

Power and beauty put aside, for Hillcrest resident Morgenstern, her attraction gets heightened even further with politicians whose passion for the greater good is apparent.

“In an age of apathy and studied nonchalance, a politico with a passion and a plan to improve our collective plight is a pretty irresistible aphrodisiac,” she said. “Have I ever pursued a politico? No. Have I ever dreamed of dancing the horizontal mambo with, say, our main man Barack? I plead the fifth.”

Whether one’s attraction to a politician is power or passion or really, the way he or she voted during the last floor session – one thing is sure (at least, according to Morgenstern) – politicians are the “new sexy.”

“While many come equipped with chin waddles, ever-expanding waistlines, comb-overs and sensible shoes, just try to find a politico without a groupie,” she said. “It’d be like trying to find a virgin at an abstinence retreat.”

To our beloved Brad Pitt: It may be time to step aside as voting on a bill in a Burberry suit, is now way hotter than starring in a blockbuster hit half-naked.

Hoa Quach is the political editor for the San Diego News Network.

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Taxing sex to save California from its budget deficit

This story was reported for San Diego News Network on June 8, 2009.

See original copy of story.

Single, childless, and with an average weekly income of $2,500, one would assume “Samantha” pays a hefty income tax. Not so. The 23-year-old prostitute hasn’t paid taxes in more than a year – and now she’s planning to expand her clientele. If prostitution were legal in California, though, Samantha says she wouldn’t mind paying taxes.

“I think it’s a great idea,” said Samantha, who asked to be identified by first name only. “We should really look at expanding the laws.”

Considering the state is in a financial crisis and is under pressure to pass a budget by June 15, should state legislators consider legalizing prostitution?

“Billions of dollars is generated from prostitution in this country every year,” said Kenneth Green, owner of The Chicken Ranch brothel, located in Nevada, where it is legal. “But, because it isn’t legal, it all goes underground. Well, what happens now? Now, we have the women or men involved utilizing public services and/or dealing with drugs and other criminal activities. So, it’s a double-whammy. If we legalize it and regulate it, it would be different.”

Prostitution is only legal in Nevada and Rhode Island, but the laws surrounding it are cloudy. In Nevada, brothels are legal in counties with a population less than 400,000. At least eight of the 16 counties have brothels. Prostitutes are required to register as independent contractors, and they split their profits 50/50 with the brothels. In Rhode Island, prostitution is legal by default; there isn’t a state law defining what it is. However, the state has implemented laws making brothels illegal, which means it doesn’t tax the sex industry.

Outside of the U.S., prostitution is legal in Germany, where the taxing guidelines are clear. The European country requires prostitutes to pay a set amount of taxes in advance. In addition, customers are required to pay a “value added tax,” a form of sales tax pre-determined by the provider and the client. In the Netherlands, sex businesses are found in areas designated “Red Light Districts.” Prostitutes are required to pay taxes and can even receive tax-deductions for condoms and other supplies.

If Samantha’s estimates are accurate, she makes about $120,000 a year. In March, SDNN interviewed Shay, a sex worker who said, during a slow week she makes about $2,250 – or $108,000 annually. And Shay is eligible for tax breaks as a Santa Monica College student.

The online bulletin board Craigslist.org is making money off the sex industry – but is paying taxes too. The private company closed its “Erotic Services” section May 5, after local governments accused the site of promoting prostitution. On May 15, the company implemented an “Adult Services” section that charges $10 per posting. Monday at 10 a.m., the company had more than 50 advertisements for adult services – ranging from erotic massage to escort work – in San Diego alone. Craigslist’s press office said it wouldn’t release the amount of revenue the section generates. It will, however, donate the money from erotic services to a not-yet-announced nonprofit.

With Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and the state considering severe cuts – including cutting health care for more than a million children, cash grants for 77,000 college students, 5 percent of salaries for all state workers and seven days from the school year – some are wondering if the government is being creative enough with its budget.

San Diego State University economics professor Shoshana Grossbard said legalizing prostitution might help our cash-strapped state.

“It will shift some activity from the informal to the formal sector, thus leading to a higher observed state production and higher taxes to the extent that prostitutes don’t currently pay income taxes and sales taxes,” Grossbard said. “This will be good in contributing to a reduction in the state deficit.”

Opponents of legalizing and taxing prostitution, however, say the social cost of the profession is too high. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is prominent among prostitutes, according to reports by long-time activist Melissa Farley. Farley, known for her fight against prostitution, conducted a study of 854 sex workers in nine countries and found that 68 percent had PTSD.

“This is an extremely high prevalence of PTSD,” Farley wrote in her report, “Renting an Organ for Ten Minutes.” “[The report shows] that prostitution causes great psychological harm to those in it. As we analyzed our data, we investigated factors that might indicate what exactly it was about prostitution that was causing such high rates of PTSD.”

Statistics by the U.S. Department of Justice show that between Jan. 1, 2007 and Sept. 30, 2008, there were 1,229 alleged incidents of human trafficking in the U.S., and 83 percent of those cases were sex trafficking incidents. Of the 1,018 alleged sex trafficking incidents reported, 391 involved allegations of child sex trafficking and the other 627 incidents involved allegations of forced prostitution or other sex trafficking crimes.

Norma Ramos, the executive director of the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women, wrote in The New York Times last month that countries that have legalized prostitution have “become magnets for human trafficking and other crimes.”

“You don’t tax a human rights abuse, you abolish it,” she wrote, adding that prostitution is an injustice and is not the oldest profession; it’s the “oldest oppression.”

‘It’s safer having sex with a girl at the brothel than a girl from your church’

County governments profit off the fees for brothels to obtain business licenses and liquor licenses, and other quarterly fees. Joe Conforte, owner of the Mustang Brothel, has twice offered the Nevada legislature a “bedroom tax,” and the state rejected it. According to an article in the Las Vegas Sun, Conforte said it was his “patriotic duty” to pay more taxes.

The Chicken’s Ranch’s land value alone was estimated at $6.92 million in 2006, but, because it’s a private business, Green declined to say the total monthly revenue the women generate, and the amount the Ranch pays in taxes. He did say, however, the sex workers charge between $400 and $2,000 per service. He also said the monthly revenue is a “substantial amount” and that he thinks brothels contribute heavily to the financial health of the county and state.

If it were up to Green, he said he’d legalize the sex industry nationwide, and put strict regulations on it.

Green recently founded Regulated Management, an organization that aims to address illegal prostitution and encourage awareness about the benefits of legalizing it.

He said Nevada law requires each prostitute to have a medical check-up every week. He also said the legal brothels have security and are clean. Moreover, Chicken Ranch public relations representative Bob Fisher said every prostitute involved in the brothel takes classes about the different types of sexual diseases, and screens clients before participating in any sexual activity. Each client is also evaluated so managers know the women will be safe.

“You’re safer having sex with a girl in the brothel than a girl you meet in the church,” Fisher said. “My brother got herpes once from a girl he met in church. Brothels are squeaky clean.”

Capt. Tim Curran of the San Diego County sheriff’s department, begs to differ, and says prostitution is a profession filled with victims.

“I don’t think it should be legalized,” Curran said. “We don’t want that type of activity; especially when you look at what else it brings to the region – drugs, violence. [It] causes [an] increase [in] call[s] for public services.”

Statistics show that 779 prostitutes were arrested in San Diego County in 2008.

Lt. Mike Hook with the El Cajon Police Department also opposed legalizing prostitution.

“There’s always going to be an element where there’s street walkers working for abusive pimps,” he said in a March interview. “At least 50 percent admit to having a drug problem and are not wanting to be a prostitute.”

‘Politicians won’t even talk about it’

Despite increased calls for regulations and scrutiny on Craigslist ads, elected officials have not addressed legalizing or regulating prostitution, Green said. The Ranch owner said if prostitution was legal, and taxed, state and local governments and taxpayers would reap the benefits.

Because prostitution is illegal, he said, sex workers are forced to engage in criminal activity, which results in strains on police departments, the legal system and social service organizations.

Green said he went to several senate committees in Nevada, hoping to address regulations on the sex industry, but only one senator heard him out.

“Politicians need to stop digressing from the issue and look at it objectively,” Green said. “Prostitution is not the problem. Women have a right to choose it, men have a right to engage in it and because it’s illegal, both the men and women are criminals.”

The offices of State Assemblymembers Joel Anderson (R-El Cajon) and Mary Salas (D-Chula Vista) have not yet responded to requests for interviews. Norma Ramos of the Coalition Against Trafficking Women could not be reached.

Hoa Quach is the political editor for the San Diego News Network.

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