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I WAS TERRIBLY DISappointed and discouraged to read that our only truly local paper has chosen to ridicule and misstate an issue which is destroying the residential neighborhood that abuts our downtown (City Desk, 11/17).

Your reporter misstated and misconstrued virtually every fact related to prostitution in Franklin Square, Logan Circle, and Blagden Alley, and the bill which Councilmember Jack Evans has crafted to address the problem.

Over the last several months, Jack Evans has met on a monthly basis with representatives of the court system, the corporation counsel, the U.S. Attorney, local residents and businesses, the police department, and others to discuss the problem—not a few crack whores or desperate welfare mothers, but scores of professional prostitutes and pimps who have been bused in from around the country to take advantage of our woefully inadequate prostitution laws.

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These women, as well as the male transvestite prostitutes who have long plagued our area, bring maps of the neighborhood and set up shop outside our homes. Literally hundreds of women block traffic, expose their breasts and genitals, scream at all hours of the day or night, and keep our residents inside their homes out of fear. Our local hotels, including the Days Inn, Henley Park, and Morrison-Clark, have lost hundreds of thousands of dollars because visitors to the District will not put up with the situation I and my neighbors face every day. Would you walk a baby, take a quick run down to the corner store, or walk home from work after dark if you knew you would be accosted by hookers or johns? Would you not resent being kept awake all night by cruising cars and screaming women? Would you not be shocked to learn that the only threat faced by those arrested is a $50 fine and immediate release?

As I told your reporter, we are not seeking to repeal the bail act, and we certainly aren’t hoping to release murderers from prison to make room for prostitutes. That was insulting and ludicrous. I personally don’t care if they never go to jail at all. But under our current law there isn’t any threat of jail time or a real fine. Fifty dollars is no disincentive to practice their trade outside my bedroom window. Evans’ bill would impose a minimum sentence of one night in jail and a real fine upon conviction. This will hardly force us to empty Lorton and send “real” criminals into the streets.

President

Blagden Alley Community Association

Blagden Alley