Oh, Joni Balter. I can understand your desire to see Eli Sanders in heels—he's got great legs. I cannot understand why you think putting City Council Members Tom Rasmussen, Nick Licata, Mike O'Brien, and Bruce Harrell in heels is going to prove why we need Tim Burgess's aggressive solicitation bill on the books, mostly because your sudden argument that this is a women's issue is completely unfounded. In fact, it makes me feel embarrassed for you.
You are ignoring the facts—namely, this and this and this and this—in favor of intimating that women are aggressively solicited more than men when you have no data to back up this claim (and when the Downtown Seattle Association's own data shows that extreme concerns about aggressive panhandling in the downtown core dropped from 57 percent to 32 percent in 2009). And if you've truly been concerned that women are being victimized by aggressive solicitation, you made no mention of it in your column on the subject last week.
I'm a woman, and I've lived downtown for the past two years, within spitting distance of the Millionaire's Club, where homeless and low-income men line my sidewalk before dawn every morning looking for work. Unlike you, who, as you say in your Seattle Times profile, "lives near Seward Park with [your] husband." I walk downtown every day, at all hours of the day and night. I'm asked for spare change on a regular basis, however, I've never been the victim of aggressive solicitation. Ever.
Perhaps it's because I wear sensible shoes and don't have a baby (you freak). Tell me, Joni, when do you find the time to commute from Seward Park to troll the streets of downtown in heels, jostling babies? Or will your promenade with Eli be a first?
What I'm saying is, if you want to continue to ignore all the facts and base your watery argument on anecdotal evidence, my anecdotal evidence trumps yours. Don't pretend that aggressive solicitation is a women's issue.