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Plan Does Double Duty

A new city law in Santa Ana will prohibit cars from stopping or parking along Harbor Boulevard between Warner and Westminster avenues from 4 p.m. to 9 a.m.

If you are a male motorist looking for prostitutes who have made the boulevard their midway, or a prostitute looking for customers, you will not like the law. It will make it easier for police to discourage prostitution, which is exactly what the law is intended to do.

But if you are a resident, merchant, city official or police officer who has been trying to drive the prostitutes away--or those simply concerned with preserving civil rights in the process--the new law is a welcome improvement to past city efforts. It should help considerably. And this approach passes legal muster. It has even earned the approval of the American Civil Liberties Union, which, along with others, was rightly critical of Santa Ana’s previous constitutionally questionable attempts to run the streetwalkers out of town.

One plan, thrown out by a judge last month, sought to declare more than 100 suspected prostitutes public nuisances and ban them from merely being on the boulevard for any reason. The city finally got the message that it could not compromise anyone’s rights, no matter how well-intentioned its goal.

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The result is a law that does double duty. It not only can help drive the prostitutes off Harbor Boulevard, but it should help speed traffic along the busy street in the process.


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