Safe and sane tattoo regs
I just read your story about Assemblymember Fiona Ma introducing The Body Art Act AB 300 [“The Front Lines,” Feb. 16], which is a body-art regulation for the state of California. The regs mentioned by you are very reasonable and, in most professional artists studios, are already being practiced every day.
What is wrong with an artist registering with the state of California? What is wrong with being held accountable for the tattoos or body piercing that you are paid to do? Informed consent has been around for a long time, and, yes, we are required to ask about medical conditions; however, if the customer doesn't want to reveal those conditions, he/she does not have to. They are optional and must be safeguarded if answered. The reason those questions are asked is for the safety of the client. I sure would like to know if someone is prone to seizures—that way, if it happens, I know what to do for that person to keep them from hurting themselves.
Training in body-art-specific blood-borne pathogens and the OSHA Standard 29 CFR 1910.1030 is a federal law, and it's required by every state and county that I know of. I really would not want to go to someone for a tattoo who does not have this training. Hep C is a life-changing disease that eventually will kill you.
These regulations are not hard to work with and most artists are smart enough and care enough about their industry to do the things that keep it safe and healthy for every one. The regulations that you are speaking of were, for the most part, crafted here in San Diego by the Department of Environmental Health and many tattooists and piercers. Assemblymember Ma is not the bad guy here. She is, however, introducing comprehensive, sane and enforceable current regulations, not heaping more on us.
Mike Martin, Flesh Skin Grafix Tattoo and Body Piercing, Imperial Beach
Lay off the condo dwellers
While I generally agree with the editorials in your magazine, including much of the one published in your Feb. 16 issue, I think the strength of the piece is somewhat lessened by the too-often-repeated slight against Downtown condominium residents. Clearly such residents have more exposure to and tolerance of the homeless than residents anywhere else in the city. If a study were done, I believe it would show that Downtown residents are more sympathetic to the plight of the homeless, both by seeing it daily and probably also by political affiliation, than their suburban counterparts.
However, as you have mentioned, not all homeless are so by choice. Nevertheless, there is a significant portion of the homeless, whether or not homeless by choice, who come with anti-social, even violent, behavior. Many Downtown small-business owners are hanging on by a thread, which is not helped with camping, harassing behavior, and even defecation, at their storefront. Downtown residents and businesses have legitimate interests that deserve balancing rather than belittling sarcasm in these circumstances.
Clearly, the fact that most people are isolated in their suburbs from the tragedy of homelessness, while homeless populations are concentrated in blighted downtowns (and, yes, ours is still blighted), does as much to allow the country to neglect the problem as anything else. Ultimately, denser populations of urban condo dwellers will help to alleviate many of the world's ills, from global warming to loss of open space to isolation and segregation. By scapegoating Downtown residents as implicitly selfish “condo cronies,” you create a strawman villain and distract from the more complicated issues. Therefore, please omit the cheap shots against Downtown condo dwellers and perhaps reserve them for suburban McMansion dwellers. Yours truly, a Downtown refugee now living comfortably in the 'burbs.
Bill Adams, La Mesa
Should we tell you? Yes, this issue of CityBeat is running for mayor.