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To The Editor:
Re “Amid concerns over vending, Chin targets knockoff buyers” (news article, April 26):
So, 20 years after trying to become a city councilmember to represent Chinatown and Lower Manhattan, Margaret Chin finally won. It was a victory, one this writer was happy to see.
So, now it troubles me that she has taken on what I believe to be a non-issue, the selling of fake bags in Chinatown. She seems to be joining the mayor and the Police Department in claiming that it is or would be a major victory to eradicate the selling of these so-called fake bags. Now Councilmember Chin even wants to arrest the people who buy the bags.
I have some questions:
Wouldn’t spending this energy instead on eradicating the sale of illegal drugs be a much greater objective?
Wouldn’t spending this energy on bringing landlords who prey on tenants of rent-regulated apartments, trying to drive them out, be a much greater objective?
Why is protecting the so-called trademark infringement of, say, Louis Vuitton or Gucci more important than protecting the citizens of Chinatown and Lower Manhattan from real crimes?
Who of the buyers of these bags would go up town to, say, Bloomingdale’s and pay $2,000 for one bag? Whose sales are they hurting?
Why hasn’t there been a proposed law to arrest the buyers of the services of prostitutes, for instance, if one wants to target buyers? What about the buyers of illegal cigarettes? The tax loss from that industry hurts New York State and City tax income far greater than fake bag sales.
How do we know that the sale of these bags supports terrorism? Where is the proof? Yes, we know that these bags — and probably legally made bags, clothing and many other items — are made in factories that are sweatshops. Why not go after the sweatshops that make all items sold here?
In fact, some of these bags might be the real thing, and come from a side business run by the owners/workers of the factories that actually make the bags. Not that I am in any way advocating the stealing of bags from factories, but get the facts straight before making claims of terrorism support, for instance.
Since 9/11, Chinatown has suffered economically. By targeting the tourists and others who go to Chinatown to allegedly purchase these bags — who then go to restaurants, and also spend money in the shops that sell many other items — these tourists will stay away. That will have an even more economically devastating effect on Chinatown.
I want my tax money to support a police force and a government that make a priority the protection of the citizens who need protecting from illegal drug sales in their communities and the crimes resulting in drug addiction, unscrupulous landlords, child pornographers and on and on. The crackdown on trademark infringement to protect companies who do not hire American workers is not my priority.
Anne K. Johnson