Today, the City Council made that fine a reality. People who are convicted of patronizing a prostitute (or who agree to a plea in connection with that charge) will have to pay a $150 fine and attend a class (a "john school") about the risks and harms of prostitution.
City Attorney Tom Carr told the Seattle Times that he pushed for the San Francisco program to be part of the package, but Councilmember Nick Licata is claiming credit as well--and taking some from Carr. Licata's office has sent out a memo detailing Licata's role in creating the program (.doc) over the course of several years and has also provided copies of e-mails from 2005 and 2006 in which Carr dismisses claims of the program's effectiveness, arguing that traditional enforcement is sufficient and a class "isn't worth the effort". (Update: The Justice Department's study didn't come out until 2008, but Licata felt that earlier data provided by the group that runs the San Francisco school was enough to show its effectiveness.) We've played phone tag with Tom Carr but have been unable to reach him for comment and confirmation of Licata's account.