Giles and I went for a run around Hansen Dam Saturday. A lovely anaerobic hour of spring breezes, families on bikes, pushing strollers, holding hands. Returning home duly cleansed, I indulged my week-long desire for take-out fried chicken at El Pollo Campero. So there I was, on my way out of the parking lot, my greedy fingers already caressing the hot greasy bag on the passenger seat, what do I see right in front of the car? A pair of hos, direct from central casting, leading a john to the manager’s window at the Sepulveda Motel. They stood on the sidewalk and studied their Dollar Tree nails while he paid for the room. Not a token gesture of concealment. A patrol car rolled past. They yawned. On Friday we stopped at Royal Spiceland to pick up some garam masala for dinner. In the two hundred feet from the car to the store entrance: four hos, heading out for the night in full ass cheek and side boob frippery, Red Bulls in hand. I bike to LA Fitness this afternoon, three more on one block. Working it. Working the buttered-on neon lime and hot pink tops and tattered denim, hoop rings and gangsta tats. Flats, not heels, on account of the miles they will be putting on. All this…in the afternoon.
The City could end this tomorrow. By municipal decree it could end the practice of renting rooms by the hour. It could place the business licenses of problem motels on immediate probationary status. One strike: fine. Second strike: triple fine. Third strike: revocation of permit. This is a fixable problem with a process solution. There is no constitutional right to run an open-air brothel on a public street in America. I write that as someone with decidedly libertarian inclinations. The people in the position to do something about all this could do it tomorrow. Yet they don’t. Why is that? How do absentee owners abide here what they would never abide for five minutes in their own neighborhoods? Or to their own daughters? If one is working the check-in window at the hot sheets motel how does one rationalize taking a percentage from the sale of a trafficked woman? What slender thread of plausible deniability does one cling to?
My house, my block, my pocket neighborhood, my beloved working-class Brigadoon, all on the upswing, nearly unrecognizable from a decade ago, when viewed through the lens of renovation and restoration.
This bull***t on the boulevard is the ONE thing which has objectively grown worse.
The City has seen fit to make it illegal to purchase a disposable plastic bag on Sepulveda Blvd. It will brook no compromise there. The Pharisees shall not cross! Purchasing a woman, a child even, to be used as a disposable receptacle, that is another matter, in another country called Van Nuys. Besides, it’s someone else’s child. Nobody we know.