Dear John…

Yeah you, douchebag

Yeah you, douchebag

“Your car has been seen on Sepulveda Blvd, a known area of street prostitution.”

“If you aren’t soliciting, you have no reason to worry about finding one of these letters in your mailbox. But if you are, you and your wife or family will have something to discuss at dinner. This letter will discourage you from returning. Soliciting for sex in our neighborhoods is not okay.”

“Our license plate readers are everywhere.”

Sincerely, Nury Martinez 

Since my car is frequently seen on Sepulveda Blvd., I guess I can look forward to receiving many such notices like this.

Mrs. UpintheValley‘s car is on Sepulveda twice daily. In fact,  she’s in the habit of frequenting the known prostitution hot spot that is the Jon’s supermarket parking lot, the better to prize meat for her husband.  No, really.  You don’t think…?

Gee, and to think we were sharing the same bed all these years.

Morning, Ho

Working the commuter trade

Sepulveda, 8 AM

Seeing a gaggle of booty-shorted women working a corner in the harsh, unforgiving morning light, one thinks: who does this?  Who pulls over in the middle of the commute, in full view of the yoga moms and clock punchers and school buses and negotiates a curbside transaction for full release? 

Men do.  Otherwise these ladies wouldn’t be here.

The Daily News profiled an undercover operation not long ago, in which the first john nabbed was suddenly surrounded by his wife, mother and kids, all yelling at the police demanding to know why he was being arrested. It turned out he was procuring his…date…down the block from his house. In daylight.

Men. We stupid sometimes.

A Proclamation on Behalf of The Pimp

US Supreme Court

Amidst the anticipation of this week’s Supreme Court decisions regarding gay marriage and Obamacare, yesterday with quiet fanfare the great edifice of law put scales to the question of Sepulveda Blvd motels.

Our motels! Our hooker strip!  Us!  Right here in the Valley!

In Los Angeles v. Patel, the Court struck down municipal code § 41.49, which allowed the police to inspect motel records without a warrant, specifically to identify patrons paying cash and staying less than 12 hours.  Meaning, hookers and johns.

The decision was argued on fourth amendment grounds, with much discursive argument as to what constituted a private record and whether motels met the definition of a ‘closely regulated’ business, and what exactly was an undue burden on owners.

Short version: The vice squad now needs to go before a judge to make a garden variety motel bust.

Shorter version:  That’s never going to happen.

Subtext:  A tacit admission by the motel owners association (Patel) that street prostitution represents a significant percentage of their bottom line.  Enough so, they were willing to go to the Supreme Court to hang on to it.

The winners are…well, you can guess.

The Court did not hear the testimony of Kat Stacks, former prostitute, turned hip-hop groupie and now as-told-to-author:

“I got turned out by a nigga when I was 14 and he was almost 10 years older than me and he my baby daddy. He gave me my new name and my tattoo…I was wit him for five years, and I was faithful, I did whatever he wanted and I worked seven days a week…I seen girls working on crutches cause they Daddy broke they leg…He put me out on the track in New York. Once I went through that horrible experience he put me in white places where I won’t get hurt at, but he first had to put me in a place where I could go through all this shit and learn not to be a weak bitch.”

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All three women justices voted in favor of the motel owners.  Make of it what you will.

‘Yo no soy una puta mierda’

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Sepulveda, Sunday afternoon.  A blogger we all know is biking to the gym.   Up ahead he sees a…potential photo subject…promenading along the sidewalk, a celebration of booty short, thigh tattoo and wedge clogs.

As he reaches for his trusty point and shoot, a utility van cuts to the curb in front of him, interposing between photographer and subject.

The van driver honks at the woman.  Two short demanding beeps. Turn your ass around, business is at hand.

She spins on her heel, displeased.   She lets him know.

“Yo no soy una puta mierda, mother—–”

The driver is confused.  The Woman Presumed To Be a Ho advances angrily on the Man Who Would Be Her John. She slaps the front of his van.  He shrugs, looks at her in bewilderment, as though to say, ‘what was I to think?’

“Yo no soy una puta mierda!”  And off she clomped.

Cindy vs. Nury, Part Deux

Matching lipstick and dress? Wedding ring on display? Check.

My lipstick matches my dress? Check. Wedding ring on display? Check.

Nury Martinez has Good Hair.  Even by lofty Latina standards,  Latinas being naturally advantaged in all matters coiffure, Nury has gorgeous, telenovela quality hair.  That’s my takeaway from last night’s ‘debate’ between her and repeat challenger for la jefa of Council District Seis, Cindy Montanez.

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Cindy’s no slouch in the hair department herself, though.  She’s abandoned the pantsuits of 2013 and adopted a kind of I-shop-at-Costco-just-like-the-rest-of-you-Van Nuysians look. And I can prove it, see? I just toss it carelessly over my shoulder along with my sensible bag and push my own grocery cart across the lot to my minivan. 

If I didn’t know she pocketed over a million dollars in taxpayer money from a pair of political patronage appointments while waiting for the party machine to clear a seat for her, I’d almost believe it.

Now wait a minute, you might be thinking. What kind of misogynistic nonsense is this?  These women are professionals. One of them is your councilperson. How dare you dissect their appearance. For shame.

Well, they didn’t leave us much choice in the matter. Because there wasn’t a whole lot of substantive distinction between the two.

They’re both Opposed to Street Prostitution. Opposed! Asked what they do in the way of interdiction both women emotively delineated the state of play on Sepulveda Blvd and left it at that.  This re-describing the problem in lieu of answering the question would prove to be the operative template of the evening in all questions relating to Van Nuys.  Budget shortfall?  Tough decisions need to be made. Raising the minimum wage to $15/hour?  It’s hard living on $10/hour.  It requires further study. Developing Van Nuys Blvd?  It used to be nicer when we were growing up, now it’s blighted. We should work with the business community to improve it.

In matters pertaining to the Great Wide Realm Over Which the Council Has No Authority, they offered opinions freely.  Alternative energy?  Yea. Fracking? Nay. GMO foods? Double Nay. Free trade? We should be very concerned, but…yes. Er, unless it takes away American jobs.  Then no. Sort of the way they both favor alternative energy mandates, as long as they don’t raise electricity rates, which of course they do and which have already locked in a 30% surcharge on every DWP bill for life.

These were not helpful questions for undecided voters, frankly, and the moderator would have done better to skip them.

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Which brings us back to…presentation.

Cindy, I have to say, came off well in that respect.  She grew on me as the meeting wore on.  My ears pricked up at the mention of the civic impact of aesthetic improvements in San Fernando.  It made me wish she showed up at my house as promised 18 months ago.

You can file this under condescending remarks from a white guy, but she’s articulate.  Nury….I’m not sure what’s going on there. She’s hanging on to a rather baroque accent for a college graduate raised in the United States.  This may be an entirely political calculation for all I know. In the absence of policy differences, each side appeared to be utilizing semaphores to hint at who they were and whose votes they were seeking.

As a side note, Nury packed the room with shills who punctuated her pablum with orchestrated clapping and cheering. This was off-putting, and toward the end of the meeting skirted the edge of outright intimidation. Not an attractive look for an incumbent.  She would be well-advised not to repeat this if there’s to be a return match.

**Andrew Hurvitz was in attendance as well and, as always, has his own amusing take: Power For the People’s Own Good.

Hooked

Ironic mural in the shadow of the Budweiser plant

Ironic mural in the shadow of the Budweiser plant

Unironic hookup just around the corner

Unironic hookup just around the corner

Went looking for the elusive but famous Budweiser parrots today.  They’ve been thought for years to be nesting along the railroad tracks adjacent to the beer plant, refugees from Busch Gardens of yore.  Didn’t see the birds but found nests of urban refugees being rousted from their perch along the 405 by the police.  A woman in yellow pants staggered out of a flooded and trash-strewn gully, pushed her way through a gap in a chain-link fence as casually as if she were emerging from a beaded curtain to her kitchen and asked me for a smoke and if my name was James. She seemed unaware of the official rousting going on just above her, in the shadows of the overpass.  My civic loyalties a bit divided, I helpfully told her the cops were about.  She pinwheeled in a disoriented circle, then continued walking alongside me as we, suddenly a couple, were observed by the LAPD.

Well, this will be interesting.  How am I going to explain this?

We walked side by side, sort of,  as I contemplated a plausible alibi for my impromptu assignation here in the hidden backside of the Valley.  I, conspicuous white man, was just looking for the parrots, officer.

A second man, perhaps whose name was James, emerged from a gap in another fence and she skipped ahead toward him eagerly.   Without preamble, they marched with purpose away from the tracks and disappeared into the shrubwork.  Her clothes looked slept in but she had a pretty decent weave going. No policemen followed them.

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Busch Gardens in its heyday.  Seventeen acres of lagoons and exotic birds served by monorail and boat. Lots of wildlife tours for the kids and free beer for the adults at any one of five ‘hospitality houses’, like the Michelob Terrace.  Remarkably, this nearly perfectly designed childcare arrangement fell out of fashion in the 70’s and the park closed after a mere fourteen years.

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Signposts in North Hills

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I wasn’t sure what to make of this lady, whispering to herself while blowing kisses and making peek-a-boo faces at passing cars.   It was Sepulveda Blvd, but then one shouldn’t judge by appearances.  She was the first person Giles and I encountered on our walk tonight.  Sort of like a Wal-Mart greeter for the neighborhood.

The extra Z is for better sleep

The extra Z is for better sleep

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Turning east from Sepulveda, I encountered a street I never heard of with the Salinger-esque name of Memory Park. It was one block long and appeared to be the last bastion of white holdouts from the old days.  I saw two Clint Eastwood in Gran Turino-type guys tinkering in immaculately well-organized garages, one with an American flag hanging un-ironically off the front porch.

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The other house hosted ‘Fun Daycare’,  with a frolicking babysitter-in-a-miniskirt graphic.  I don’t know what to make of this.  Daycare shouldn’t be jail, but should it be this frivolous?  Is it a pitch subtly geared toward sleazy fathers dropping off kids?  It seems like a sly visual joke for a slasher movie. But then again it could just as possibly be entirely innocent, and probably is.

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Then there were these signs,  scattered up and down the boulevard.    This is the info it provides:

How To Pick-Up Girls And Have Them Call You You Will Never Have To Call Girls Again

There are only general rules, you need details becasue every situation is different.

1. Stop spending money in taking girls out to dinner, quit buying flowers and other things. Instead, use that money to pay her to help you wash your car, clean your house, etc.

2. You must pay her by the hour. You clock her in when she starts, and clock her out when she is ready to go home; pay her in cash before she leaves: that is the reason why she will call you again. Never take advantage of her by having her around you for free becasue she will not call you back.

3. The only proble is that they get lazy after the 3rd day and want to relax and have a good time on the clock, but since you are a ‘nice guy’ you will let her (on the clock)

Procedure

1. Send a money order for the amount of minutes you want to buy for consultation $2.00 per minute, $20.00 minimum (10 Minutes)

2. Don’t forget to give us your phone number and name. ( We file by phone numbers)

3. Use text til we call you. We’ll call you once we receive your money order (no checks) then, we’ll schedule a time for a phone meeting that is convenient for you.

Send Money Order Made Out To:

Mark Barton

1317 North San Fernando Blvd., Burbank, CA 91504

According to Google Maps, the address is a mail drop.

A Ho Story

Daniele Watts, playing the Ho

Daniele Watts, playing a Ho

Media scenario: Up and coming starlet makes out has sex with boyfriend in a Mercedes with the door open on a busy street next to a studio in the entertainment capital of the world.  In the middle of the day.

Workers in adjacent office building suggest the couple get a room.  They don’t.

Someone calls the police to complain.

Police arrive, tell them their performance is interfering with business. Ask for ID’s.

Actress refuses to comply with the request. Police detain her.

I have a publicist, she warns.

The officer has encountered many people with publicists. They show ID when asked, he explains.

Boyfriend begins taping incident for Facebook.

‘I serve freedom and love, you serve detainment.’

Viral marketing ensues:

 The police presumed she was a prostitute because she was black! 

You won’t believe what the LAPD did this time!

They think black women are streetwalkers!

Django Unchained actress  arrested handcuffed in front of her workplace! For kissing while black! Authorities investigating…

From Buenos Aires to London, the pistons begin turning the great cam shaft of public outrage. Ferguson II! Or Trayvon III, if you prefer, but without the chalk outline on the sidewalk.  Even better, a sex angle.  A showbiz angle, too. The trifecta! Get this girl on the set!  We can all be outraged together, without guilt. No one has to take shelter in his ideological bunker.  A freebee. The promise of weeks of good cable TV, sexy B-roll footage, and pop culture Deep Think explaining What It All Means.

Grab your remote. Start clicking those links. Why not? It’s not like there’s an election going on. Or a war.  To be more precise, a resurrection of the Conflict Formerly Known as the War on Terror authorized by a Congressional Resolution denounced by the President before he was President, which will have war-like features but none dare call War.   No wonder we love the tabloids.

Daniele Watts being 'treated like a Ho'. Allegedly.

Daniele Watts, ‘presumed to be a Ho’.  Allegedly.

Here’s the bottom line: LAPD as a matter of departmental policy does not make prostitution stops off a black and white patrol car.   All interdiction is handled through vice, working undercover in unmarked vehicles.  Two overt acts are required to bring departmental action. Consequently, patrol cars roll past working hookers on Sepulveda every day, in full regalia, leaning into car windows…and don’t even give them a glance, much to the consternation of residents of Van Nuys. Which is to say, there is pretty much no chance uniformed LAPD officers rolled up on Ms. Watts in the teeming slum of Studio City, across the street from Trader Joes and Laurel Tavern and just up the block from CBS studios and said to themselves: ‘hmmm, black lady/white man having relations…if it walks like a duck, if it quacks like a duck…cuff that b***h.’

But here’s what’s interesting.  In Django, Daniele works at a brothel called the Cleopatra Club which offers pretty young black women up to wealthy white men who first arouse themselves by watching gladiator-like death matches between black slaves.  At the coup de grace of one of the more brutal scenes of recent American cinema, she coquettishly spills her gumballs across the floor in a kind of sexual release, a moment worthy of an essay of its own.   Back into the pop culture ether went Daniele Watts, and now this sudden reappearance two years later, accusing Los Angeles of treating her like the character which launched her career. Which for the moment, has resurrected it.

Is she acting in one of these photographs or both of them?  I say it’s all performance art.