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.”

katstacksworldstartattoo

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

Ho, what a web we weave

DSC_0512

Sepulveda Blvd. has a hooker problem.  This is not news to people in Van Nuys. But if you are clicking here from another part of the world, take my word for it, there’s been one for some time. From the Voyager and the Hyland motels, from the Ridge and the Palm Tree Inn they promenade forth in pairs in the late afternoon, Molly-rolling through the night. Again under the unforgiving dawn they work the morning commute, a sullen cluster of the living dead in front of Jon’s supermarket. Without fear of interference from the municipal government, pimps wield a dark, alchemical power. Their chattel, formerly citizens of the United States, toil up and down the boulevard alongside backpack-toting middle schoolers. They block shoppers turning into the parking lot at Fresh and Easy. They take up benches at bus stops and threaten all manner of whup-ass at passerby who stare, frown disapproval, or worse, take pictures.  All this dreary pageantry playing out within a frisbee toss of the urban Mayberry of tree-lined streets that is the Real Van Nuys. The Van Nuys of the 60-hour workweek. The Van Nuys of Sunday barbacoa, birthday parties and mass.

Until now.  Our City Council person, Nury Martinez, has decided to get tough with these guys.  Seriously.  She’s done with being concerned. She’s taking a stand.  She’s going to….

DSC_0588

…’target liquor stores and strip clubs’.  That’ll do it!  No new licenses or permits will be issued for the next….45 days.  ‘It seems like the vice activities feed on each other,” Martinez was quoted in the Times, adding: “We don’t want these types of businesses to lure the pimps.”  There hasn’t been a new strip club or liquor store on Sepulveda in the past decade I have lived here, and probably a decade longer before that, but the council was undeterred. The measure passed unanimously.  Against the accusation of silliness, the proposal was amended to include motels.  For the next 45 days…..no more motel permits!   This will be sure to strike fear in the last motel builder in Van Nuys, who shed this mortal coil somewhere around the Carter administration.

DSC_0602

Just this afternoon, walking Giles, I watched two teen-aged black girls hook a passing car, and direct him into the Travel Inn.  ‘Just pull right on in there. We working there.’  In, he pulled.  They walked right past the motel office window. There appeared to be brisk activity in the parking lot and on the balconies. Not a cop or politician in sight.   They’ve got it figured out, though. No more Travel Inns!  No Travel Inn annex!  They’ve put their foot down! Nothing more to see here. Just a 15-year-old taking if five times a night from strangers, on prom weekend, a thousand miles from home. Daddy wants his money.