The City Council has adopted an ordinance that officials hope will expand Carson's power to police hotels and motels for possible prostitution activity.

The new ordinance, approved Monday night, requires lodging facilities to keep signed guest registers that include the time of each guest's departure. The ordinance prohibits the registering of fictitious names, the erasure of names, room subletting, short-term rates and the rental of rooms more than once during a 24-hour period.

The ordinance will be enforced by the Carson sheriff's station. The maximum penalty for violation is six months imprisonment and a $500 fine.

Although law enforcement authorities say the city has had few, if any, incidences of prostitution, officials decided nine months ago to begin studying measures for tightening motel regulations in an effort to "lock the barn door before the cat gets out," as one council member put it. The city has nine motels and no hotels.

Among previous recommendations for measures to prevent prostitution was a recommendation by Mayor Kay Calas to require the construction of coffee shops at all Carson lodging facilities. No such provision is included in the new ordinance.

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