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Commentary: Don’t be in denial over the sources of crime in Costa Mesa

At the last council meeting, a frequent critic of the City Council majority stood at the public comment podium and made an incredible statement.

She pointed out that the crime stats showed prostitution arrests had spiked this year, which is true, thanks to the hard work of our Costa Mesa Police Department led by Chief Rob Sharpnack.

Then she said something else that should make everyone in the city shake their heads in disbelief. The drug- and crime-infested motels are not the place where the prostitution arrests are taking place.

Really?

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The very next day, the local media ran a story that reported two Fresno men were arrested on June 3 for pimping charges that involve an underage teenage girl. It was a horrendous case of human trafficking.

And where did these arrests occur? You guessed it: the Motel 6 at Gisler Avenue and Harbor Boulevard, a spot notorious for criminal activity and, according to the district attorney’s office’s own news release, an area known for prostitution.

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So that’s where we have found ourselves, folks. Members of the public who are so obsessed with attacking the council majority that they will instead take the side of sleaze-bag motels, where human trafficking, prostitution, drug sales and abuse happen on a rampant basis.

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We, as a city, should have zero-tolerance for properties that are attractants for pimps and prostitutes and drug dealers. And I assure you, I am Public Enemy No. 1 to these motel operators, and I won’t stop until they’ve either cleaned up their act or shut their doors for good.

And we are taking real action. In April, for example, with the unanimous support of the City Council, we filed a request with the court asking for action against the New Harbor Inn motel on Harbor Boulevard.

The reason is that since 2010, the New Harbor Inn generated nearly 1,800 calls for service and it is a known locale for drug storage and sales and multiple narcotics arrests. That’s not even to mention the filth and bed bugs that our code enforcement discovered there on inspections.

Trust me. These motels are bad news. And the argument that they are they last bastion of affordable housing is even more galling. Why would anyone want any family, low-income or otherwise, to live among this kind of squalor and crime?

Don’t be in denial over the sources of crime in Costa Mesa

Instead of defending these blights in our community, how about joining me and the council majority as we work to bring about change to improve Costa Mesa and push the crime and criminals out?

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STEVE MENSINGER is the mayor of Costa Mesa.

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