Santa Ana City Councilman Sal Tinajero says his patience with a crime-plagued local motel in his district has been exhausted, and an ordinance is being drafted that could ultimately shut it down.
Dilapidated rooms, convicts just out of prison, little security, homeless people and crime can no longer be allowed, officials said.
The City Council voted this week to authorize the city attorney’s office to use the Drug Den Abatement Act against California Lodge Suites at 2909 S. Bristol St.
City officials say from July 1 of last year through July 1 of this year, the police department has responded to more than 423 calls for service at the motel.
“I’m the kind of person who tried to work through issues and I think I’ve been very, very patient,” Tinajero told City News Service.
A message left with the motel managers was not immediately returned.
Despite “collecting a tremendous amount of revenue,” the motel’s owners have resisted putting up surveillance video cameras or hiring a security guard, according to Tinajero.
“If they were trying to alleviate (the crime) and bring in some cameras and a security guard, that would be more helpful, but it’s just not happening,” he said.
City officials have also taken issue with “dilapidated” rooms, according to the councilman, who said many of the renters are homeless and living out of the motel.
The motel also appears to be a magnet for parolees, Tinajero said.
“It’s a place where people who have been released from prison tend to go to … get themselves situated,” he said.
Some of the parolees provide “opportunities” for transient youths to get into trouble they would otherwise avoid, the councilman said.
The ultimate act the city could take would be to shut down the motel, he said. The city may also seek court orders to force the property owners to address issues with drug dealing, which is one of the main problems at the motel, officials allege.
“I prefer not to go that route,” Tinajero said. “I prefer that the individuals step up and do what they’re supposed to do.”
–City News Service