Shut ’em down! - Compton to shutter hotels over charges of prostitutionBy Charlene Muhammad -National Correspondent- | Last updated: Dec 19, 2013 - 12:01:25 PM
Council members voted to issue a resolution to revoke the Hub Motel’s conditional use permit and business license Dec. 3.
“Once they voted to bring back a resolution, one can infer that it’s a wrap,” said City Attorney Craig Cornwell. “Once the resolution is made, it’s immediate. They don’t have to get out but it means they don’t have authority to operate a business but the property is still theirs,” he told The Final Call.
Atty. Cornwell said his office followed the public hearing up with publication of “Johns” names, alleged clients of prostitutes, and will continue to use all tools available to tackle the problem. That includes asking other businesses on Long Beach Boulevard where the motel sits to take a stand against the problem of prostitution.
“The awareness is at an all-time high. ... We don’t consider this a time to rest at all,” he said.
In a recent public presentation to the council, outside lawyers hired by Atty. Cornwell revealed that the aptly named Hub Motel, situated directly across the street from Muhammad Mosque No. 54 and within a mile of six schools, was also a haven for other crimes. Those included 165 disturbances, 19 robberies, and 16 assaults with a deadly weapon in just one location, said Attorney Justin Sanders.
“Part of the problem with the Hub Motel is what’s surrounding the Hub Motel as well, which the Hub Motel breeds and feeds into,” Atty. Sanders said.
Student Minister Robert Muhammad of Muhammad Mosque No. 54, his wife Marlena, and Sheriff Detective Fernando Gonzalez testified before the council.
Mr. Muhammad said it was his wife’s cries and call for help just before one Sunday meeting in July that prompted the Fruit of Islam to take more action.
She was delivering refreshments for guests after the meeting and witnessed a young female exiting one of the front rooms of the motel, Mrs. Muhammad said as she tried unsuccessfully to fight back tears.
“She was walking, slumped over ... and a young gentleman came. His pants were half down, and he came charging at her. And she fell down against the wall and she was screaming, like, ‘No! Please don’t! Please don’t,” Mrs. Muhammad continued.
The man dragged the girl by her hair to the back of the motel, she recounted.
Mrs. Muhammad ran to get a Muslim to try to assist the young girl. But before they returned the pair had disappeared, she said.
“This is just one episode that we’ve witnessed. ... We sometimes have to talk to them to see what is their need and we find that some of the girls are 15, 16, all the way to age 23,” she said.
“And maybe to some it doesn’t mean a thing, but when you have to witness this 5 days a week for our meetings, I have daughters that are 23. This is somebody’s grandchild, niece, and if this is a lightweight thing to you and you think okay, whatever, this is just something else on the agenda, this is our babies’ lives,” she passionately told the council.
According to Student Minister Muhammad, on several occasions, young girls have run into the mosque, seeking shelter from threat of pimps. In one instance, when the Muslims ran outside to see what was wrong, a young man with a gun who was chasing the girl ran the other way, he said.
Newly-elected Mayor Aja Brown thanked Atty. Cornwell’s office for its thorough investigation, Paulette Simpson-Gipson, president of the NAACP Compton Branch for her courage and leadership on the issue, and the city council commended the Nation of Islam for taking a stand.
The facts presented weren’t for dramatic purposes but part of due process, Mayor Brown explained.
“I’d like to thoroughly, thoroughly thank stakeholders such as the Nation of Islam for you all truly being about your business, watching out for your neighborhood, your block and I truly believe if we had more people like you that were concerned about the block next to them, the community of Compton would be one of the best in the nation,” Mayor Brown stated.
She also particularly thanked Marlena Muhammad, saying she could feel her heart and compassion for young women.
“We are very happy that through the example of courage and strength of the our leader, the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan and his words which were, ‘Get out there and let the people see you and start making a change in your cities,’ ” said Mr. Muhammad.
“This issue has plagued Long Beach Boulevard for 50 years, so I realize there is more work to be done. I know this is one small step to a bigger outcome, which will prove that when we unify, we can make great strides,” said Mrs. Muhammad.