Community Marches Against Prostitution

Prostitutes, look out. One of San Jose’s downtown neighborhoods is coming for you.

A press release sent out by Councilmember Sam Liccardo’s office says that at 6:30pm tonight, community members of the Guadalupe-Washington neighborhood and Santa Maria Urban Ministry will march along South First Street in front of Biblioteca Latinoamericana, located at 921 S. First Street.

The event is reminiscent to another community march that took place decades ago, when former downtown Councilmember and Mayor Tom McEnery joined small business owners, residents and even nuns from Notre Dame High School to walk the streets and confront the city’s’ less desirable elements.

The purpose of tonight’s march is to send a similar message to pimps and prostitutes that “their illegal and egregious behavior will not be tolerated.”

“The surrounding neighborhood is being victimized by this kind of activity,” Liccardo said in the news release. “Our office and the San Jose Police Department field multiple calls every week from community members who tell us they can’t let their kids walk to the library or to the bus stop for fear of being harassed by pimps and prostitutes.”

Omar Torres, a long-time Guadalupe-Washington resident and executive director of Santa Maria Urban Ministry, said it was important to “stand up and react,” otherwise “young women and our community be further victimized.”

“We have and continue to work hard with our local schools and non-profits to keep the Guadalupe-Washington neighborhood a safe and thriving community.”

The march comes after a series of meetings with downtown stakeholders about eliminating prostitution. In late July, the city obtained a preliminary injunction against Hotel Elan, located at 1215 S. First St. The city claimed the hotel allowed “prostitution to regularly and openly take place on its property over the last four years.”

Since that time, the hotel hired security, installed cameras and a fence along the property’s perimeter. According to Liccardo’s office, the councilmember, the San Jose Police Department and the City Attorney’s Office have met with downtown motel owners along the North First Street corridor to form a Hotel and Business Watch group.

Liccardo’s office said it also plans to release proposal to convert some motels to affordable housing.

Josh Koehn is a former managing editor for San Jose Inside and Metro Silicon Valley.

12 Comments

  1. The City is going to buy motels and convert them to affordable housing?  Is this supposed to reduce crime?  Another example of politicans who are not in touch with reality!

  2. I want to commend Omar Torres, and the Guadalupe Neighborhood Association for putting this march together. I attended the march, and was proud to see them fighting to take their neighborhood back, and to share in their commitment to protect their children from crime occurring in their community.

    I was happy to hear them demand that the City find a way to increase our Police force, and commit to being better at reporting the crime they see. If more neighborhoods took this kind of interest in the safety and well being of their community, and didn’t cave into the fear criminals impose upon them, then crime wouldn’t on the rise.

    I think that we will start seeing more and more protests like this in San Jose, and in other cities because citizens have come to realize just how blessed we were to have had so many good Police Officers protecting us, before Police Departments were cut. I guess you never know how lucky you are to have something until you lose it.

    Unfortunately, it has taken cutting our Police Department and a rise in crime to wake everyone up, and get them engaged into doing the right thing. It is only by pulling together, refusing to allow the criminal element to succeed, and supporting the few Police Officers we have left, to bring us all together.

    To all you Police Officers out there, thank you for your service, and please stay safe out there.

  3. This article is absolutely replete with irony. In the first place, what kind of respect – or even attention – do these citizens expect to get from the pimps, prostitutes, and dealers populating the area? Police officers don’t even get any respect from them and private citizens surely won’t either. Then, as DISJ rightfully observed, more affordable housing is the absolutely last thing San Jose needs and certainly its among the last things San Jose can afford. Affordable housing consumes vastly more resources than the taxes it collects would afford, they tend to be more of a blight on the city than anything else. PLO, in one of his rare moments of clarity has rightly observed this fact and stated that the city needs more commercial and residential developments which actually net tax dollars as opposed to sucking them out of the city coffers.

    And, speaking to the blight, how exactly does Sam Liccardo expect the PD to keep up with the increase in crime that affordable housing will inevitably represent. It’s not like pimps, dealers and hookers don’t occupy affordable housing. Really, all he’s doing is pandering to a special interest or two, trying to make himself look like an innovator (I guess he took a page from PLO’s playbook: Novel-But-Dumb-Ideas-Which-Will-Never-Work) but which will do vastly more harm than good.

    Sam Liccardo ought to be worrying a lot more about how much further the city is going to swirl down the toilet while officers continue to leave the city in unprecedented numbers. What is going to happen to the city if the PD rolls drop below 900 officers as seems more than likely at this point. And, how soon will it happen. The POA recenly processed 160(!) background packets for SJPD officers in the hiring process with other agencies. Meanwhile, Chuck Reed, Pete Constant, Sam Liccardo and others fiddle their lines of BS, trying to convince the public that Measure B will do more good than the harm it has already caused. But sworn officers – and even reserves – are leaving the PD in droves, simply because of what Measure B threatens and in spite of the fact that it hasn’t gone into effect yet. Rome is burning and all city hall seems to want to do is play the same tired, repetitive and deceptive song.

    • How about we talk about Councilman Constant for the rash of burglaries that are occuring in his district.  What does he tell his constituents!  Sorry I have helped cut so many police officers that the police department no longer responds to break-ins.  And by the way, due to lack of officers, we eliminated our Burglary Unit, so these crimes are no longer investigated. I suggest you just call your insurance agency and file a claim. 

      Sorry, but I wish you well.  But we did pass Measure B.  Some day we will hire more officers at minimum wage with no benefits / pensions to protect you.

  4. Bellarmine Sam should march….HE caused the problem…nice grandstanding…..the problem will get worse….more cops are resigning and retiring at record numbers…I wonder why???  Stay whorey San Jose

  5. Sam is thumbing his nose at all of these comments. He does not care about citizens. Politicians like him care about what will help him and further his political career. These people need to go. Also everyone who aligns themselves with guys like Liccardo (including current high ranking police administrators) you know who you are!!! This BS needs to stop. City Hall WAKE UP the citizens are getting very upset with your nonsense. You can only hide behind the pathetic local paper for so long. The real media is starting to figure it out.

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