Combatting the Seamier Side of San Carlos

Some new info below, but first a recap:  tonight, the San Carlos City Council is expected to ban new massage establishments from opening up (update:  temp ban indeed passed)…a move intended to control businesses offering more – much more – than the standard sixty minute deep tissue massage.

SC Bureau Police Chief Greg Rothaus wrote in a memo to the council that while many massage businesses are legit, some are engaging in prostitution.  (Please see last Friday’s LSS story for details).

But there’s a bit more interesting background on the proposed ban.  Chief Rothaus says last year, Belmont grappled with the very same problem and the city established its own moratorium.  “Coincidentally or not, this last year is when we’ve had an influx of applications in people coming here,” Rothaus explained.   Rothaus suspects those wanting to start that kind of massage business were out of luck in Belmont, so moved on to San Carlos, right next door, with no pesky moratorium to thwart such illicit activity.

While the SC police department has made two arrests for prostitution over the last year, Rothaus says the city doesn’t have a problem with prostitution per se, but the goal is get in front of it and be proactive.

It appears, SC authorities deal with another source of prostitution, that  linked to escort services in which “escorts” arrange to meet their “dates” at local hotels.

Rothaus points to a wildly popular online escort service specializing in the Bay Area.  “We believe it’s happened in our hotels, we know it’s happened in neighboring cities, it’s so prolific, it’s so easy to do,” he said.  (Suspected activity is monitored and has resulted in arrests secondary to prostitution, like drugs)

In other words, San Carlos – with its strong schools, upscale downtown and high housing costs – is not immune to the problems all cities face.






Filed Under: Column 2San Carlos News


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