The City of Miami is considering following in the footsteps of the City of Coral Gables and Hialeah by considering regulating motels that rent their rooms by the hour, as a way to combat criminal activity, but at the Miami Commission the controversy began before it the subject will come to be debated.
With Carollo and Diaz de la Portilla yelling at each other, the discussion about whether or not to address the issue on today’s agenda ended. Commissioner Joe Carollo was in favor of postponing debate on an ordinance introduced by Commissioner Alex Diaz de la Portilla to prohibit hourly room rentals in City of Miami motels. De la Portilla didn’t want to put it off.
“There is prostitution, there is sale of drugs, there is sale of human beings, trafficking of human beings. We are seeing serious problems at these motels. Everyone knows that in the 8th street area between 44th avenue and 5th avenue there are 10 of these motels, ”said Diaz de la Portilla.
With a vote of 4 to 1 they agreed to wait until June, because they considered that more information is needed. The mayor of Coral Gables, the first city in South Florida to pass this type of law 5 years ago, came forward to offer his, and also responded to fears from some Hialeah councilors that point to potential lawsuits.
“With all due respect to my colleagues in Hialeah, that did not happen in Coral Gabes and it will not happen. What we need is the courage of our colleagues in Hialeah to do what is right for the community, ”said Vince Lago, Mayor of Coral Gables.
Miami commissioners did not get to hear testimony from “Glory House” director Betty Lara, who rescues victims of human trafficking.
“We go to hotels and we see a lot of prostitution and these girls are very vulnerable to human trafficking,” Lara said.
Once again, the tension between two former allies surfaced.
“He took out this whole show and then took us out and accused us that we want to protect prostitution,” Carollo said.
“There are a lot of vested interests in an industry with a lot of money, and sometimes people lose their legs.” Diaz de la Portilla said.
For his part, Commissioner Manolo Reyes pointed out the importance of working with the prosecution to develop an ordinance.
Commissioner Carollo said he wants to discuss an ordinance with more effective measures than just banning hourly room rentals. The debate was postponed until June.