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How come it sometimes seems that our HoCo governmental departments are working at cross-purposes? One example I’ve previously commented on is the futility of continuing to permit new development on steep slopes while also conducting an expensive storm water remediation program for situations caused by exactly such development practices. But today I want to comment on a completely different set of cross purpose actions which have me scratching my head. It doesn’t deal with development issues for a change….or does it?

For years our HC police have conducted undercover sting operations to trap men engaging in solicitation of prostitution.  While I fully support police actions which reduce prostitution and human trafficking in HoCo I do have to question the repeated use of the same hotel for their sting operations. As described in the HC Times and Sun articles Eight arrested in Laurel undercover police sting. 2/23/17 detectives lured those ultimately arrested by placing fake ads on a website often used for prostitution. Once men call the phone number in the ad they’re connected to undercover female officers who provide a place to meet in the 9800 block of Washington Boulevard (Route 1).

Is it just me or does it seem unwise to be publicizing the effectiveness of sting operations in North Laurel at the same time HoCo is attempting to sell a property which was purchased in the closing the moments of the Ulman administration in the very next block??? Somehow, somewhere, someone must realize that publicizing such sting operations make revitalization of the Route 1 corridor much more challenging. The hotel in question is located directly across the street from properties which the county is encouraging to be aggregated with the property they are attempting to sell.

I also have to question the wisdom of attracting people who frequent prostitutes into an area where the adjoining street is residential and populated with many children. How come the county police don’t alternate the sites for these stings more frequently? How come they are not providing their targets with the opportunity to see more of Howard County—by attracting them to motels or hotels in Columbia or Ellicott City or Maple Lawn? I can assure you that folks in the North Laurel area would be more than happy to share the wealth. It is interesting to see just how far away the eight persons arrested traveled to the honeypot site.  They came from as far away as Philadelphia, but are mainly from surrounding Anne Arundel, Prince George’s, Montgomery, and Carroll Counties.  What does the HoCo Tourism Board think of this?

How come the subject hotel, which was the site of a murder last year, is so willing to be used by the police?  Are they just biding their time until they can sell at a higher value since they were rezoned, and like the opposite corner, are targeted for “property aggregation”?

Stop by again for more things that make you go hmmmm—and meet me on the high road,