Dollar Loan Center Adds Another Ingredient to a Recipe for Disaster

While some may argue that it’s better than an empty building, the opening of the Dollar Loan Center store on Sepulveda seems to add another portion of trouble for Sunkist Park. The strip of Sepulveda that already features two of the skankiest bars imaginable, a series of drive-through fast food spots. a gun shop, and an open-during-the-rush tax prep office could hardly sink lower. A credit-squeeze instant loan owned by a man who keeps getting arrested is another weight dragging the boulevard down. It’s not just about ugly; it’s about dangerous.

In a city where billboards are illegal, there are dancing sign holders at almost every corner for several blocks touting cell phones, credit dentists, and other bottom rung business offers, creating an atmosphere of economic desperation and visual sleaze.

The Dollar Loan Center, which offers “Don’t Be Broke” as it’s slogan, gives it’s patrons the other option of getting into insane amounts of debt very quickly. With a $2,500 loan available at a charge of $13.53 interest (compounded daily) that’s $ 2,909.50 you need to pay back at the end of the month. Advertisements for the DLC  note that “Anyone can apply, but we normally require a minimum household income of $4000 per month for approval.” So, the employees of the fast food restaurants and the credit dentist don’t really qualify. Who is this business looking to serve ?

According to the Associated Press, Charles Brennan, founder and owner of Dollar Loan Center stores in Nevada, Utah and South Dakota, has been arrested in a prostitution sting and was also charged with a campaign finance violation.

Brennan, 42, of Las Vegas, was booked into the Washington County jail on a misdemeanor charge of patronizing a prostitute on January 16 of this year.

The Sioux Falls, S.D., native and the others are accused of offering money to a decoy acting as a prostitute in exchange for sexual favors. Police spokesman Johnny Heppler said detectives arranged the sting at a local hotel by posting an ad on a website primarily used by men seeking prostitutes. “They (suspects) then took the additional step by meeting with the decoy and exchanging money, at which point they were arrested,” he said.

Last September, the Federal Election Commission cleared Brennan of allegations of improperly contributing money to the 2008 campaign of then-Rep. Jon Porter, R-Nev.

The Culver City Planning Commission has made it clear that they do not have any control over what kind of businesses Culver City can accept. But can we take a moment to notice that the instant loan, easy walking distance from the bars and the gun shop, is also with in very close proximity to two of our elementary schools ?

There is just one thing missing at this point – an angry, mentally ill man who can get some money, drink until he’s angrier, buy a gun and walk to school.

An empty building is not the worst thing to have.

www.culvercitysymphony.org

7 Comments

  1. Now that it’s already here, is there anything citizens can do? I agree that the placement of this loan center is very poor. I wonder why there isn’t a statute in place to keep such businesses 5-mile radius away from schools? In a multi-school community such as ours, that ought to keep a lot of territory free and clear. I wish the bars with the smokers hanging out in front and the gun shops were further away from the schools too, for that matter.

  2. Very disturbing, indeed. I’m glad you are bringing it to the forefront of people’s busy minds.

    Will it take a tragedy to use common sense in community planning?

  3. Living around the corner from the skankiest bars in town, I could not agree more with this article. However, I think we have to be careful that CC not sell out family and local businesses in the name of upgrading the neighborhood. I am very disheartened by what is happening in the Sepulveda/Washington-Braddock area…old established businesses like Foogert’s and Unpainted Furniture forced out, while chains like Starbucks, etc have moved into the area. I do not want to see that kind of plastic culture in Sunkist. That the Culver City Planning Commission cannot help steer the right kind of businesses to an area is bureaucratic nonsense…if the laws do not work, change them!

  4. I would suggest to the council and the chief of police that they step up enforcement in this area. Not only do we have many homeless people living in and around the alley, we have had chronic problems from the bars and the drunks, the fast food 24 hour restaurants, overpriced “convenience stores” (whose idea of carrying fresh milk is a 4-6 ounce plastic tiny bottle of milk for an outrageous price) and low end stores! Sunkist park needs to request a city meeting to establish our vision for this neighborhood and stop the constant degradation of our home prices due to poor planning and really poor choices by absent landlords.

  5. Does anyone know what is happening at the nearby former KFC, or any of the other empty storefronts?

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