Tuesday, November 22, 2005

On October 16, a reputed Mongol member named Ronald "Sonic" Cobos was shot and killed outside The Pantry, the restaurant once owned by former mayor Dick Riordan. While Sonic claimed the Mongols, apparently he was one of those new wave recruits that didn't even own a motorcycle.

According to what was pieced together, Cobos met up with some females in a biker bar in Alhambra and went to the Pantry to eat. While there, Cobos got into a mad dog contest with a couple of Filipinos. Nothing real serious but noticeable enough that the staff threw the Filipinos out. When Cobos and the girls were done eating, they went outside. In the parking lot across the street, Cobos and his new friends were confronted by a group of ten to twelve Filipinos. Apparently the Filipinos decided to wait for Cobos and called in the cavalry to back them up. Words were exchanged and one of the Asians grabbed a piece and shot Cobos in the chest at near point blank range.

Cobos lived for three weeks on life support but was never able to talk. His status was improving but then all of a sudden, he got worse and died on November 4.

The lesson here is clear. Don't go into harm's way without backup. At the very least bring something that goes bang. You're courage may be admirable but it won't mean much when you lose. Contrary to what some posters have said about the Mongols, it's obvious they don't always travel in packs.

In the same general area of downtown, a yet to be named drug dealer paid the ultimate price last night for refusing to kick up his taxes. Sometimes macho pride can be a very bad career move.

Monday, November 21, 2005

No matter where you stand on the Tookie Williams execution issue, you have to marvel at the exquisite timing of another execution a half world away. Singapore, to be exact, where Nguyen Tuong Van, a convicted drug dealer is scheduled to be hanged on December 2 for smuggling just under a pound of heroin.

When it comes to crime and punishment, Singapore is medieval. You get caned and fined for spitting on the sidewalk, littering or tagging. Drug smuggling is a death penalty offense. Note to Courtney and Snoop. Stay out of Singapore. Just to provide a comparison, Tuong Van was arrested in December 2002. That figures out to three years between the crime and execution. I count good. Since 1991, Singapore has hanged 400 criminals. It also happens to have one of the lowest crime rates in the world. Connection? You be the judge.

Tookie, on the other hand, has had a quarter century of appeals on his multi homicide conviction and he's been allowed to write books and have a movie made about him and, as we've heard for about the millionth time, has been nominated for the Nobel Prize.

It really doesn't get any more clear than this. No matter what Jesse and the Hollywood types like to say about this country, they can't say we don't bend over backwards to make sure every avenue of appeal is exhausted before the State takes a life. And there's still an outside chance Arnold may give Tookie a pass. There aren't any passes in Singapore. They hang 'em high and often. Same goes for other countries like Malaysia and Viet Nam that execute drug slangers. It's kind of ironic too that the same people like the Tom Haydens and the Mike Farrells that were rooting for the other side in Viet Nam aren't saying a word about the drug dealers in Nam waiting to be executed. Go figure.

It would be unfair to say that the authorities in Singapore are completely lacking in compassion. They're letting Tuong's mom have a few extra visits before they hang him.
One of the items I came across while going through the stack was an item in the Daily News from last month. Apparently, the City Council is resurrecting the GANG CZAR concept once again. This time, it's Councilman Tony Cardenas who is reanimating the dead beast. He wants to create a new city division to supervise and coordinate anti-gang efforts. The article wasn't really clear on how this would be done because we suspect that Cardenas himself isn't really clear on how to do it.

Back in the Dick Riordan days, the Mayor and the Council tried to come up with gang czar model and came up with nothing. First they got together to figure out what the full time gang chief would do and where the money to pay him or her and a staff would come from. Then they figured they didn't have the money and decided to make it a part time position. Then they didn't have the money for that either and they couldn't figure out how to make the czar do something that wasn't already being duplicated by any number of other city departments. Then they just packed it up and went home. No gang czar.

While there's always hope, we get the feeling this new effort will end up in the same trash can of half-baked aspirations as the earlier proposal. We've got a few ideas on how to do this, but nobody is asking.

Cardenas wants to lick the gang problem and, at the same time, save the city some money. Famous last words from Cardenas. "I'm sure that we're going to find duplication. I'm sure that we're going to find inefficiency." In government? You think?