Friday, December 15, 2006

The recent stories here and elsewhere about Hector Marroquin are a classic example of history repeating itself and our political leaders' inability, or maybe refusal, to learn from previous mistakes.

Let's take the wayback machine to the year 1977. Then, as now, politicians were flush with cash and were looking for "novel" and "innovative" ways to curb gangsterism and drug addiction. And there was no shortage of groups lining up for government money.

Then, as now, politicians were making alliances with people with very dubious histories. Los Angeles had groups like LUCHA (League of United Citizens to Help Addicts), SPAN (Special Program for Alcholism and Narcotics), CCC (Community Concern Corporation) and the Get Going Project. All these programs had one thing in common. They were all being run by "reformed" criminals. The most notorious of these was Get Going located on 127 South Utah Street in Boyle Heights, just a few blocks from Hollenbeck station. Get Going was founded by Michael Delia, a convicted bank robber and associate of Jimmy "The Weasel" Fratianno and Jimmy Coppola, both Cosa Nostra operators. Delia was also an associate of several high ranking brothers. Get Going's most visible and vocal supporter was State Senator Alex P. Garcia. Garcia ran interference for Delia and greased the rails to get Delia government funding.

Michael Delia had another ally, Ellen Levitt who would eventually marry him and change her name to Delia. Ellen Delia was a brilliant writer of grant proposals. One person who hired her said that when, "she walked in the door, the money would follow."

Get Going was nothing more than a front to rob the government. And the house on Utah Street was nothing more than a heroin distribution center for the Mexican Mafia. When people in the neighborhood complained to the police and Garcia that the "patients" at Get Going we shooting up right on the sidewalk, breaking into apartments and threatening anybody that complained, Garcia told the citizens of Boyle Heights that Get Going was there to stay "whether you like it or not."

When Ellen Delia eventually realized that the project she helped fund was thoroughly corrupted and infiltrated by the Eme, her husband conspired to have Alfie Sosa kill her. Ironically, the car that drove her to that drainage ditch on Elkhorn Boulevard in Sacramento was bought and paid for by a government grant. She helped finance her own killing with the help of idiot politicians. Her killing, and a number of other murders connected to Michael Delia and his associates, eventually prompted City Councilman Art Snyder to pull the funding on Get Going and every other program that had questionable directors and missing funds. Of course, Snyder got the usual death threats and the usual invectives about not caring for poor and drug addicted people. According to the estimates at the time, Los Angeles wasted roughly $48 million on these programs. Most of that money just vaporized.

Then, as now, the politicians had ample warnings from law enforcement that all these programs had been infiltrated. Then, as now, the politicians ignored the warnings. Then, as now, the programs ran with almost no supervision or oversight. Then, as now, the program directors put family members on the payroll which is contrary to the directives of the program charter. Then, as now, the politicians looked the other way. Then, as now, the programs never needed to show verifiable proof that the programs were working.

Has the current crop of bonehead pols ever read any of this? Is there no corporate memory?

The concept of turning over drug programs, or gang intervention programs to ex offenders without the slightest level of supervision is criminally negligent. This is worse than pounding money down rat holes. This is handing your tax money to criminal enterprises. And even worse, or course, is that the people who genuinely need and want help get nothing.