Thursday, January 04, 2007

Today's LA TIMES has a report on LA Mayor Tony V's request to the US DOJ for Federal money and prosecutorial resources to fight LA's gang problem. Our mayor wants the DOJ to prosecute gangs on Federal crimes and focus harder on the Mara Salavatrucha, a gang that the Times calls, "a gang from El Salvador." This is all well and good but the MS (aka MS-13, dutiful tax-payers and occasional shock troops for the Eme) isn't the heart of the problem. That's like starting a fight with a big guy but you decide to beat up his little brother. Additionally, the mayor wants more resources to prosecute racially motivated hate crimes committed by gangsters. After a decade of ignoring the issue, it's refreshing that somebody in power has at last acknowledged that the problem exists. The truth is, the DOJ was already on the case long before Tony V. became the city's chief executive. Three jumbo RICO cases in LA, Black Widow in NorCal, the AB trial down south, the Sana and Nite Owl prosecutions, the Vineland crackdown and the Avenues race murders. It's clear the Federal authorities have been doing their part.

This is not to say that local and State LE has been slacking. All those cases required a tremendous amount of talent from LAPD, LASD, CDC, OC and other departments.

And we haven't gotten where we are by not spending money. In the same article, Connie Rice states that we're spending $82 million a year on gang intervention programs that "are designed to fail." It can't help, of course, when Hector Marroquin is handed a million dollars under those programs and ends up buying a $600,000 nightclub. Rice also states that, "We need smart suppression, not blanket suppression." Rice is a smart lady. We just wish she'd offer some concrete ideas instead of generalities. Connie, if you're listening, please give us a usable definition of smart suppression. And councilman Herb Wesson is quoted. "It's about stopping kids before they join gangs." Absolutely correct. Herb, that's what the $82 million a year is for. Show us results.

The good news is that overall crime is down in LA, but gang crime is up 14%. Most of that is in Valley Bureau. There's a concrete reason the Valley is kicking up dust that has to do with certain moves taking place in County Jail. If Ms. Rice wants to exercise her smart versus blanket suppression concept, that might be a good place to start. Here's hoping for the best.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Actually we've got two winners. The first in with the correct answer was SOUTHERN GENT. He clocked in with his correct answer - Rafael Sanvodal, Jimmy Coppolla and Robert Salas - at 3:05 PM. But since MAD MEXICAN clocked in at 3:06 PM, it was close enough, and I was in a generous mood to give both of them a signed copy of the book. If you winners want to send me your mailing info back channel, I'll make sure you get the first two copies off the press. If either or both winners want to fill the rest of us in on the background and the relationship among the three at the time the picture was taken, we'll all be the wiser for it. Thanks for playing at home and here's hoping for a more peaceful year.

While going through the voluminous InTheHat secret vault deep in the Wally Fortress of Solitude, this ancient Polaroid popped up. Instead of revealing who the three individuals are, I'll turn this over to you all. First person to accurately name all three individuals gets a free autographed copy of the book when it hits the stores in July. All readers, including law enforcement, are eligible.