DID HISTORY BEGIN THIS MORNING?
The first documented gang in Los Angeles dates back to 1909 according to the people who keep track of these things. I'm not betting the farm on this, but I'm guessing the first gang intervention program followed not too long after that. So here we are almost 100 years later and the city is just now getting around to "defining" just what gang intervention is supposed to be about. According to a piece in the Daily News, the mayor and city councilman Tony Cardenas have figured out that "some prevention programs have been getting money under the banner of intervention when those programs don't actually intervene in gang activity." Cardenas has declined to identify those programs. Stop the presses!
You'd think that after dealing with these issues for - let's be generous and say only 50 years - there would have been some kind of manual or maybe even some typed up notes laying around in an office somewhere that spelled out this kind of stuff before handing out money. Clearly, the implication here is that the givers weren't exactly sure what the receivers would do with the money.
According to Bernard Parks, deciding which programs deserve city dollars is, ". . . a major step forward for the City of Los Angeles." There was no indication in the Daily News story that Parks uttered these words with anything other than a straight face. These guys are supposed to be the smart ones. The leaders with a firm hand on the big wheel steering the ship of the city. The major step here would have been to actually solve the problem, not figuring out that money was being pounded down various rat holes. Meanwhile, back on the moons of Jupiter, Janice Hahn is busy trying to stick her hands deeper into your pocket. She's trying to hit every LA homeowner with an additional $40 per year parcel tax to fund intervention programs.
So let's see, with no definition in hand of what a gang intervention program should be, and Laura Chick sorting through the paperwork to figure out why the millions they're spending aren't doing any good and Connie Rice putting her head in her hands muttering "You've wasted every nickel of it so far," Ms. Hahn is merrily putting the cart before the horse. Memo to Janice. Wise stewardship of other people's money behooves you to intelligently use the money you already have before you ask for more. This is like telling your boss, "I know I'm never on time and I'm always screwing up and you're losing business on account of me. But if you give me a raise, I'll do better. This time I mean it." Nobody ever achieved success by rewarding failure.