WEATHER »

Funding Approved for ‘Gang Czar’


For the past two years, elected officials throughout the South Coast have been talking about appointing an unofficial Gang Czar to better coordinate the myriad services already available via a wide array public and private agencies to address the needs of young people enticed by gang life.

This Tuesday, the funding for such a position was finally approved. By levying an official tax of 75 cents per resident, all south coast government agencies — except Carpinteria — have generated a kitty of $177,000 to pay the $80,000 salary for the yet-to-be hired Gang Czar, an assistant, and the administrative overhead. Recruitment is slated to begin soon, and the position filled by September. The coordinator will work out of Community Action Commission, which also donated $25,000.

While enthusiasm for the project has been high, progress has been slow, in part because the recession knocked many local government agencies for a serious loop. County executive Mike Brown had balked at paying, citing the county’s woeful finances. But county supervisors were persuaded by Santa Barbara Mayor Helene Schneider that the $50,000 requested would be a good investment in public safety. The City of Santa Barbara has committed $67,000. Estimates for the number of actual gang members fluctuates wildly, but the number of young people on probation with gang terms and conditions attached is about 150. The hope is to better focus existing educational and social service resources to these individuals and their families to minimize the attraction of gang membership.

To submit a comment on this article, email letters@independent.com or visit our Facebook page. To submit information to a reporter, email tips@independent.com.



event calendar sponsored by:

You Solve It,’ City Tells County on Library Money Shortage

To avoid financial shortfall, city sends ball back to county's court.

Vigil for Victims in Palestine Held at Courthouse

Community gathers to protest injustice.

Stoker to Be Sworn into EPA Job

Former Santa Barbara County supervisor confirms his appointment as regional head of Environmental Protection Agency.

Live Stream of Channel Island Falcons Makes History

Webcam follows wild peregrine falcon family on the Channel Islands.

Sonos Informs Employees of Potential Layoffs

'Restructuring' could affect 96; how many in Santa Barbara unknown.