The City of Santa Barbara’s proposed gang injunction was the topic du jour at the fourth meeting of the Pro-Youth Movement, an organization founded to seek alternatives to a punitive approach to juvenile crime. The meeting’s participants — a healthy mix of nonprofit representatives, activists, and concerned citizens numbering about 50 — discussed their questions about an order which, if approved by a judge, would limit the civil rights of Eastside and Westside gang members, namely their ability to associate with each other.
The city first filed for an injunction in March 2011. According to activist Nayra Pacheco, a public-records request revealed that the city had already spent $481,000 pursuing the legal apparatus as of August 2012, over a year ago. Meeting participants wondered if there would be more opportunity for community input, how the legal process will unfold, and how it is determined who a gang member is. Cathy Murillo, the only city councilmember who opposes the injunction and a cofounder of the Pro-Youth Movement, was unsure whether juveniles would be named on the final list. The matter is expected to be heard in Superior Court by Judge Colleen Sterne sometime after the new year.
According to Christy Haynes, a veteran youth worker specializing in violence prevention who is now the lead organizer of Pro-Youth Movement, the city administrator and city attorney were invited to the forum along with representatives of all the area law enforcement agencies (albeit without much advance notice), but nobody attended the forum to defend the injunction.