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Why I Support the Civil Gang Injunction

The Future of the City’s Children Should Not Be Shortchanged


Thursday, March 20, 2014
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I can think of 5,272 reasons to support the Civil Gang Injunction: That’s the number of children from fourth through eighth grades in our local public schools, children who are the most susceptible to forcible gang recruitment.

The injunction will curtail the actions of the worst gang members, which in turn will limit their ability to bully our school children to join them.

It will also make the city safer for everyone, especially those who live in neighborhoods where gangs loiter. People there live in fear of being targeted by these thugs whose actions include threats, intimidation, drug use and sales, and even murder.

Sixteen people have been killed since the early 1990s in gang-related killings. Some weren’t even gang members but innocent bystanders.

George Ied was a 37-year-old Syrian immigrant who came to America to escape the violence of his home country. He was beaten to death by four gang members as he walked home late at night from his job at Mi Fiesta Liquor Store on Milpas Street on October 12, 2010.

That same year Robert Simpson, 44, a one-time Marine who worked at Three Pickles delicatessen, was stabbed in the neck at Hendry’s Beach by a “gangsta” and bled to death.

In 2007, in plain view of tourists making their way by Saks Fifth Avenue downtown, a 15-year-old was knifed to death by a 14-year-old gang member.

A gang fight near Stearns Wharf on the Fourth of July in 2008 left one member dead. And now almost weekly there are examples of yet another gang crime. Ignoring criminal gangs begs disaster.

Approval and enforcement of the civil injunction will send a clear message to the bad guys who think violence and crime are necessary and “cool.” It will go a long way to breaking a tradition among those who pass their criminal practices on from one generation to the next, complete with gang signs and “colors” (clothing), facial and body markings, and more.

It will free scores, hundreds, even thousands of young people now and in the future who, if they adopt that “gangsta” style, will be trapped for the rest of their lives in a narrow, dead-end fate including crime, drugs, jail, prison, and failure.

People opposing the civil injunction claim it will cost too much. (In fact the city hasn’t budgeted one extra dollar to this effort. Time and effort spent are part of the daily tasks of police and the city attorney.) What price do such people put on a single life, much less the many whose lives can be saved by this? How crass, how narrow-minded and short-sighted to hang the future of our young people on the red herring of money.

As for the claim that property values may be affected, nowhere in the state have home values declined because injunctions have been created.

As an official elected by people from across the city, my charge is to provide the best protection and service for everyone. I cannot abandon one part of our city to crime and violence because it costs too much. If we set that precedent, would we decide that when fires come to the foothills, it costs too much to save our neighborhoods there? Of course not.

That’s why I — along with a City Council supermajority comprised of Mayor Helene Schneider and Councilmembers Bendy White, Randy Rowse, and Dale Francisco — support the civil gang injunction to curb criminal gangs throughout our city.

Comments

Independent Discussion Guidelines

Frank, your 5,272 student number is inaccurate, since we'd subtract several local public schools from your inflated number [subtract Roosevelt, Mountain View, Hope, Peabody and others] -- " 5,272 susceptible to forcible gang recruitment" -- NO. The gang injunction as proposed is unconstitutional, weak, hard to enforce, and will be ineffective in reducing violence. This puff piece is weak.

DrDan (anonymous profile)
March 20, 2014 at 6:35 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Well, he is working on the issue of gang violence that has left many people dead, injured and intimidated. Dan, your solution is ..............

Botany (anonymous profile)
March 20, 2014 at 6:47 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Hey, Rolling Thunder Frank, Oh hear Nick's cry...read Nick's column in this issue http://www.independent.com/news/2014/... to learn what YOU as a longtime Council Member well know: aggravated assaults are down 50% since Feb. '12, overall property CRIME IS DOWN in City of SB...and all this without the gang injunction. Grandstanding Frank, cafe owner Rowse, malleable Bendy, thinking-of-the-next-election Helene -- do your jobs, forget this stupidity of the gang injunction.

DrDan (anonymous profile)
March 20, 2014 at 9:52 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Frank, it's so opposition of what you think. You write about how "if they adopt that 'gangsta' style, will be trapped for the rest of their lives in a narrow, dead-end fate " No, because of their dire socio-economic straits [22% of kids in USA live under the poverty line] many kids realize EARLY that they "will be trapped for the rest of their lives in a narrow, dead-end fate " so a gang, with its clear hierarchy and cover-each-other's-back ethos seems welcoming. Improve public education, offer more job training, more youth centers, and more... not the strait jacket of the gang injunction.

DrDan (anonymous profile)
March 20, 2014 at 10:04 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Abigail and I do not want our property values tainted, as this injunction zone would do. A Realtor like Mr. Hotchkiss should know that.

He also should know that facts are stubborn things.
To whit, what was published elsewhere by the Poodle today:

Whatever the outcome of the Cinco de Mayo trial, the results will be appealed. And for years. Cut your losses, declare a qualified victory, and use your finite time and resources on something other than grand rhetorical gestures. Serious crime in Santa Barbara, as Chief Sanchez told the council Tuesday, continues to drop. There was one-third less serious crime reported in the first two months of 2014 than the same time the year before. Aggravated assaults dropped by more than half from the previous February. As Sanchez explained, basic shoe-leather police work pays off. It pays off with gang violence, too.

John_Adams (anonymous profile)
March 20, 2014 at 10:46 a.m. (Suggest removal)

the multi generational gangs in SB means the OGs begin their influence way way before any outside stimuli i.e youth center, etc...

I agree with hotchkiss on his point about... ” It will go a long way to breaking a tradition among those who pass their criminal practices on from one generation to the next, complete with gang signs and “colors” (clothing), facial and body markings.'

the gang leaders laugh at the helping hands with their programs. the only time gangs have rallied any kind of effort to combat their existence and lifestyle is when the injunction was put forward.

gangs fully understand how the injunction will affect them. they are not laughing at this.

lawdy (anonymous profile)
March 20, 2014 at 10:56 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Right on, Frank, and thank you for speaking out for many neighbors who dare not come to public meetings, where their faces will be seen and published. And who's watching them? That would be the homies in the hood they have to return to. The ones who'll slash their tires and bust in their windows for speaking up. No we're not like La Coloniia, but why do we have to get like that before acting? The gang crime rate did drop after the injunction was filed, which is possibly THE most important data point in this whole discussion. When the city got serious, it quelled activity. But even so, a stabbing on State during the SBIFF, a shooting on the Eastside last year, and, the stabbings on Cottage Grove prove that though they went a little more underground, gangs are far from under control in this town. Bring on the injunction!

dogsnsand (anonymous profile)
March 20, 2014 at noon (Suggest removal)

A study in California finds that 911 calls dropped 14.1% in areas with injunctions, compared with a 1.6% increase in matched areas without injunctions. http://www.academia.edu/970697/Evalua...

The concept of gang injunctions would reduce cops to ROFLMAO in Saudi & Singapore, where crime is an aberration.

For what little it's worth, the above are just observations, which do not reflect a well-considered or researched opinion on my part.

atomic_state (anonymous profile)
March 20, 2014 at 4:21 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Don't forget that many of the people who oppose this injunction are those who argue that the country cannot survive without cheap labor fueled by illegal immigration.

Yes, I know many if not most of these gang members are born here, but the economic fallout of cheap labor causes this problem in the second generation.

Having said that, the injunction is just a band-aid--like gun laws, drug laws, and so forth.

billclausen (anonymous profile)
March 20, 2014 at 5:02 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Hotchkiss never wants to have a dialogue with the community that is gonna get impacted. Get ready Hotchpendejo because visual defamation is coming soon.

killuminati (anonymous profile)
March 21, 2014 at 11:20 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Wow, Hotchkiss really helped me see the light with his statistics in this article.

One gang member murdered a convenience store clerk one time late at night a long time ago and now we are all supposed to pee our pants. Then you have an ex-marine who was said to have made racist comments and who knows who started that confrontation or what it was about - nobody has ever told me - and although the stabbing was out of line no matter what it had nothing to do with gang activity.

Clearly, the police have killed and hurt way more innocent people than any "gang" in this city. Why is everybody so worried about latino gangs? I'm way more concerned about the gang in the blue uniforms with the patrol cars, myself. In fact if the police didn't have a monopoly on violence I'd be willing to hire the latino gangs to protect me from the blue uniform gang.

loonpt (anonymous profile)
March 21, 2014 at 12:16 p.m. (Suggest removal)

3 gangbangers beat and kicked him to death loonpt when he was on his way home from work.

the gangbanger stabbed the guy at hendrys becuz his his homie lost the fistfight to the guy and the killer felt 'disrepected' so blindsided the victim with the knife in the neck after both combatants had shaken hands and were walking away.

please tell me which of the police have been charged and convicted of killing innocent citizens...seeing its so clear to you.

lawdy (anonymous profile)
March 21, 2014 at 12:36 p.m. (Suggest removal)

That's still only two incidents in a decade and one of them isn't even really 'gang-related', more like a hot-head who happened to be in a gang. It sounds to me like you're trying to swat a flea with a sledgehammer. Why is it whenever I mention to people that Santa Barbara is looking into a gang injunction, they can't stop laughing?

loonpt (anonymous profile)
March 21, 2014 at 1:02 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Hotchkiss is living is a bizzaro world where professional time is free. Time must not be money is his world:

"In fact the city hasn’t budgeted one extra dollar to this effort. Time and effort spent are part of the daily tasks of police and the city attorney."

Hours spent on a project have to be accounted for. That an experienced city council can claim that somehow the professional time spent on this injunction is free makes me believe that he is completely unqualified to hold office. The fact that bobble head Francisco buys this crap also makes no sense.

Herschel_Greenspan (anonymous profile)
March 21, 2014 at 1:09 p.m. (Suggest removal)

do we discount the killing outside saks becuz he was a gangbanger. do we also asterisk the stabbing by stearns on july 4 for the same reason.

they all count homeboy. and you forgot the names of the innocent citizen killing policemen you mentioned.

lawdy (anonymous profile)
March 21, 2014 at 1:22 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Well ya when you sign up for a gang, you sign up for potential violence. I'm more concerned about the innocent victims who never signed up to participate.

As far as innocent people killed or hurt by police, there have been more than plenty. Unfortunately the police have a monopoly on violence and on crime scene investigations so the truth of what happened or why something even went down in the first place is about as clear as mud. Besides, most crimes being committed are not even real crimes and so any harm that occurs to an individual at any time after being arrested and/or convicted of a non-crime like a drug crime is effectively being hurt by the police and the laws that are being enforced.

loonpt (anonymous profile)
March 21, 2014 at 1:33 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Loonpt, how can you claim to care about the innocent when you discount the Hendrys death as more of an incident by a hothead. The killer was a gangbanger who was unprovoked.

As for your 2nd paragraph, cut and paste it over to the food section under tripe.

Do you have any police names who have been charged with killing innocents in this town or not. You claimed it, so tell us.

lawdy (anonymous profile)
March 21, 2014 at 2:28 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Well first of all I don't know how "innocent" he was, I don't know who started the confrontation or why. He didn't deserve what happened to him and the stabber deserves to be prosecuted, but he is not 100% innocent if he started the confrontation or fight, especially if it was racially motivated.

But I do know that just because the perpetrator was in a gang doesn't mean this was "gang activity". It sounds like a couple guys who happen to be in a gang down at the beach with a couple girls and they got into an argument. It had nothing to do with protecting gang territory, selling drugs or any other gang activity.

As for your third paragraph, it is explained in my second paragraph. It is like asking the mob to investigate itself, why am I going to hold up the results from a mob investigation of itself as truth?

loonpt (anonymous profile)
March 21, 2014 at 3:11 p.m. (Suggest removal)

The Hendrys murder was all on display during the trial.

Not that it really matters, because you can't substantiate any of your claims.

Essentially your posts are random musings with no real content. I mean that respectfully though.

lawdy (anonymous profile)
March 21, 2014 at 3:25 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Hotchpendejo?

DrDan (anonymous profile)
March 21, 2014 at 4:09 p.m. (Suggest removal)

No Frank, it isn't about money spent or saved, and it's imbecilic to carry on as if that's what that this is about. If you're going to deny people their constitutional rights (which, by the way, do not include "the right to not feel uncomfortable at the presence or thought of dark-skinned youths"), you had better have a well-documented significant state interest in doing so. Crying out about Crime! Schoolchildren! Fear! isn't enough.

"How crass, how narrow-minded and short-sighted to hang the future of our young people on the red herring of money." Or the red herring of pretending that the only issue that needs to be addressed is that of money.

pk (anonymous profile)
March 22, 2014 at 9:03 a.m. (Suggest removal)

This subheading is disingenuous at best: "The Future of the City’s Children Should Not Be Shortchanged" -- absurd logic. C'mon Frank, you can do better than this. And pk's correct, it isn't about money.

DrDan (anonymous profile)
March 22, 2014 at 11:44 a.m. (Suggest removal)

DrDan I don't see your logic. Ok so he got the total number of students wrong. Big whoopee skip, he still has a valid point on keep the youth out of gang mix. second post: great so crime will drop even further with the injunction! third post: not my job to make these guys get a job. It is on them, just like the rest of us. I think the subheading is great as is the article. Good job hotchkiss.

Loon: the fight at the beach was just that; a fight/wrestling match. Homie got pinned and his friend took it as an "affront" to the gang. Why because his buddy lost a fair fight so homie #2 has to run up and stab a non gang member in the back of the neck? So a fight turns into murder because of disrespect to the gang? I wonder if the guy even knew the homies were in a gang? Lame.

I would like to know who the special people were that strung the neon lights up on the 101 south overpass on Sat night saying "Just say No to Santa Barbara Gang Injunction!' Now that is some great press for anyone passing though town!

bimboteskie (anonymous profile)
March 24, 2014 at 11:36 a.m. (Suggest removal)

I agree to the terminology that the Gang Injunction is Racist against the Latino Community, since they are the reason for the Injunction. It was because of the Latin Community's failure to reel-in their youth from the criminal behaviors that the Community has played along with and supervised through active or inactive participation. Gang Injunctions were very popular against Black Gangs in the Crack Wars of South Central LA during the late eighties and early nineties, when sitting in your home watching TV could get you killed by a stray bullet fired from a Coked-out Gang-banger rolling down the opposite neighborhood of rival gangs looking to score some bravado and brownie point with his/her own gang. Now true the situation has not gotten to that wicked point but this step is to curb the next step in Gang Warring, to prevent those who are Gang-Bangers and those who were Gang-Bangers to see that the City will not take a backseat to increased violence (Gun Fights). I side only with the attachment of the Injunction to the primary crime committed that being either or a Misdemeanor or Felony crime that the Gang Injunction be used to reinforce the crime to the next higher step. True that information of Criminal behavior is a skewed over time and errors reporting would mean going to court with an attorney to rectify an error in the reporting but for the most part the Injunction would show that Santa Barbara isn't going to allow LA Gang mentality from growing and taking over the streets.
Studies have shown that once in a Gang, always in a Gang, that members hold the Gang to that of a Family and thus teach the Gang Mentality to their children, nurture that the Gang is that of a freedom-fighter against the Police and Social injustice brought about by crooked Government and Racist other races (White). The best defense for the Latin Community is to "Out" the vermin Gang members in their Community to the Police but as long as they stand on their band-wagon of Us and Against them mentality (Latin Community verse the Rest of Santa Barbara), then this will continue to be a problem with even more cracking down...

dou4now (anonymous profile)
March 25, 2014 at 2:09 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Really dou4now?
Latin was a dead language even when I was president.

John_Adams (anonymous profile)
March 29, 2014 at 9:02 p.m. (Suggest removal)

It may have been a dead language, but I'm guessing you spoke it. What you didn't speak, your prodigious son J.Q. spoke--especially when you sent him to Russia when he was 14 as he was already conversant in that language.

billclausen (anonymous profile)
March 29, 2014 at 9:32 p.m. (Suggest removal)

"I wish I had studied Latin so that I could communicate with the people of Latin America when I go there" -Quote attributed to Dan Quayle, and then later attributed to George W. Bush-

What Dou4Now is referring to however, is a political mindset, not an ethnicity, and the commonly accepted word for the socio-politcal mindset is "Latino".

Once again, (disgusted sigh) people don't address the underlying causes: A mismanaged corrupt country of elitists whose policies have made life so bad for the people living there, that they escape to the U.S. A business bottom-line-at-all-costs mentality among the Chamber Of Commerce/politicians/and businesses where they don't want to pay people decent wages or have safe work conditions so they hire these people knowing that they can treat them like dirt. A guilt-ridden American populace who have been conditioned to never speak against illegal immigration for fear of being called "racist". A government in Mexico which knows that as long as it has the U.S. as a place to dump its poor people, they can avoid a revolution by the masses. A government up here run by people are either A: Too dumb to realize that you can't crowd unlimited numbers of people-especially impovershed ones--like sardines in a can--without disasterous social consequences, or B: Simply don't care, all the while worried about the "Latino vote". Add to that an education system run by A: Idealists who fail to see that lowering the bar for select ethnic groups hurts them not only academically, but also hurts their self-esteem, and/or B: Run by people who see the $$$ in keeping kids down linguistically. (Per the fact that the schools can get more money for each child designated an "English Learner". Then there are is the "Latino" politics which is simply a continuation of the hierarchial politics of Mexico which is based on a Caste System. Up here in manifests itself in the idea of "we're here to help you" by telling people that they don't have to worry about assmilation/learning the language of this land. (After all, if one learns English, they might find out how they are being taken advantage of)

So WHY do we have a gang problem?...I just can't possibly imagine what the answer is.

billclausen (anonymous profile)
March 29, 2014 at 9:51 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Santa Barbara is seaside tourist town. A seaside tourist town doesn't publicize the fact that sharks swim in it's waters. Santa Barbara refused to publicly address gang problems that were developing fifteen years ago. Perhaps the city officials back in the day simply didn't know what a gang member looked like. This city is in it's second generation of gang members.

VioletFlame (anonymous profile)
April 3, 2014 at 7:06 p.m. (Suggest removal)

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