To Frank Hotchkiss:
1. If the City Attorney’s Office and Santa Barbara Police Department have payroll hours valued at hundreds of thousands of dollars unfilled by needed work — and thus available (with no budget increase) for work on the gang injunction — then the city should realize enormous savings by sharply cutting staff;
2. Poor kids from broken families — the so-called “at risk” youth — suffer from an inability to pay the city’s exorbitant fees for its wide array of great summer and after-school programs — programs that could be made available to the poorest, most at-risk kids for just a fraction of the millions to be spent on preparing, implementing, and defending the gang injunction in court. This would be far more effective in destroying the attraction of gangs than any injunction.
Gang injunctions are ineffective: For example, the 1,000-member Colonia Chiques gang enjoined in Oxnard in early 2007 was reported by police as having the same number of members four years later. And in Lompoc violent crime rates steady increased in the four years after an injunction was imposed in 2005.
3. As for the rest of us: Are Frank and other council members who work downtown really “afraid to walk the streets” for fear of being “attacked or shot at” as the injunction complaint states of workers, visitors, and residents in the “Safety Zones”? I’m not. Who is? Frank, do you support lies in the city’s Complaint?
Many of us appreciate your new-found concern for poor, at-risk young people, but now it’s time for rationality, not demagogy.