Monday, October 24, 2016

Elysian Valley council seeks more time to study gang injunction as members express different views

Approximate boundaries of area that would be covered by proposed gang injunction, which would restrict the activities of an estimated 300 gang members.

By Tony Cella

The Elysian Valley Riverside Neighborhood Council decided to wait a month before taking a stance on a proposed gang injunction, which would also include Echo Park and sections of Silver Lake, because several members of the board said they hadn’t researched the effectiveness of the legal measure in enough detail.

Steve Appleton, board president of the Elysian Valley Riverside Neighborhood Council,  said at Thursday night’s meeting that he planned on implementing time restrictions for the next session  to prevent a repeat of the chaotic ending of  the Silver Lake Neighborhood Council’s debate on the injunction. The Silver Lake council had been asked to vote on a measure to deny support for the  injunction, language similar to a position adopted by the Echo Park neighborhood council. But the Silver Lake vote ended in a tie, which sent the measure to defeat.

While opponents and supporters of the Echo Park area injunction have debated the issue at neighborhood councils as they try to sway public opinion, the councils have no authority over the injunction, which has been proposed by the City Attorney. A Los Angeles Superior Court judge last month allowed the process of implementing the Echo Park gang injunction to go forward but the measure will return to court for another hearing on Oct. 30.

Appleton expressed concern about the Echo Park area gang injunction’s impediments to freedom of association – alleged gang members named in the injunction are not allowed to meet in groups of two or more  – even though court rulings have deemed the restrictions constitutional. Courts have overturned previous rulings or changed their minds in the past though, he said.

The council president said he felt more comfortable in the neighborhood because he knew local gang members  but was concerned criminals continued to harass newer residents or visitors to Elysian Valley, which is wedged into a narrow strip of land between the Los Angeles River and the 5 Freeway.  Appleton claimed an injunction in his former neighborhood, Highland Park, had crippled the operations of the Avenues gang, which had killed and harassed  black residents who had moved into the area.

He and other council members said they felt that  gang members in Elysian Valley were not an isolated part of the community,  with some council members saying that  some residents look to gang members as protectors. “They’re part of the social matrix of the community,” Appleton  said.

Board member Isvinder Grewal described the main gangs in the area as tagging crews, more focused on spraying graffiti than violence and intimidation. But At-Large Representative Bob Berg countered that description. Berg, who described himself as a retired cop, pointed to graffiti rivalries on Riverside Drive, evidenced by rival gangs spraying over or obscuring opponents’ graffiti—an act called a “cross-out”— as well as break-ins and thefts as signs of brewing tensions between local gangs.

“I personally think there is a need,” he said. “This is a tool to make this the safe community we all want.”

The low crime numbers, opposing board members countered, showed a lack of need for the extra punitive measures proposed by the city attorney.

Latino board member Jesus Garcia, sporting a close trimmed hair cut, said police had already racially-profiled him in the community because he wore white t-shirts, had short hair and brown skin. Like many opponents of the injunction, he was concerned the measure would entrench racial profiling.

But another Elysian Valley Latino, David De La Torre of the local neighborhood watch, said he felt that the injunction was an extra tool to help the police department, which he called understaffed, underbudgeted and overtaxed with work.  De La Torre said he didn’t mind being pulled over because he was an upstanding citizen with good intentions.

“It takes two minutes of my time for someone to take me off their suspect’s list,” he said.

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  1. Please. One of you gang members/gang supporters/gang injunction opponents: Give me one, just one, redeeming quality that gangs offer our communities. Just one. I have yet to hear of a single redeeming quality that gangs offer our communities.

  2. It does matter.

    Injunctions started in Los Angeles and are being exported throughout the nation and are even being considered in Europe. A resistance across multiple neighborhoods in the birthplace of injunctions could have an impact on the future of injunctions.

    The Office of the City Attorney, the LAPD, the Council Offices all want consensus. They do not want resistance and are working very hard to get community buy in. What they’re getting are communities galvanizing on the issue. Quite a backfire.

    Yes, it’s up to a judge, but there are many newly minted politicians who don’t really want to be tied to racial profiling this early in their careers. More is at stake than the judge’s ruling.

    • Ms. Sitz, do You even live in the part of Silverlake that is covered by the injunction? You made a statement on your Facebook page saying the injunction would “push gang activity into silverlake”. It seems you’re real motive is not civil rights but just to keep violence in our backyards and out of yours. NIMBYISM at its worst.

      • the crazy part to me is that one of the selling points against the injunction is that it will have no affect; but then later, they say we shouldn’t do the injunction because it will just push our crime into someone else’s neighborhood. that is a contradiction. all talking points. if you look at neighborhoods like Pico Union and Westlake that have had gang injunctions for a long time, crime is down from what it was. and normal people have not been gentrified out of the neighborhood or driven into hiding by police harassment.

        these folks need to tighten up their arguments if they’re going to try and tell me that gangs are a good thing.

        • To clarify for the slightly obtuse audience, the injunctions have been shown to have very unsubstantial long term effects/real solutions for the root of gang violence issues. Most often they just get dispersed to different locations thus not real bringing a solution to gang violence…rather it is mostly a “solution” to keep gentrifiers feeling safe enough to spend money and comfortably bask in their privileges.

      • Either that or you are just making a very ignorant assumption. I would have to declare the latter as Sitz is very well known for community advocating.

  3. Very clearly now so everyone can read. People who oppose the gang injunction DO NOT SUPPORT GANGS. Go through comments and read what has already been said. SteveKnicks and michael need to pay attention.

    • “if you look at neighborhoods like Pico Union and Westlake that have had gang injunctions for a long time, crime is down from what it was. and normal people have not been gentrified out of the neighborhood or driven into hiding by police harassment.”

      Angeleno needs to pay attention.

      • “Crime is down” because it gets dispersed not solved.. at the expense of many of or youth being grappled into the prison pipelines. You can’t arrest yourself out of a social problem. You should be advocating for culturally relevant programming and opportunities for these before you sign them of to be legally harassed and in turn imprisoned..Pilgrim

        • i think you are confusing “at risk youth” and “criminals.” programs for at risk youth are absolutely necessary, I agree with you. but once someone has gone beyond that category and is no longer “at risk” but merely a criminal: the intervention strategy has to change.

          i am still puzzled over your comment that claims gang members are positive role models. I would say that you are merely advocating for the perpetuation of an existing problem.

    • Angeleno, I’ve seen your postings and you seem like a decent guy who is understandably scared of racial profiling. But there is definitely a vocal group of injunction opposers who ARE gang affiliated, related or sympathetic. I was at the echo park council meeting, and for every person who spoke about racial profiling, there was someone who praised the gangs (including members of the EPNC). Are they the majority of opposers? No. But they do not help the cause by praising violent gangs in public.

      • i actually worry quite a bit about disenfranchised people, the working poor, homeless, access to medical care for undocumented immigrants, those without insurance, etc,… i am in social services and work with all of these people. I also work in gang ridden neighborhoods that do have injunctions, and the only changes i have seen since they were instituted is a reduction in crime. while i understand the worries that are voiced, i think the profiling that keeps getting brought up is overstated.

        • Easy when it’s not your kids being grappled into the prison industrial complex pipelines right before your eyes. I see the charades by politicians and harassment of our youth by law enforcement right before my eyes. I highly doubt you “understand.”

          • Sounds like you have a little up and coming trouble maker. Great job there.

          • Beverly D'Angeleno

            Most Youth Programs must raise funds in order to operate. Without a gang problem in the community, or the threat of one, their funding could disappear. One needs the other. Is there not the potential here for a Youth Program-industrial complex that in effect actually perpetuates gang activity? It’s at least at possible, and therefore as likely, as the prison-industrial complex scheme. Trip on that!

      • Maybe because many of these “gang” members are actually acknowledged as People of the community and are not merely written off as undeserving sub-humans because of labels wasichus like to condemn them too. Gangs and gang violence are 2 different things. Just goes to show the ignorance people have about the positive historical roles these groups of young brown men have played throughout the years and how those respected roles have been subverted by decades of racist social structures and laws which continue to manifest in euphemized acts such as “gang injunctions.”. Go educate yourself.

        • “Gangs and gang violence are 2 different things”

          —– do you even read what you write????? Go educate yourself. Let me guess, a mechanic doesn’t fix cars either, right? Two different things?

      • Well the part about gang members and sympathizers is unfortunate. I am 100% against gangs and illegal activity, but this gang injunction doesn’t work with the community BEFORE young people get into gangs. That is one of the real solutions to this problem. Change the minds, behaviors, and access to positive activities of young people and a lot of times they won’t get caught up in gang life.

        On top of that, the crime in Echo Park and other neighborhoods has been steadily going down for years without a gang injunction.

        If you’ve been around LA at all, you know how the LAPD act when it comes to people of color. Let’s not give them another excuse to harass someone who’s not white because they’re wearing pants that are too big and a white t-shirt. And if you get put on that list, good luck getting a job and getting off it. Whether it was a mistake you’re on the list or not, even without being a criminal.

  4. Let’s for a moment imagine our fair city of Los Angeles without a police force.

    Let’s not.

    • No one is suggesting that at all.

      What I’m saying is having programs aimed at giving low income youth opportunities, instead of having a gang injunction that will pit them head-on against police, would work better at solving the gang problem. This would work in the short term, but also especially in the long run.

      • Beverly D'Angeleno

        If your argument is that Youth Programs will work better in the short and long run, well here’s a link directing to 12 different Youth Programs from just one local organization…


        Three more here…


        Dept of Rec and Parks links to over 100 centers…


        Really, this is only the tip of the iceberg from the public standpoint and there are many, many more on the private side.

        Based on the current availability of Youth Programs in the community and the fact that a gang problem clearly still exists (or why would anyone be advocating for an injunction in the first place?), are you willing to support an injunction, alongside these Youth Programs, as a community’s last resort in targeting its short and long term goals of less gang activity simultaneously?

  5. First of all, thanks elysian valley council for deciding to take more time to research gang injunctions. Gang Injunctions are problematic because they not only wrongfully discriminate people but they end up also wrongfully putting youth in Jail. I know of at least 10 youth in the echo park area who have been harassed, handcuffed, and jail for suspicion, which in each case has been proven wrong. All these incidents happened in the time span of of 3 weeks. Are we building a community where are youth are being criminalized, policed, and jailed for NOTHING or are we focussing on building a community where youth are being inspired, motivated, loved, and cared for Relentlessly. I choose the latter, anyone choosing the first option is miseducated and fogged in the mind by the poor quality of media and corrupt cops and politicians. Wake up do your research. knock on some doors, read a book, talk to people. Do not listen to the mainstream hype without a critical eye! If you are not doing your praxis (aka applying your theory to action, which could be research) then your opinion has NO Value. Lets stop the racism and discrimination.

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