Los Angeles City Councilwoman Janice Hahn Asks You to Vote Yes on Prop. A -- the Measure to Curb Intense Gang Violence Using Funds to Prevent Kids from Getting Into Gangs in the First Place
The City currently has more police officers on the street than ever before. We have more gang injunctions in place than ever before. We have arrested more than 400,000 gang members and sent them to jail. But, what has it gotten us? We now have six times the number of gangs and twice the number of gangs we did 20 years ago. Why? Because we are spending the majority of our resources on suppression and very little on prevention. We cannot arrest our way out of the gang problem. And while more police officers and gang injunctions are great tools to combat the violence, we know that for every gang member we arrest, another young person is being recruited to join a gang.
Some young people join gangs because they need protection just to walk to and from school. Some join gangs so that they have something to do after school. And others join gangs to give them an “after-school job.” Finally, some join because they think that no one cares about them. Once they make that decision to join a gang, they set out on a life of crime, violence and possibly death. And once you join a gang, it is almost impossible to remove yourself from that lifestyle. Even if you want to get out, the gang will not let you. It is a terrible cycle.
We must find a way to reach our young people and keep them from joining gangs in the first place. We can do that by providing them with positive alternatives to gang involvement. We know that for every gang member we arrest, another young person is being recruited to join a gang. We need to give them alternatives like good after school programs, such as music, drama and art (like the great Art-to-Grow-on Program); as well as mentoring and tutoring programs. We know that kids in after programs do better in school, they stay in school and the crime around that school goes down dramatically.
After-school programs like LA’s Best and our Boys & Girls Clubs will be funded through Proposition A. The College Bound program at the Boys & Girls Club is invaluable at pointing kinds in the direction of college—but they need more resources. Proposition A will provide those resources.
We should also be offering job training to young people who will probably not go to college. We know that nothing stops a bullet like a job. If a young person has the skills to land themselves a job, they won’t even be tempted to join a gang. Proposition A will fund job training for our young people, not only keeping them out of gangs, but also building a the next workforce.
Proposition A will allow Los Angeles to change the way we deal with gangs. It will allow us to reach every child—especially those at risk and give them positive choices.
Voters will be asked to invest $36 a year for the safety and growth of our children. That is only $3 a month for every property owner in Los Angeles and that is a small price to pay to provide hope and opportunities to our young people.
We have a lot of support for Proposition A. Not only do we have Chief Bratton, Sheriff Baca and our rank and file police officers, we also have the support of Fire Chief Barry and our firefighters. The San Pedro Chamber of Commerce endorsed the Proposition because it will help train our next workforce and create safer streets, benefiting our businesses. We have the support of the San Pedro Progressive Democratic Club and the National Association of Women Business Owners, as well as locals like Mike Lansing, Steve Kleinjen and John Olguin. But, what we really need is your support—the support of the voters on Election Day!
Proposition A is located at the end of the ballot, so make sure you look for it.
Remember, on Tuesday, November 4, vote Yes on Proposition A for our kids.