Posted by Coach, a resident of East Palo Alto, on Mar 2, 2013 at 4:29 pm
This has got to stop! All residence of East Palo Alto, East Menlo Park as well as Palo Alto and Atherton need to come together to Stop the Violence. Get involved people. Laurel Avenue Church of Christ March 12th 8:00pm become the change we wish to see. Please come out lets get the action going, that is needed to stop this senseless violence.
Posted by Carol, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Mar 2, 2013 at 5:54 pm
How can the violence possibly be stopped? People know it's not right to shoot someone. They know they can go to prison, yet they don't care. There is no way to climb into their heads and convince them otherwise. They don't care if they die tomorrow. It seems the only thing that can be done is to disassemble the gangs, which police have been trying for years to do.
Posted by Lyle, a resident of another community, on Mar 2, 2013 at 6:27 pm
And a difficult task Carol, especially since often time these young gang members represent the second and even third generation of career criminals within an extended family unit. Many efforts to institute gang injunctions have been met with fierce opposition from civil rights groups.
At some point it has to balance out. I agree that practices involving racial profiling, solely based on race, should not be tolerated or condoned. However, more aggressive measures have to be taken against confirmed gang members and their associates in order to curb the violence. There will undoubtedly be cries of bias and prejudice. That's predictable. When the vast majority of gang members and their cohorts in the Bay Area are of Hispanic origin, including here on the Peninsula, it goes without saying that enforcement efforts will fall heavily within those communities. That should not be viewed as prejudice or bias. Those are facts that must be accepted and dealt with.
Posted by Real , a resident of East Palo Alto, on Mar 3, 2013 at 5:12 am
It's easy to say let's just put gang members and there associates in jail , but all that is doing is building hate towards a certain race that is then passed on to other future generations. The difference between those gang members and the rest is that we really have to fight and compete for everything we own. We start from th bottom of the barrel and you people expect immediate change. That's easy to say when your just worried about where your next vacation is when people like us worry about how we going to pay rent, put food on the table.
Posted by EPA Resident, a resident of East Palo Alto, on Mar 3, 2013 at 8:58 am
Its seems no one person has all the right answers. How simple a solution to simply put everyone in jail/prison and throwing the key away. How easy to give them a record for minute violations and in the process putting them on the sidelines for the rest of their lives. How easy to give so much power to a cop whose morals are probably not any better than all those "Holy" rapists in gowns.
I'm not talking blindly here.. Im talking from experience and factual knowledge of the injustices and unfair and unequal treatment of all these young losers shooting one another. I don't take sides.. if cops are crooks so call them crooks.. if the Ravenswood and Sequoia school systems have fault in this matter then so do the parents for allowing their kids to run with the wrong crowd.
Coaching, mentoring, educating about life's greatness and the possibilities outside of this insignificant lifestyle of smoking weed and hanging out.. these options seem to me would be of greater importance and better outcomes would surely follow.
Posted by Lyle, a resident of another community, on Mar 3, 2013 at 9:43 am
To Real, placing gang members and their associates in jail will go a long way toward curbing the never ending violence, murders, and destruction of our overall quality of life. Whatever injunctions and enforcement efforts these thugs face are only due to the life they have chosen. You claim that law abiding citizens are somehow building hatred toward a certain race. How is that? Because they expect people not to commit violent crimes? And when society holds these thugs accountable for their violent actions that somehow translates to hate? No, it's time for you to get real.
Let's back this up a bit. The only one responsible for a gang member ending up the way they do is the gang member. They chose to enter that violent, cowardly lifestyle. They chose to squander their lives away, and they chose to become criminals. I think they knew right from wrong. It was their choice. Whatever situation they now find themselves in is by their doing. It is entirely a situation they created, so let's not enable these thugs by giving them excuses. Society is getting tired of it and they should not be let off the hook.
You know what Real, a lot of people have started at the bottom of the barrel who never chose a life of crime. The vast majority of people you describe as just looking forward to their next vacation worked very hard to get to where they are. They took advantage of their educational opportunities, maintained a strong work ethic, and you know what, they didn't waste their life and disrespect others by becoming a criminal.
For as many obstacles that the poor and working class people have, there are just as many opportunities, if people choose to take advantage of them. No one is going to hand you anything, and for you to blame everyone other than the ignorant thug who is solely responsible for their actions is a disgrace. It is precisely your type of thinking that ultimately holds people back.
Posted by Sarahe, a resident of East Palo Alto, on Mar 3, 2013 at 11:47 am
Where is the leadership in all of this?! The Mayor and council are a joke in this city. Lack of leadership is what is hurting this community. We need competent and experience people to run this city, not everyday people with no experience who win due to a popularity contest. It's unbelievable that anyone can be mayor of this city regardless of experience. Strong leadership is needed.
Posted by Lyle, a resident of another community, on Mar 3, 2013 at 12:54 pm
Sarahe, the only lack of leadership that is truly hurting your community are the parents that allow and enable these youngsters that grow into violent gang members. It's not the responsibility of the mayor or government at any level to raise their children.
You need strong parents to hold their children accountable. For those young people who are unfortunate enough to not have that in their lives, there are many resources available to them, including a free public education that should make the paths to right and wrong very clear. For those that refuse to follow the right path, the criminal justice system awaits. It's a little something called accountability. Enough of shifting the blame to others, complaints about the system, and how unfair life is. The positives and opportunities still outweigh all of that, but only for the ones willing to work hard and earn it.
Posted by Rocky, a resident of the University South neighborhood, on Mar 3, 2013 at 1:43 pm
Sarahe - You hit the nail right on the head. We do have gang memeber (and others just as bad) who will shot someone without taking a second to think. The real challenge to EPA is the Council and the Police Chief. We constantly see nice political events and statements. Our Chief is great about being quoted.
If he really wanted to get this done, he would get out of the nice two chairs he holds and walk the streets. Meet all the neighbors. Meet the gang members. Talk. He has "programs" and holds town hall meetings. All they do is look nice - and give the chief publicity. The Council is so bad, they will not take a singel corrective action to make things better in the gang world.
Can the city of EPA have the guts to go out and find someone who can work with the kids?
Posted by Lyle, a resident of another community, on Mar 3, 2013 at 2:13 pm
Laughable Rocky. You continue to enable and blame everyone except for the only people who are responsible for the problem. It's not the government's fault, or the police chief's fault, or the city council's fault. It's their own fault. The government wasn't forcing these thugs to ignore their free public education and preventing them from going to school. That's a choice the gang members made. They weren't forcing them to commit crimes and adopting a criminal lifestyle at a young age. That's a choice the gang members made. They weren't diluting these idiots with alcohol or drugs. That's a choice the gang members made.
The government already provides a free public education, affordable job training, and a welfare system. Those not wishing to choose those options can always join the armed services. There are plenty of positive and constructive alternatives. For those choosing to be thugs and criminals, then the only corrective action they deserve is the criminal justice system. The outcome is in their hands and their hands alone. You do nothing more than enable and expect everyone else to solve the problem. That mentality accomplishes nothing.
Posted by Hmmm, a resident of East Palo Alto, on Mar 3, 2013 at 4:44 pm
Where are the parents in all this? Quit blaming authority figures when the problems begin long before that.
And Real - your words are true, but so is this perspective - its easier to make a home & a living when you & your family are safe from people of the same culture but opposite moral code. THEY are your enemy because not only do they not care about you, they will hurt you, kill you, steal your car, rob you, fight your dog, sell drugs on your corner & recruit your child into their gang. That's a lot more harmful than the guy focused on his next vacation.
Posted by EPA Resident, a resident of East Palo Alto, on Mar 3, 2013 at 11:12 pm
To Lyle, Free Education System, Welfare etc. What are you talking about? Like all those factors worked so well in DC, Detroit, Los Angeles, New York and on and on. You cannot place all blame on these young fools alone.. I dont know your age or what your background may be but it seems you are not well acquainted with the community and the many factors driving these "thugs" to committ criminal acts.For example: let us compare a free education at JLS Elementary vs Costano Elementary, and the differences in teacher qualifications or one's parents' insistent demands for greatness vs not showing up for Parent-Teacher meetings because youre too tired from a second job. Allbeit may sound like excuses and trying to explain the horrible conditions these kids grow up in...NO... in the end thats not the case. And although it may be incomprehensible or difficult to grasp. Sorry but you're only partly right and mostly wrong. Because the environment a person grows up in helps to create that person. How can you place same expectations on a kid with parents with little or no education to kids with parents who are Stanford graduates... That to me just seems a bit ignorant and very impractical. Try common sense for a change or as a starting point.
Posted by EPA observer, a resident of the Crescent Park neighborhood, on Mar 3, 2013 at 11:28 pm
I work for a nonprofit in EPA. I see parents who care about their children and want the best for them. And then abdicate responsibility for their children, though that's not how they apparently perceive it. They seem to feel as though they are incapable of raising their own children properly, and that that task should be delegated to professionals.
They are dependent on the public schools and on the many nonprofits who serve the community. There is a culture of dependency.
Some of the teens get involved in organizations like College Track or Foundation for a College Education. Many of the rest join gangs. Being a parent myself, I understand the challenges,but seems to me that many EPA parents are too willing to throw up their hands and expect someone else to sort it all out. A parent who does that is not the kind of parent who will provide a strong foundation for a child. And it has nothing to do with wealth or education -- poor people with little education can be great parents. But not if they refuse to take on that job.
Posted by Tony, a resident of another community, on Mar 4, 2013 at 7:19 am
Gang related violent crime has been a fixture in East Palo Alto going back at least half a century. The generational cycle of gang affiliation, and it's glorification, has not been broken. There are programs that provide opportunities for promising students, with responsible parents that stress education, to go on to successful careers. Yet, too many young residents are left with no vision for their future other than the gangster lifestyle. Studies have come and gone to remedy this situation but no applications have been successful so far.
Posted by Lyle, a resident of another community, on Mar 4, 2013 at 8:36 am
That's the problem Tony. Too many people are waiting for some formula or "application" as you put it. The only remedy is for parents and these thugs that turn to crime to take responsibility for their actions or be held accountable. Neither is happening and that's why it's broken. Generation upon generation are publicly dependent and are looking toward society for support and to raise their children. They glorify the gang life because it's the easy way. Somehow they pathetically find validation amongst themselves through this pattern.
Posted by Lyle, a resident of another community, on Mar 4, 2013 at 9:16 am
EPA Resident, you demonstrate much of the negative and defeatist attitude that I've been talking about. You systematically dismiss a public education in East Palo Alto as if any academic success is impossible to achieve in that environment. That's the problem, You see it as being inadequate instead of an opportunity. You blame the education system in your community and point toward failures in other urban areas. Again, a mindset of constantly pointing fingers at others rather than looking inward for change. How can anyone succeed at anything with that approach? Listen to yourself.
Ultimately what makes one school or any entity for that matter is the people and their commitment. Do you know why Palo Alto schools have a high achievement rate? Because the students and their families make it successful. They created that environment because they placed a value on education, practice a strong work ethic, parent their children, and lead positive lives. Notice that none of the things I just mentioned cost a dime. There is no reason it should not be the same in EPA.
And what of the other many affordable outlets that exist for those not wishing to pursue a higher education. Again, there are just as many opportunities as there are obstacles out there for those that CHOOSE to pursue them. There is affordable job training. One could also opt for military service and serve their country. You somehow ignore these possibilities, and I have to wonder why?
I don't have much sympathy for parents who neglect their responsibilities, or their children who ultimately CHOOSE a criminal life in gangs. The parents should have been held accountable a long time ago, unquestionably. I came to this country as part of an immigrant family. My parents had nothing. We could not speak the language. My parents had no formal education whatsoever. What they did have was an incredibly strong work ethic, sense of responsibility, and an independent refusal to be reliant on others. Again, personal traits that don't cost a dime. They saw all of the opportunities this country had to offer. The obstacles, difficulties, and prejudice were secondary. The plan was simple. Work hard, place value in education for their children, lead positive, responsible lives, and always be accountable for your actions. Again, personal traits that don't cost a dime. See a pattern here.
Ultimately those are the keys to success. So no, I don't feel sorry for these thugs that CHOOSE a criminal life. Society already provides an abundance of opportunity, but far too many people are either incapable or refuse to see it because they're too busy pointing fingers and casting blame. The vast majority of productive and successful people achieved that through hard work and making the right decisions in life no matter where they started. There is no publicly funded program or formula that is going to change that. It has to be done from within.
Posted by Hmmm, a resident of East Palo Alto, on Mar 4, 2013 at 11:46 am
EPA Observer nailed it. I've also worked for CBOs in EPA & see the dependency. I understand it, but it's not the long-term answer. What DOES work is parents who partner w/organizations in their community, maintaining authority while learning firm others. They're the ones whose kids mostly stay out of trouble.
Churches are also a big help, although I personally am not a fan of the low income version of the Madonna/Whore complex: Church goers are the madonnas, the others are the whores. But the church youth orgs are a good help, as are after school programs & sports. Just don't give them all the authority to raise your child! Stay involved & learn to not see them as better than you. Sure, they might have more education & drive a nicer car, but they're not your kid's mom or dad. Take pride in your role - you canNOT be replaced.
Posted by EPA Resident, a resident of East Palo Alto, on Mar 4, 2013 at 1:23 pm
I believe I stated that I was not making excuses for anyone.. and also lets be clear about the fact that yes of course those who strive to better themselves do achieve more. I am full aware of that. But your insistent portrayal of the fallacy which is the "American dream" justifies my notion that you are out of touch with reality.
When I offer opinions, I do so with more than rhetoric, I do so not just as philosophy, I offer opinion from firsthand experience. I can account for the decadence in my community. Several times you have mentioned the Military... been there done that... Honorably Discharged. What did it get me? Nothing. One week after discharge while driving through Menlo Park, pulled over, for no good reason, given a citation...Judge reasons with me dismisses the ticket. My brother driving home from school in Belmont, pulled over, labelled a Gang member by the San Mateo County Gang Task Force, for wearing a red Giants hat. Open your eyes Lyle. Get to know the people, educate yourself on the topic you are so opinionated about. I respect the fact that you consider yourself a success. I admire your parents' guidance and the fact that they gave you all the help that they probably could.
I too am doing as much as I can for my kids. I coach, discipline, admonish, and teach them by example. And I will not be told that I am waiting for handouts. I counter your insistent declaring that there's endless resources available up for grabs.
Sympathy is not necessary, understanding perhaps, but knowledge and comprehension are essential. Not all problems can be solved by throwing money at them or truckloads of books for that matter.
"It takes a village to raise a child." Villages function on little to no money Lyle, I know what you mean.
Posted by Lyle, a resident of another community, on Mar 4, 2013 at 1:44 pm
And what understanding, knowledge and comprehension do you speak of that will make a difference in people's lives, other than choosing to be positive, hard working, and staying in school. You don't see the opportunities because you're still too busy either blaming others, or waiting for others to clear a path.
It doesn't take a village. It takes parents who care and hard work. You may choose to believe that the American Dream is a fallacy. If you truly believe that, then I feel sorry for you. I say there are millions of successful immigrants who would disagree with you, and don't be surprised when they pass you by seizing the many opportunities this country has to offer. You lower the bar and expect less from people. Where you see obstacles, I see endless opportunities. Where you have little belief in the individual being able to achieve, I have an abundance of faith in their ability. Like I said, I feel sorry for you. Heck of a way to live.
Posted by Lyle, a resident of another community, on Mar 4, 2013 at 2:05 pm
Just another thought EPA Resident. First of all, I was remiss in not honoring you for your military service. Having served in two wars myself, I express my appreciation truly and sincerely. I also have to believe that you derived some positives from your service. I think it's impossible not to, at least from my own experience and perspective.
I still maintain that military service is a very viable option for a young man or woman who may choose not to pursue a higher education, at least at that point in their lives. What's a better alternative in your opinion. Military service or being a gang member? For those that may not qualify or have the funds for a four-year school, what about taking advantage of our community college system? We have some of the best community colleges in the country right here in the Bay Area. The schools are generally affordable and could set someone on any number of positive career paths. What about the many professional trade schools that exist throughout the Bay Area. Again, another positive alternative that could give anyone a sense of mission, self-respect, and pride.
There are many opportunities out there for those that believe in themselves and choose to pursue them. I have never ending faith in people no matter what background or economic situation they're in. Enough excuse making, enabling, and entitlements. I believe that people are always capable of rising to the level of expectation.
Posted by Carol, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Mar 4, 2013 at 2:38 pm
[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.] Education and hard work are the key words. Skip the "education", and people can still earn a reasonable income through hard work. Not enough money? Get two or three jobs as I did when I was single. Too many Americans claim they are too good to take manual labor jobs and they would rather leech off the government. I tire of reading and hearing of cultures blaming racism for their failure. I blame them for their laziness and sense of entitlement.