News

Ultimatum to East Palo Alto gangs: 'Get a job'

Police and community leaders get nine targeted ex-cons to sign for job training

East Palo Alto police called in 11 gang members who are at risk for committing more crimes to a sit-down meeting Tuesday afternoon to warn them they will be targeted for arrest and long prison terms if they persist in committing crimes.

Called Operation Ceasefire, the state-funded program has been used in 10 inner cities to identify people at risk of re-offending and to offer them job training, counseling and other services to help them become productive members of their community, Sgt. Jeff Liu said.

Police sent notices last week to members of The Vill gang, which operates in a section of the city known as The Village, south of University Avenue and east of Runnymede.

The 11 men met with police, the San Mateo County District Attorney's Office, the San Mateo County Sheriff's Gang Task Force, parole agents, faith leaders and social service providers, who said in no uncertain terms that violence would not be allowed to continue. A Stanford Hospital representative spoke about what happens when a person has been shot.

"We told them: 'We know who you are, and we've done research on you. You have two choices: The preferred is to stop the behavior and have job training and job-locating help -- we'll give you the tools to become successful and productive members of the community -- and the alternative is that you can not take the helping hand and continue the crime. All agencies will target you. We will make it our project to target you and to send you to prison for a long time,'" Liu said.

Law-enforcement officials delivered their message and left the room; then, service providers, including Menlo Park-based JobTrain, took over. They talked privately with the men and helped them to understand they do have a choice, he said. The participants will have case managers as they go through the program.

By the end of the session, nine men signed up, Liu said.

In the coming months, additional groups of gang members will be called in, he said. Parolees and people on probation are being approached for now, but Liu said the department wants to bring in people who are at risk but who have not yet committed crimes.

"The bottom line is … you can make a better choice. People don't have to go to prison to make East Palo Alto safer," Liu said.

Comments

Like this comment
Posted by Sonny
a resident of College Terrace
on Mar 2, 2011 at 3:54 pm

This is ludicrous. There are no jobs out there for qualified people in this economy, yet gang leaders were trying to be persuaded to hang up their colors and train for minimum wage jobs. Sounds reasonable. Just like the rise in criminal activity during the great Depression. A government agency should have asked John Dillinger if he wanted a job pumping gas. Fix the economy before you attempt to address crime.


Like this comment
Posted by disagree
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Mar 2, 2011 at 7:24 pm

i'd pay $$$ to see jobs created for these individuals. Decreasing the crime in our neighboring communities is a +1 for everyone involved. Great story. Best of luck.`


Like this comment
Posted by Outside Observer
a resident of another community
on Mar 2, 2011 at 7:50 pm

I'd pay $$$ to see these individuals removed from the human genome. 3 strikes and you're out should actually be that. 3 strikes and you are put to death.


Like this comment
Posted by Ridiculous
a resident of Duveneck School
on Mar 2, 2011 at 8:49 pm

||This is ludicrous. There are no jobs out there for qualified people in this economy, yet gang leaders were trying to be persuaded to hang up their colors and train for minimum wage jobs. Sounds reasonable. Just like the rise in criminal activity during the great Depression. A government agency should have asked John Dillinger if he wanted a job pumping gas. Fix the economy before you attempt to address crime.

This x 100. You have people with very little to lose and a lot to gain doing crime. To them it surely beats a menial 9 to 5.

It is not only a problem of economy though; it is partially a result of a culture that is averse to hard work and education. There is no easy way to fix, or even mitigate this.


Like this comment
Posted by Concerned citizen
a resident of another community
on Mar 2, 2011 at 9:35 pm

I think these fellows are the ones ringing my doorbell and smash and grabbing at Stanford mall. But if highly skilled IT workers cannot find work, who is really going to hire gangmembers, and what can they actually do besides work at fast food? While good intentioned, this program seems like a big waste of money.


Like this comment
Posted by Old Palo Alto
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 2, 2011 at 11:06 pm

I think what should be offered to these young men is a class on risk/reward. For very little reward they risk decades in prison. If they want to be true gangsters, they should go to Wall Street. There you can risk very little with huge rewards.


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Posted by Andrea
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Mar 2, 2011 at 11:41 pm

Criminals should definitely be put to death, but it should be gauged by the amount that they steal, rather than the number of times. Anything over a million dollars should mean death. Let's start giving all those Wall Street bankers the death penalty. They're the ones who damaged lives and the economies on a worldwide scale.


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Posted by wow
a resident of Meadow Park
on Mar 3, 2011 at 3:49 am

scare tactic, this is more of a ploy, yet EPA PD cannot pin any crime to them but its more of a simple way to tell them "we know what you are doing out there", either shape up or move out. Its up to them to follow through, i would say go to a jr college and start from there not these dead end programs!


Like this comment
Posted by Mr. Ironic
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 3, 2011 at 9:13 am

I heard they only invited the black criminals. I hope they realize the demographics have changed since the 80's and black people are the minority in EPA now. Even this paper note the latin and polynesian gangs that also commit crimes. So what is the real message they are trying to send? And Chief Davis wasn't there either. Seems like a publicity stunt.


Like this comment
Posted by Blake
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 3, 2011 at 9:46 am

In my humble opinion, sounds like ultimatums and lessons that should have been taught by these gang members parents a long time ago. Personally, I resent further tax dollars being spent in creating programs to assist those who should have known better all along. Really? We need to hold a meeting with these thugs and explain to them you better straighten yourselves out or else?

As a people we already fund the path to relative success. I'm sure that the vast majority of these thugs had, from a very early age, access to a decent education. Here in the Bay Area, better than most places around. Community colleges are plentiful and relatively affordable. Job training is available at many levels short of us creating yet another program to show people the way. If one sees fit, they could join the armed forces.

My point is we are not lacking positive outlets for young people and never have. For all her faults, this country still provides more opportunities than obstacles; for those who choose to look for the opportunities and make the right choices. None of this is a mystery. These thugs knew what their options were, they've always known the consequences, and they chose to be criminals. Besides, what job training could we possibly provide to make them viable for employment. Skilled workers with stellar track records are out of work during these tough financial times. Let's not delusion ourselves.

The only aspect of this program that I fully support is sending them the message that they will be relentlessly pursued and prosecuted for their crimes. Enough enabling and second chances. Very few of their victims had second chances. These thugs take advantage of our society's tolerance and caring, and squander these opportunities aside with no remorse. They made their decisions, now they can live with the consequences.


Like this comment
Posted by Beth
a resident of College Terrace
on Mar 3, 2011 at 11:19 am

I agree with Blake. I also think culture and the way these kids were raised plays a huge role in who they have become. Fixing the economy will not make a difference in who these kids truly are and what their core values are.


Like this comment
Posted by G TOWN
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Mar 3, 2011 at 12:10 pm

Alot of my people would like a job,but what job will take care of a felon.My people think like this becuase its our nature to survive aginst the odds.Yes we are loosing and will continue as long as we think we can get ahead hustln.I dont live aginst the law anymore and no i never been to prison ,didnt need to im cut from a rare cloth and know better.I say to my people take charge and stay strong.


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Posted by Blake
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 3, 2011 at 12:34 pm

Couldn't agree with you more G TOWN, people do need to take charge of their own lives and stay strong. Whatever the odds, it's always been about living a positive life, taking advantage of opportunities, being self-reliant, and holding oneself accountable for their actions.

A better life is forged when people are taught to value education and hard work. Taught to reject the thug lifestyle that glorifies crime, disrespect for women, and drug and alcohol abuse. Taught to respect other people and their property. Seems like simple rules to live by.


Like this comment
Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Mar 3, 2011 at 8:01 pm

Andrea & Old Palo Alto - loved your posts. Of course this won't work & I think Mr. Ironic nailed it, espec if the chief wasn't there. Perhaps he was busy interviewing for another chief job, helping his wife count all her big $$ or stuck in traffic on his way home.


Like this comment
Posted by Patty
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Mar 4, 2011 at 12:43 am

I'm no bleeding-heart liberal and I am quite judgemental, skeptical. But I think this is a wondeful idea. Those gang-bangers are lost. Just the attention that someone cares about them is significant. They obviously felt no one cared or they would not be in their situation. However, targeting the at-riskers may have a higher success rate.

I love G TOWN's posting. Shows his intelligence (and before you bash that statement, realize he was not schooled properly in English but anyone can be taught how to write).

And to those of you whining that so many people are unemployed, realize that these jobs being presented to them are not management level or jobs that most prideful Americans would accept.


Like this comment
Posted by Unknown
a resident of Monroe Park
on Mar 4, 2011 at 9:30 am

Patty, great feedback.


Like this comment
Posted by G TOWN
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Mar 4, 2011 at 9:52 am

school was not important to me as a teen.paying bills at 14 years old was my reality and puting food on the table.i will not tell my life story but judge me at the same time count your blessings that this so called thug has made better choices.patty can u relate maybe not but u can read and write so picture me rolln not worried about much.patty what makes u think im a man.judgemental.is it fair to say ur white with blue eyes.


Like this comment
Posted by east menlo
a resident of Menlo Park
on Mar 4, 2011 at 9:56 am

First and foremost no one was offered a job..they were offered job training, counseling and other resources that they may need in order to be successful citizens.. job train is like vocational school that will teach, train and help them garner a skills set so they can then seek employment or they have the option to continue the life that the lead and end up in prison for a long time...nothing wrong with this message at all...they are going to be given a chance to make a change...the ball is in their court...people should applaud a program like this as well as social programs in the community...hopefully it will decrease the number of people crossing over into other commuities and robbing people and their cars or homes...


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Posted by to G-TOWN
a resident of Community Center
on Mar 4, 2011 at 10:02 am

you've posted on many other threads before and you have semi-shared your story before about the obstacles in your life. there may be judgement that you are a man and not a woman based on the "norm" and "stereotype" that thugs are more likely to be men and not women.


Like this comment
Posted by G TOWN
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Mar 4, 2011 at 12:13 pm

GOVERMENT, POLICE and etc have there share of thugs if u ask me police are the most scandals 96 precnt of them.Sorry i dont have faith in our system or how it works.The norm... what does that mean like the norm is to get 6 patrol cars called to a normal traffic stop because your i d says east palo alto and your ridding through paloa alto.out of bounds or the norm.Whats the root of the problem drugs, east palo alto,and thugs are you serious.Until there is real undertsanding about the cultre of street level hustln and strugle my people will continue generation after generation.I pray we wake up and help each other.


Like this comment
Posted by Patty
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Mar 4, 2011 at 2:32 pm

@ G TOWN,

The majority of criminals are male. No, the data isn't in front of me but it's anyone's guess.

As to why you care what gender I think you are, that's off topic. Plus, in the English language, it is proper to write "he" instead of "he/she", although that has evolved and sometimes people write "they", which is improper grammar but does not indicate gender preference.

Surely, you understand why EPA residents in Palo Alto alert the eyes of the police when many of the crimes (not all) involve EPA residents. That's how stereotypes form - when a lot of one culture or type is a certain way, human nature is to stereotype, although people know that everyone is still an individual.

Since you have overcome your odds, perhaps you could help your culture through social work. It would be quite gratifying work.

What is your opinion of EPA and E. Menlo students attending Palo Alto school? Do you think it is helpful to them?


Like this comment
Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Mar 4, 2011 at 7:24 pm

The PA cops of course collaborate w/other agencies & often are fairly apprised of the no-goodniks from neighboring towns, just as a lot of the EPA cops know the thugs from the legit folks. But civilians don't know who is from where & that's led to a lot of problems, historically & currently - very sad.

I would LOVE to see EPA & PA cops crack down on bad parkers - they'd increase revenue, but due to budgets, the cops are stretched pretty thin. When there were more PA cops on the street, it was always ironic when they'd be hanging out at Edgewood & Newell, stopping EPA residents. They could've filled the coffers w/more traffic stops on Embarcadero. But I digress...


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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