Monday, January 08, 2007

The New Politics of Pomona: Gangs, Crime and Youth

"Barely Legal doesn't exactly scream family values."
Pomona Councilman George Hunter, expressing his distaste for plans by the owners of the Babydolls strip club to reopen in an industrial park under the name Barely Legal.


—From David Allen's "best quotes of the year" article in the Daily Bulletin.

In the past (and even in the present) some might say something similar about certain members of the Pomona city council, but I digress.

Remember that "Pomona voters decided to start fresh in November, booting City Council incumbents Steven Banales, Marco Robles and Dan Rodriguez.

Councilman Elliott Rothman held on to his seat, joining new council members Cristina Carrizosa, Freddie Rodriguez and Stephen Atchley."

Given all the focus on crime in Pomona recently because of the still unsolved murder of 3-year-old Ethan Esparza, it is interesting to remember that Police unions backed losing incumbents Banales, Robles and Dan Rodriguez, while the Fire unions and Mayor Torres backed winners Atchley, Carrizosa and Freddie Rodriguez.

Thus Mayor Torres, who used to be outnumbered 5-2 on Council votes now leads a 5-2 majority (herself, Rothman, Atchley, Carrizosa and Rodriguez versus Lantz and Hunter from the old majority) and crime has become the number one issue in Pomona politics (as it should be).

Pomona Police Chief Joe Romero recently wrote a column in the Daily Bulletin subtly defending the city's anti-gang strategy and promoting the much discussed Youth and Family Master Plan.

Pomona's police force has their work cut out for them. Police just found "5 grams of rock cocaine, an ounce of marijuana packaged for sale, over $2,000 cash and five guns" in the possession of two brothers in their sixties. A 21-year old man was killed Saturday outside a bar. These are not atypical Pomona headlines.

______________________________________________
Tangentially Pomona related, an old bit of news I'd ignored, but considering the importance of horses and horse racing to many local communities it is interesting to note that "[t]he W.K. Kellogg Foundation ... announced it is granting $5 million to the W.K. Kellogg Arabian Horse Center at Cal Poly Pomona."

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