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Monday, September 12, 2011

GRYD Program Deputy Mayor Cespedes "tosses softballs" with LA Times Jim Newton

"General Secretary of Gang Suppression Guillermo Cespedes at the microphone".
Disclaimer: Please note that in the recent past, the Los Angeles Times was bestowed the moniker "LA Antonio Times" for its shameless promotion of City Terrace native Antonio Ramon Villar. From the time of his Parke Skelton crafted political rehabilitation as the fleeting rep of CD 14 to his election as the mayoral ethical savior of the City of Los Angeles in 2005, the editors at the "former paper of record" compromise objective reporting by penning flowing PR pronouncements on the legislated agenda of the rising Latino Politico Rock Star, only to see his star power diminish forever due to a Telebimbo and unethical narcissism. Now "LA Antonio Times" roving editor Jim Newton continues his self-revival of that past subjective journalistic era with his latest column on Mayor Villar's GRYD Program. Join us in this latest bloggin deconstruction of yet another public relations puff piece from the "former fishwrap of record"---Scott Johnson.
If we were to accept the premise of Mayor Antonio Villar appointed City of Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck that the current GRYD Program "is one of the best thing this city has done in the last 10 years", then we would go along with the feel good flow of this Newton column on the GRYD Program and its signature event Summer Night Lights. As Newton notes, there are worthy contractors that merit credit for their work, SEA and Barrio Action are a couple that stand out in my area of CD 14. But then the likes of the politically-created Legacy LA who's political connections trumps any record of achievement, provides ample counter evidence to the chief's politically-tinged statement

As Chief Beck is seen being Mayor Villar's law enforcement pitch person, the GRYD Program is perceived as an exercise in controlling gangs and their respective communal politics. GRYD did their PR duty in uttering crime stats to Newton which are part of his column. But Newton fails to get at root how those numbers were achieved. For example in Ramona Gardens, you can buy a peaceful summer by hiring "young shot-callers" for youth squad positions (according to community sources, more youths got "jumped into Hazard", hoping to get a SNL job this summer), then provide ample food for their homies and the result is a quiet summer.

But this S.O.P. does not buy genuine support when those outside the political inner-circle of CBO's such as Legacy LA, are left out of the planning process. As GRYD employee Miguel Leon who is part of Newton column can attest, when you disregard other members of the community, your SNL program becomes an empty zone of apathy, as was the case in Ramona Gardens this summer.

During the hiring process for Ramona Gardens SNL staff, hopeful applicants (Note email at the end of this post) for the Community Outreach Specialist position were not even given an interview or phone calls from Miguel Leon as a supporter of Legacy LA was given the position for the second straight summer. (** the person was worthy of the position but should of had open competition for the job). Thus, what could of been a true community undertaking, became a patronage exercise in rewarding the mayor's connected CBO for their loyalty.

But the most glaring absence in Newton's piece was any mention of the hard work of the City of Los Angeles Recreation and Parks employees who provided the program foundation for all the SNL sites. If Newton had visited other SNL sites without his GRYD minders, he would of seen the program guidance offered to SNL staff who were for most part, absence of any "mass-programming experience" Thus, seeing this he may of came up with the opinion that the Recreation and Parks Department is truly the "gang prevention and intervention program of record"

Your thoughts..............
Scott Johnson in CD 14

** Email to Miguel Leon:
From: Scott Johnson
Subject: Nominees for Community Outreach Specialist
To: miguel.leon@lacity.org
Cc: "Maggie Aguilar" debra.price@lacity.org
Date: Saturday, June 11, 2011, 2:14 AM


Thank you for the opportunity to nominate candidates for the Ramona Gardens Summer Night Lights "Community Outreach Specialist" Position.

The following have Summer Night Lights experience as paid employees and are interested in the position. They are as follow; Kristy Alvarez, who worked the first and second summer of SNL, she is the daughter of longtime Ramona Gardens Activist Maggie Ortiz.

The second is Priscilla Lozano whoworked at Ramona Gardens last summer for SEA. She has longtime Ramona Gardens roots and is well respected in the community.

In addition to Veronica Pagan, all three would be well-deserving in the position. Better yet, the three would make a great team to mentor to the youth squad members.


Scott Johnson
Ramona Gardens Community Member

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