From Hal Netkin
Van Nuys, CA 91407
To: Assemblyman Tony Cardenas, Dist 39 (sent hard copy)
Sacramento, CA 94249-0001
RE: Juvenile Justice Hearing of June 11, 2002, State Building, Van Nuys
SUB: Improving rehabilitation of gang members on probation.
June 12, 2002
Dear Mr. Cardenas:
It was clear that you were put on the spot to fund more money to the probation department in the face of a recent significant increase in gang crime. The many presenters which included Richard Shumsky, Chief Probation Officer; a deputy representative from Sheriff Baca's Department; William "Blinky" Rodriguez, former gang member; and many more, tried to make their case that if they only had more money and manpower, they could meet their goals to rehabilitate gang members.
When the attached piece I wrote, "Foreigners in gangs should be deported," was published last month in the Los Angeles Daily News, a probation officers (who was present at last night's hearing) who read it, emailed me saying that I was right -- that tax payers' money should not be wasted on attempting to rehabilitate illegal alien gang members -- they should be deported without hesitation, and if rehabilitation is to be applied, the responsibility lies with the countries to which the gang members are native.
In my presentation (two minutes) I told you that from Sheriff Baca's own statistics published in the Daily News
(see attached), that 23 percent of the inmates in county jail were illegal aliens costing $150 million / year to house. I said that the excuse given by the LAPD and the L.A. County Sheriff for not inquiring about the immigration status of suspects, is that innocent witnesses and victims would not trust law enforcement and would fear deportation if they reported crime. I asked everyone in that meeting to "read my lips on this one": Innocent victims and witnesses don't report gang crimes, not out of fear that L.A.'s immigrant friendly police will report them to the INS, but fear of retaliation from gang members themselves. Mr. Cardenas, illegal alien gang members are not innocent victims or witnesses. Whether they can be rehabilitated or not, they are an immediate threat to public safety and should be deported.
After the meeting was over, the probation officer who is my contact who was accompanied by two other probation officers also present at the hearing, invited me to his office in the County Probation Department (in the same building). The three officers, who did not want to jeopardize their jobs by publicly whistle blowing, poured their guts out to me about how the department knows exactly who the significant number of illegal alien gang members on probation are, and how their chief is in violation of federal law by harboring them. They had many gripes, but the one that took the cake, was the shocking revelation that the probation department's Chief Probation Officer has initiated a mandate which prohibits his staff from recommending to judges, the deportation of illegal alien gang members -- even incorrigible ones.
Your closing tearful and emotional anecdote about the kid who lives only a few blocks from you who was killed when he was caught in gang crossfire touched me and the audience deeply, but it flies in the face of your opening comments about your philosophy that there is no such thing as a bad kid and we should try to save them all. I don't think that philosophy would have impressed the parents of the victim you spoke of. That killing might never have happened if the probation department had been deporting the vast number of gang members on probation who are known illegal aliens.
I hope my argument has been convincing. But it should not be misconstrued to mean that I am against rehabilitation of gang members. I'm not. But if this is a question of public safety, then I am against attempting to rehabilitate illegal alien gang members who should be removed from our society.
It would serve the community if you would use your influence to convince our local government to waste no time in deporting identified illegal alien gang members for the sake of public safety. And there would be no better legacy for you to leave when your term is up.
Hal Netkin -- LA Watchdog
P.S. Since this is a public matter, this letter is open to the public. And is posted to http://keepstuff.homestead.com/CardenasLetter2612.html.com