Catalina Island mayor addresses gang concerns

Full story: Long Beach Press-Telegram

The mayor of Avalon on Tuesday called for a civilian advisory committee and a fact-finding mission in the wake of media coverage this week that suggested gang activity is rising on the island.
Comments
1 - 20 of 102 Comments Last updated May 23, 2011
First Prev
of 6
Next Last
Reality check

Long Beach, CA

|
Report Abuse
|
Judge it!
|
#1
Jul 17, 2008
 
Mr. Kennedy wants to assemble a citizen committee to assemble guidelines for the Sheriffs Dept. Are you kidding me? He wants to tell the Deputies which laws they can and can't enforce? If he needs a heart bypass is he going to tell the cardiologist how to do the surgery? Just because a problem is bad for business doesnt mean you sweep it under the rug. This is so short sighted and ignorant. Since Mr. Kennedy hasn't personally be a victim of the various crimes these gang members have commited, doesn't mean the crimes haven't occured.

Yes, Avalon is a tourist destination. Yes, Mr Griffins job is threatened by lack of tourists spending money needed to pay his salary. His implication that a community advisory board is needed to 'help the department understand the culture of our community' is nonsense. The Sheriffs Dept has been in Avalon for decades. Many of the Deputies there have either grown up there, or been stationed there for decades. They understand the culture of the community just fine. It's the community (or part there of) that doesn't understand criminal behavor. Avalon hired the Sheriffs Dept to do their job. The city officials should be supporting their efforts to make Avalon a safe place for both residents and tourists. Not worrying about bad press.

Personally, I'd be much more likely to visit if I saw everyone pulling together to rid Avalon of illegal dangerous criminals. Kennedy and Griffin are not spin-doctors, and they look foolish trying.
I back reality check

Long Beach, CA

|
Report Abuse
|
Judge it!
|
#2
Jul 17, 2008
 
The sheriffs are professionals in doing what they do best. they don't pretend there isn't a problem. if the good for nothing residents that can easily be replaced are complaining that the sheriffs are having a much needed talk with their hoodlum kids then they can just leave! i commend the sheriffs for hitting the problem dead on without it escalating any further. if the police had actually taken the GANG problem seriously in the 60's we wouldn't have such a huge gang culture in the US!
Be Serious

Los Angeles, CA

|
Report Abuse
|
Judge it!
|
#3
Jul 17, 2008
 

Judged:

1

1

1

I back reality check wrote:
The sheriffs are professionals in doing what they do best. they don't pretend there isn't a problem. if the good for nothing residents that can easily be replaced are complaining that the sheriffs are having a much needed talk with their hoodlum kids then they can just leave! i commend the sheriffs for hitting the problem dead on without it escalating any further. if the police had actually taken the GANG problem seriously in the 60's we wouldn't have such a huge gang culture in the US!
Police are told not to act on illegal immigrants, so no control in their hands there. They also have no control over women having babies they don't want to raise. That's a black thang, you wouldn't understand.

Quit blaming the police for not raising children. Blame the culture with supports the "mothers" who have the unwanted kids. Blame our "progressive" democrat "leaders" who decided to use section 8 as a way to get poor people out of concentrated areas, and out into quiet suburban/rural areas like Catalina.
If Catalina were to somehow disallow section 8 or any like program on the island, gang activity would drop to a trickle.
Concerned person

Stamford, CT

|
Report Abuse
|
Judge it!
|
#4
Jul 17, 2008
 
Catalina is a special place for many. Anyone who is causing problems should be prosecuted and made to repay and repair any damage to our beautiful island. If the TSA can monitor airport travel, maybe we can monitor any arrival or departure on the island.
This island is paradise and should be treated as a special place. Any hooligans who want "tag" or deface property should be forced to remove or repair the problem and the mother and father should be held in contempt and viewed publically in the town square. No rules. the hooligans do not follow any rules, nor should Catalina. Send them in a boat off the island with a set of oars.
This is a special place and the island should convict and fine hooligans and their parents to show what happens to those who cross the line.
I'm really upset that a paradise would have to deal with this type of trouble.
Chip Douglas

Yucca Valley, CA

|
Report Abuse
|
Judge it!
|
#5
Jul 17, 2008
 
Sounds like the mayor wants to put his head in the sand & hope the gang issue will go away. They tried that in LA about 30 years ago. Look where it got us.
CHS

Rancho Cucamonga, CA

|
Report Abuse
|
Judge it!
|
#7
Jul 17, 2008
 
This sounds like the same mayor from the movie "Jaws."
Friend of Duke

United States

|
Report Abuse
|
Judge it!
|
#9
Jul 17, 2008
 
A "Fact Finding Mission"..Help me, Rhonda!
Scuba Mayor is a real Mike Nelson.

Yes, fire the Sheriff's department and let the Mayor and his crew protect you. Expect a lot of meetings before they draw their weapons!

Stay away from Avalon until these moron locals ship out or the gangs get them.

Stupid would be a kind word.
luigee

Albuquerque, NM

|
Report Abuse
|
Judge it!
|
#10
Jul 17, 2008
 
Avalon needs to address this issue ASAP or the Island will turn into another gang infested ghetto...If that happens, tourism will disappear, jobs will disappear, unemployment will rise, people will go away, and the multi-million dollar homes will become worthless.

There is too much at stake here and I highly adviced and urge the residents of catalina to stand up to their mayor and demand that this be taken seriosly or their paradise will truly be lost forever.
Unsafe

Torrance, CA

|
Report Abuse
|
Judge it!
|
#12
Jul 17, 2008
 
The mayor can put his head in the sand all he wants to. The fact is that the gang problem is out of control and those that waste their money going to Avalon will return very unhappy after a vacation ruined by the elements that rule the city now. Even our friends that used to go for scuba and fishing have been harassed and will not return!!!
mrguapo

Lexington, KY

|
Report Abuse
|
Judge it!
|
#13
Jul 17, 2008
 
My guess is that Catalina has a very low crime rate. These issues are best solved at the local level by involving the whole community and coming up with solutions, especially in a close knit place like this. The local youth need to be involved, as well, in a meaningful way. The mayor is on the right track.
Richard X

United States

|
Report Abuse
|
Judge it!
|
#17
Jul 17, 2008
 
Thankfully the boat and tour operators to Catalina will have to disclose the Avalon GANG problem to their customers/ passengers.
Full disclosure as they say, in the legal arena.
Frequent Island visitor

United States

|
Report Abuse
|
Judge it!
|
#21
Jul 18, 2008
 
I support the Sheriff's Department on this issue. If the business community wants to ignore or hide the problem, the island paradise is soon to be lost. The best press for Avalon would be the news of stron enforcement action to stop dead gang activity in it's tracks.

Already the island is not what it used to be, just walk Crescent avenue at night....

"Reality Check" has it 100% right...do not try to tie the hand of law enforcement....you will get the kind of city you will deserve
constance

North Hollywood, CA

|
Report Abuse
|
Judge it!
|
#26
Jul 30, 2008
 

Judged:

1

As a resident of Avalon I admit that I am scared. Not of a “gang issue (Lt. Ed Cook)” or of “three or more people together for the purpose of conducting illegal activities (Lt. Ed Cook).” I am afraid of the people who turned a drunken fight between two men that ended in a not-even-close to fatal stabbing into a gang related incident which labeled our little tourist based community as a growing gang area. I am afraid of the people who I know actually hold the guns and the nightsticks and the pepper spray. I have never been in my apartment and wondered if it was safe for me to go out my door to go for a walk at night until the recent police activity. I am not worried of being stabbed or being mugged. I walk from work through two dark unpatrolled alleys 6 days a week, and will continue to do so until I feel threatened by someone other than the police. The alleys continue to be unpatrolled while the Casino building movie continues to be met by a police car at its evening release. Which leads me to ask why they are looking for potentially dangerous gang members in a movie and not in an allys? Recently I have had the joy of being IDed and questioned for standing outside my home with my fiancé at night under the pretense that we “look young”. I have had not one, but two police cars at once pull up behind me, park, then wait until my fiancé and I walked away from the Mole on one evening as well took a stroll as we waited while our food order to be finished at Pi-Nic-Fry. Witnesses have approached me regarding other situations as well on top of the recently published articles. Such as on the night of July 28th. According to eyewitnesses the police car was going roughly 35mph while people were crossing the street to Coyote Joes. As stated by the witnesses a man jokingly yelled out,“hey, slow down” and the policeman abruptly stopped the car and within seconds another police car and the policeSUV pulled up. The policeman then proceeded to announce that if he (the joking man) said anything else he would be put in jail. There were other words exchanged and the people at the bar dispersed. I have had at least four coworkers who are not from America IDed when walking down Crescent St. in a group (or gang??) after getting out of work for the evening. They were IDed, again, under the pretense that they “looked young”. The people of Avalon are so annoyed – to say the least - with the people who are meant to help them that it is causing horrible tension. I implore you to go outside and take a good look around this summer. You will see more gangs of policeman outside then you will see gangs of residents out enjoying the summer evening. Due to the lack of harmful criminal activity in our city the police have become “self profits” turning over every proverbial rock waiting to find someone underneath. The citizens of Avalon are staying at home rather than going out to bars or restaurants because they do no wish to be harassed. The Locals staying at home is a big kick in the pants to our already underfed economy and many people are asking what will happen this winter if things continue down this path? When is the powder keg going to blow? I for one am afraid of going out for my evening cigarette not because of the “30 known gang members that have been seen with hard-core gangsters (as stated by Avalon deputies in the Los Angeles Times to Richard Winton, LA Times)” that have tagged a few 'no skateboarding' signs so they say 'skateboarding' or because of “all these gangsters walking around and all these drug deals going on right in the open.(as David Mertens, Avalon police officer stated to Gillian Flaccus Associated Press writer)” but because I “look young.”
Constance

North Hollywood, CA

|
Report Abuse
|
Judge it!
|
#28
Jul 30, 2008
 

Judged:

2

2

1

Sir, the only business we have is tourism. It is not like Hawaii. We run tours, have hotels and restaurants. That is our business, and of course we are going to fight to protect that. It would be like if someone came to your place of work and stated that the product you offer is unsafe. No one would come to work or buy it. It would kill your job. It is not like we have the option of just finding another non-related to tourism job. Please understand that we do not believe that Avalon is perfect, or want to mislead people. We just want the truth out there. The truth is we are a safe community with petty non-violent crimes. Kids do spray paint things, yes. Yes that is wrong, and it is addressed as it should be. But this is getting blown up out of proportion and the "gang" label is ruining our business and frankly sir we must feed our children.
Crystal

United States

|
Report Abuse
|
Judge it!
|
#30
Aug 1, 2008
 
Constance wrote:
Sir, the only business we have is tourism. It is not like Hawaii. We run tours, have hotels and restaurants. That is our business, and of course we are going to fight to protect that. It would be like if someone came to your place of work and stated that the product you offer is unsafe. No one would come to work or buy it. It would kill your job. It is not like we have the option of just finding another non- But this is getting blown up out of proportion and the "gang" label is ruining our business and frankly sir we must feed our children.
YOU HAVE CHILDREN?!?
Gary K

AOL

|
Report Abuse
|
Judge it!
|
#31
Aug 1, 2008
 

Judged:

2

2

1

I am going to Catlina this next week. I am a crim defense lawyer in teh SFV. I know many real gang members and gang cops. The cops scare me more. And those people above who blindly beleieve the cops (who always want more budget, more toys, more glory and importance)over the local officials( who might have an interest in "playing down a problem") are prenazi germans rather than responsible citizens paying attention to local events. Children tag. Sometimes it is art but usually the sign of low self esteem or criminal indifference to property rights of others. Misdemeanor stuff less dangerous than drinking in public but possibly more obnoxious. No reason to give up civil liberties for that or carte blanche to police to start hassling latino citizens. "Those who would give up liberty to obtain saftey end up with neither" I am sure it is a small problem and Avalon is still a safe place. I do not like being hassled by anybody and if either cops or gang bangers hassle me I will let you all know.
constance

North Hollywood, CA

|
Report Abuse
|
Judge it!
|
#32
Aug 3, 2008
 
Gary K wrote:
I am going to Catlina this next week. I am a crim defense lawyer in teh SFV. I know many real gang members and gang cops. The cops scare me more. And those people above who blindly beleieve the cops (who always want more budget, more toys, more glory and importance)over the local officials( who might have an interest in "playing down a problem") are prenazi germans rather than responsible citizens paying attention to local events. Children tag. Sometimes it is art but usually the sign of low self esteem or criminal indifference to property rights of others. Misdemeanor stuff less dangerous than drinking in public but possibly more obnoxious. No reason to give up civil liberties for that or carte blanche to police to start hassling latino citizens. "Those who would give up liberty to obtain saftey end up with neither" I am sure it is a small problem and Avalon is still a safe place. I do not like being hassled by anybody and if either cops or gang bangers hassle me I will let you all know.
Thank you.^_^
not easily deterred

Avalon, CA

|
Report Abuse
|
Judge it!
|
#33
Aug 7, 2008
 
Gary, if many of the gang cops are criminals that scare you more than the gangs, you're a big attorney, do something about it. This would be a better world if people would speak up about that kind of thing. I heard the complaints against the Avalon police at the meeting; parking in a red zone while they bought a coke, driving on the sidewalk. These are emergency vehicles, they can do that. I didn't hear about anything illegal, just the mayor upset that the laws are being enforced and that the police don't seem to be sensitive to the fact that this is a resort town...and that means what? that he wants a force that just smiles and waves? Maybe the mayor and Constance and Gary could all get together and give the police a list of people they shouldn't arrest and which crimes shouldn't be enforced. Maybe Catalina needes to secede.
Ex Section 8 Landlord

Los Angeles, CA

|
Report Abuse
|
Judge it!
|
#34
Aug 8, 2008
 

Judged:

1

1

1

Be Serious wrote:
<quoted text>
Police are told not to act on illegal immigrants, so no control in their hands there. They also have no control over women having babies they don't want to raise. That's a black thang, you wouldn't understand.
Quit blaming the police for not raising children. Blame the culture with supports the "mothers" who have the unwanted kids. Blame our "progressive" democrat "leaders" who decided to use section 8 as a way to get poor people out of concentrated areas, and out into quiet suburban/rural areas like Catalina.
If Catalina were to somehow disallow section 8 or any like program on the island, gang activity would drop to a trickle.
Christ Almighty they have section 8 on Catalina Island??
Unbelievable. All section 8 accomplishes is supporting drug dealing. I've tried renting 4 times to section 8 people and every time it turned into a complete fiasco.
Every single one of them ended up being drug dealers, and turned the neighborhood upside down. I had police raids, complete with having my doors busted out of their hinges by drug enforcement agencies.
I had one "family" of a single mother, and 5 kids, only one of the kids were hers, the rest were born from her crackhead sister. She'd been in rehab 3 times. Still on crack. When I evicted them, her sister was pregnant again. One of the kids, all of 10 years old, had been arrested for burglarizing the house next door, and the police had raided the house looking for drug dealers.
I don't even consider section 8 tenants. It's a government service for drug dealers.
There must be some way you can keep that off the island.
If you can educate property renter's, and get them to agree not to take section 8 residents, that might be the only way.
That one guy

United States

|
Report Abuse
|
Judge it!
|
#35
Aug 8, 2008
 

Judged:

1

not easily deterred wrote:
I heard the complaints against the Avalon police at the meeting; parking in a red zone while they bought a coke, driving on the sidewalk. These are emergency vehicles, they can do that.
Actually, no they can't.
The "E" on the license plate does not mean exempt. It's for emergency. When there is no emergency, they MUST obey all the same laws as a normal citizen.(this includes parking in the red, speed limits, etc...). They may only use that Privilege when on an emergency call. I doubt buying a coke counts.
Besides...cops shouldn't be driving on side-walks for safety reasons. That's plain idiotic.

Tell me when this thread is updated: (Registration is not required)

Add to my Tracker Send me an email

First Prev
of 6
Next Last
Type in your comments below
Name
(appears on your post)
Comments
Characters left: 4000
Type the numbers you see in the image on the right:

Please note by clicking on "Post Comment" you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Service and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. Be polite. Inappropriate posts may be removed by the moderator. Send us your feedback.

•••
•••

Avalon News Video

•••
Avalon Dating

more search filters

less search filters

•••

Avalon Jobs

•••
Enter and win $5000
•••
•••

Avalon People Search

Addresses and phone numbers for FREE

•••

Avalon News, Events & Info

Click for news, events and info in Avalon
•••

Personal Finance

Mortgages [ See current mortgage rates ]
•••