Who is going to fix Monrovia’s dirty little secret?

It is no secret I love my little corner of LA. It is no secret that I champion what we do right and expose the warts. Today’s wart is a whopper.

There is this mounting frustration in the community. In the last 2 weeks gang warfare has erupted in the area. The sad tally in a community of barely 40,000….1 retiree and 1 MHS teen dead, 2 teens in critical condition and another adult wounded. That is 5 victims of gangland warfare. It doesn’t even take into account the number of homes with holes in the wall. Much of the frustration, anger, fear is due to the simple fact that for years we have been told “no organized gangs in Monrovia or the schools”.

The recent violence has left most of us feeling as if the safety rug has been yanked out from under our feet. Naive to believe we were different, yes. Wrong that we weren’t given all the information to understand and deal with the problem rather than silence to protect future investment for redevelopment in town, you bet.

Part of the problem lies in unincorporated county land where boundary’s are blurred and no one is really certain where to dig to correct the problem. The community as a whole doesn’t care as those kids even if they didn’t live within the city limits, they attended MUSD schools and were friends and acquaintances of those of us within the city limits.

I can tell you I have spoken with some who are convinced with good authority that the battle between MNV and Duroc Crips is based on orders from LA Eme.

I had the most interesting email from Rosemary Harrahill whom I have known casually from various organizations in town I get involved with. I talked with her at length. She is as frustrated as I and have one question to LA…who do we contact, enlist to help us take our city back and make it safe for our kids? With next weeks primary we are certain not a politician will stray far from Malibu, Brentwood or Encino fund raisers to address what needs to be done to make our neighborhoods safe and give our kids their childhoods back in LA let alone our little corner.

After the jump is Ms. Harrahill’s open letter to our mayor. The only information redacted is her address and phone, as she put it “I have drawn my line in the sand and will stand behind what I wrote”. My hat is off to Ms Harrahill.

Hello Mayor Hammond,
I have rarely sent you an email, but I believe I must communicate with you regarding the recent shootings and tell you how frustrated, angry and outraged I am at what has happened to Monrovia children and residents and the paltry and anemic response we have received from agencies we trust, namely our police and our city and tangentially the LA County Sheriff Department.

I am sick of hearing about how everything is gang related. I am sick of hearing our public relations officer refer to people “down there” and how this issue is “not a Monrovia issue.” Tell that to the mother of the dead teen girl and her friend who is hospitalized and her friends in Monrovia schools.

I am sick of seeing headlines, as sure as the sun rises, on a Monday morning, about more children who get shot and killed in Monrovia. I am sick of the excuse that “it’s gang retaliation and it’s just a bad time right now.” Bad time? When the heck will there be a good time? When will the mothers of Monrovia be told, “Well, it’s a good time now.”

I am sick of the excuse that the shootings “happened in the unincorporated areas.” Does this make them any less worthy of our attention? The implications of these statements are shameless.
I am stunned that the spokesperson for the LA County Sheriffs advises parents to keep their children indoors on the weekends!!!

There are too many people who have fought, especially over the last several years, to see education flourish in our community. Too many have fought for safe streets and a community that takes pride in the education of our children. Too many have fought hard to keep insidious businesses out of Monrovia so we can continue to enjoy the beautiful community we have. Too many have sacrificed to keep businesses open and flourishing in the hard times that mom and pop industries have suffered through. And now, to have not one, not two, not three, not four but….how many unsolved murders is this now? I’ve lost count…..

You need to know that last Friday night that I asked another Monrovian, “Well, what will this weekend bring?” Tragically, the answer was on a small side note in the Star News. Do you know how ironic and horribly tragic it was juxtaposed to your letter to the editor? And I know for sure I’m not the only Monrovia parent who wondered what the weekend would bring.

Now that I think, I hope, I have expressed my utter frustration and horror at our town’s response, I have a suggestion.

Quite frankly, this is what I haven’t heard, but I think needs to be done immediately, obviously before this coming weekend:

The City Council must come together in an emergency meeting and allocate emergency funds (as did Diamond Bar several weeks ago) to put two to three shifts of our own officers or hire out of town off duty officers, plain clothes and patrol units, to saturate Monrovia for the next 3 weeks. At the same time we need to hire additional detectives and begin an intensive no holds barred, outright paper and foot patrol effort to identify, interview and/or make arrests that lead to solving the multiple murders in Monrovia. We need an announcement through the media (not just the Star News)–radio, television and our own cable company, from you, not our misguided public relations officer, about what’s being done, what was done and where we stand with arrests.

And I don’t care if the crimes happened in “county unincorporated areas.” The children go to Monrovia schools, live in the community of Monrovia, attend church and after school events in Monrovia and otherwise are Monrovians in every sense of the word. In a very sad but real way, the two shootings were as predictable as the sun rising.

Lastly, a very loud and clear message has gone to gang members, thanks in no small part to our PR person’s comments. I think the message we’ve sent to gangs everywhere is that Monrovia and the “unincorporated area” is a soft target, easy to commit murders in, easy in and easy out, and no consequences along the way.
Enough. Enough. Enough.

Thank you for your time and consideration of my letter.
Very truly yours,
Rosemary Harrahill

There you go…how do we fix any of this for any of our kids in LA?

12:19AM UPdate. My apology but the series of shootings referenced took place in the last 2 weeks.
A little clarification, according to print media sources in the past the answer from the city spokes person regarding crime, shootings, murders were answered with the “nothing ever happens newsworthy here”. Only in recent weeks have residents been posting on blogs what is going on which forced the city to admit there is a problem.
Again, my apologies in my effort to be brief I wound up leaving those bits out that do affect the story as well as illustrate our problems. I also have a link here from the Crime Scene Blog showing the locations of the shootings since this fall that was just posted a bit ago. frazgo

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4 Replies to “Who is going to fix Monrovia’s dirty little secret?”

  1. Fraz,

    Rosemary’s letter, I suspect, will be ineffective. For starters, it is just too histrionic. Putting “two to three shifts” of extra officers on duty will not quiet the violence unless they are comprised of a sophisticated anti-gang task force armed with intelligence about the gangs operating in Monrovia and it’s bordering unincorporated areas.

    I’m sorry to hear this but it is, sadly, a sign of the times.

  2. Thanks Rodger, what I hope happens is that more people in town wake up and make it all an issue. At least she spoke up, maybe the person reading will have an idea to fix and speak up too.

    I agree tossing a lot of police time at an issue not entirely within in our control may not work.

    One call I took recommended the citizens may Antonovich a visit to enlist his help with the county issues.

    Never know, but the more awareness the more likely something good will happen.

  3. Thanks Rosemary Harrahill!! Could’nt agree with you more about the term unincorporated area of monrovia! I feel the police use that as an excuse not to do their jobs. I live in the COUNTY of monrovia. The police tell us to help them by getting involved now that these murders have occured, but in the past when I’ve called the police and they take hours to show up. MONROVIA police wont even come out they send the sheriffs. Now that says alot in it’s self. Why are we treated different? Could it be because we
    live in the LOW end below the tracks!!!

  4. The question is, has anyone contacted Antonovich? Marched on his office in Pasadena? He is the supervisor in the area and has historically been tough on crime in the Antelope Valley. Now it’s time for him to show up and stand up for his unincorporated community.

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