As a resident of this little corner of LA I can’t say that I am not holding my breath waiting for the next shell casing to drop. Those of us here in Monrovia were glad to see the show of force the last few days. Many often wonder why it took a crisis for us to get this sort of protection and high visibility policing. Many of us are glad that the City of Monrovia has taken a lot of steps over the last several years to help those in the poorer sections of the community to rebuild themselves through their MAP program with the goal of making sure crime would not happen.
The San Gabriel Tribune has been covering the gang warfare with constant articles and updates. The most recent article: Monrovia police arrest seven in raid of gang locations which brought the good news that there was 7 arrests last night. Of those 7, 6 are being held without bail.
Most worrisome to many in the area was the sudden realization that there was a “no mans land”, or unincorporated communities who were within the jurisdiction of Los Angeles County. Many were unaware that their “Monrovia” address was for the convenience of the postal service and mail delivery whose policing and services were due them from the County. I can applaud my city for stepping in and trying to help and making their quality of life an issue with LA County. It doesn’t however, change the problem for the folks down there in the unincorporated county land using Monrovia, Arcadia or Duarte as their address. They have lived there for many years not realizing the local city governments did not have the jurisdiction to help them.
Among the many meetings taking place in the area throughout the area are “down there” as well. The meeting at Annunciation Church on Thursday night was well attended. I did get one email from a community member here that served only to illustrate the problems within the LA County area. She wrote me: “I went to the town meeting at annunciation and i feel so sorry for the people in unincorporated area: they’re on their own. it was pathetic.”. I called her to clarify what she meant. She said that she understood the community’s problem down there, the County Board of Supervisors sent a representative from Mike Antonovich’s office, but the got little in the way or promises or assurances. She said she does understand even better how the term “no mans land” came about and only hopes that the county steps in and does its job.
Probably the best commentary on the sense of frustration and hopelessness comes from my long time friend and community volunteer Kate Clark. Her open “letter to the editor” went to primarily to the San Gabriel Valley Tribune with copies to several other different press and media outlets. I did eliminate her personal contact information and added a hyper link to the news article she referenced. It read as follows:
“Regarding the Sat. Feb 2 Star News, page 1, Monrovia article, “Sheriff’s Officials Defend Patrol Strategy“:
All very interesting reading and it illustrates the sense of frustration felt within the community. It certainly does end with the right note, the community is motivated to make things better.
Living it has moved from the surreal back into the real world. I spent today talking with long time business people and law enforcement professionals. I got a better understanding of the gang problem in the area, how MPD works and I am more impressed with their honest and earnest efforts to keep us safe. I got a better understanding on why so many are calling this a race war even though that is not what this community is about.
I do understand better why some in the community are so disenfranchised that they don’t trust the elected officials in town. I met with a couple along Los Angeles Avenue this afternoon who are desperate to be heard but have lost faith in the process. I met a business woman who wants to help these people help themselves by offering up a neutral place to do so, to host and help facilitate their own neighborhood meetings. Its all about community. My community, all working to fix it. I guess that does make me an advocate too.