LULAC’s findings on Oxnard gangs
RE: Story, April 4, “Justice for Oxnard: The evolution of gangs and law enforcement’s fight to dismantle them.” The statistical information presented in the April 4 VCReporter regarding gang activity in Oxnard was highly inaccurate and served only to further sensationalize an already negative image of youth in Oxnard.
I will admit that I doubt the news reporter intentionally used inaccurate statistics and probably just settled for whatever certain law enforcement personnel tossed his/her way. In May of 2010, the League of United Latin American Citizens, a watchdog group, conducted a Public Records Act request asking the City of Oxnard to share its “real” data and reports with LULAC. The information released to LULAC was used as the basis for a comprehensive examination of gang statistics in Oxnard. It was found that, unlike what was reported in the VC Reporter story, there are actually only about 185 “real” gang members in Oxnard who meet the criteria required under the Gang Injunction official criteria. Indeed, there is some gang activity in our community but the figures presented in the VCR story were ridiculous. The reporter’s comment that there are “2,000 documented” gang members in Oxnard is completely false. The LULAC findings were based on evidence provided by the city itself and, in credit to the Oxnard Police Department, an effort is being made to correct the exaggerated data. I have asked LULAC to send a copy of the May 2010 investigative report and findings to the VC Reporter so that future stories are based on factual data and not exaggerated numbers. I hope the Reporter will post a link to the actual report. So . . . why do agencies exaggerate crime statistics? It’s quite simple. In Oxnard (as in other cities) you can generate a lot of extra revenue by convincing state and federal grant sponsors that your town is being overrun by gang members. There are probably millions of dollars coming into our county that are based on false statistics, with the only real benefactors of that funding being the D.A.’s office and certain police departments (overtime pay). It’s all about the money.
Meanwhile, the good community of Oxnard continues to be incorrectly portrayed as something it’s not. I urge the Editorial Board of the VC Reporter to reaffirm its responsibility to use accurate data to report on stories in our community.
Retired educational researcher
Quitting the name calling
Your recent editorial started off on the right foot by extolling the coming together of both sides of the political spectrum toward a fair and reasonable immigration policy. (“A refreshing change of pace for immigration reform,” Editorial, 4/4) You noted that, “This … compromise by two rival organizations represents a major shift in our polarized way of thinking.”
Unfortunately, you then proceed to use the very tactics (name-calling, ascribing evil intentions, gross generalizations) that continue to contribute to the very polarization you seem to decry.
The conservative position may be wrong on the illegal immigration issue, but is it not possible that some of the reasoning is motivated by something other than “lingering bigotry” that is “comparable to the stench of roadkill”?
Your readership should be encouraged to consider both sides of an issue and to think those arguments through instead of being encouraged to think of roughly half of the American population as being solely or primarily motivated by “ bigotry, racism, discrimination and the lack of compassion in general for our fellow man and woman.”
At one point you seem to see the irony “that those who support tolerance have become intolerant” but it turns out that you only seem to mean intolerant of the “hatred and resentment” that only “staunch” conservatives are assumed capable of. ( I note there is no such thing as a “staunch” or “hard-line” liberal.)
If you can find your way to quit the name-calling and the assumption of the worst motivations in people with whom you disagree, you can actually contribute toward the civil discourse you claim to desire and which this society so desperately needs.