For our first LA JUSTICE REPORT project, we’ll be turning a spotlight on LA’s gang prevention and intervention programs.
(YOU CAN DONATE TO THIS PROJECT HERE)
In this season of budget meltdown and city layoffs, the City of Los Angeles has more than $25 million allocated for gang violence prevention and intervention—all of which comes directly out of the city’s general fund.
At a meeting of the City Council Tuesday, the $$ amount will, once again, be discussed, but little will be said about the details of how those multi-millions are spent.
We know that LA has a gang problem that still blows unbearable holes in our communities, so gang intervention and prevention is essential—-AND we know our city is in a state of fiscal crisis. As a consequence, we believe it is time that we found out exactly what we are getting for that $25 million.
Are the various gang prevention and intervention programs that are receiving up to $1.5 million each effective or not? What kind of real life results have those funds produced?
LA has had a past of giving big bucks to pet gang programs, many of which proved spectacularly ineffective. Thus when all of the city’s gang $$ were consolidated under the banner of the mayor’s office, Mayor Villaraigosa promised transparency and accountability about money spent in relation to on-the-ground outcomes. But two years later, we know almost nothing about who decided how those dollars were doled out, or what practical difference our tax dollars have made in the communities most affected by gang violence.
The FOLLOW THE GANG MONEY series will rigorously investigate the use of LA’s gang money—the good, the bad, and the hidden issues—and bring back a comprehensive report.
Matt is a veteran LA-based journalist and editor who has been a staff writer with the LA Weekly and senior editor of the LA City Beat. He is currently a contributing editor to the Los Angeles Times Magazine, editor for Fishbowl LA, and he writes for several other outlets both print and online.
Matt has been honored by the Association for Alternative Newsweeklies and by the Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE) for his story “Navahoax.” His story “Children of the Revolutionary” was honored by the The LA Press Club and First Amendment Funding Inc. He won an Overseas Press Club for reporting he did on the West Bank. Plus Matt is a recipient of a 2007 Village Voice Media Fellowship.
In short, he’s an excellent reporter AND a good writer. (And a good guy. That’s important to add.)
Matt has also asked me to inform you that when he’s not writing, he wanders, usually by foot.