Gangs Homeboy Industries Law Enforcement US Government

Andre Birotte Jr….Homeboys In ALA….and WLA Hiatus



WitnessLA and I will be on hiatus until next Monday, Jan. 4, in order that I may spend some much-needed time focusing on a personal writing project.

From time to time during the week, I will likely put up mini posts. And I’ll tweet whenvever the spirit moves. And if something truly unignorable happens, I’ll reappear. But mostly I’ll be hiding out.

(Feel free to keep up the conversation in the interim, though. )


It was announced late last week that Andre Birotte Jr.,
who for the last six years has served as the Los Angeles Police Department’s inspector general, has been tapped by President Obama to become the top-of-the-heap federal prosecutor in Los Angeles—AKA the new U.S. Attorney. This fact has had me cheering loudly all weekend.

(Okay, part of the cheering might have been a result of those Stoli and ginger beer drinks my niece-in-law was mixing on Christmas eve. But most of it was because of the news that Andre Birotte was, indeed, as many of us had hoped, the official U.S attorney nominee.)


Congressman Bobby Scott’s Youth Promise Act, is one of those rare species of legislation: A well written bill. More than that, it’s a well written bill having to do with gang violence reduction, which makes it about as usual as a verified Yeti sighting.

And it’s picking up steam. Over half the members of the U.S. House – 234 Congress members- have signed on as co-sponsors of Scott’s bill.

But, as the Virginia-Pilot reports, there are still naysayers who favor more of the kind of get-tough policies that have not proven to be effective in the past. (Read the article. The V-Pilot does a nice job.)


For the third year in a row, Homeboy Industries has sent some of its former homeboy staff to Pritchard, Alabama, to work with young gang members and wannabees in this poorest of communities.

The LA Times’ Katy Newton has produced a stunningly good multimedia package on the trip and some of the personalities.

It is really, really worth your time to watch.

Then, after you finish with the video, click on the essay written by Trayvon Earl Jeffers, a tall, gangly former homeboy with a smile as big as the world who was among the Homeboy group who originally went to Alabama.

Then click on the Homicide Report’s account of Trayvon’s murder.



Okay, one more important read I had to add. Joel Rubin and Scott Gold have the story.


  • The LAT slideshow about Homeboys in Prichard, Ala. calls the city a “village” and “rural.” Prichard is the largest suburb of Mobile, which I consider makes it neither a village nor rural. It mainly has urban problems. The town has been in decline for a couple of decades and has declared bankruptcy twice.

    One thing that might help the city and its residents is jobs and tax reveneus, which can come from new industry moving into the area.

    In a few months, ThyssenKrupp Steel will begin operations nearby with a $3.7 billion facility creating 2,700 jobs. Next, the Alabama Motorsports Park is supposed to be built within the Prichard city limits, providing jobs and tax revenues, despite bumps in the road that are being worked out.

    Finally and most importantly, L.A. based Northrup Grumman was awarded the new $40 billion Air Force KC-45 tanker contract and is planning to build a $600 million airplane factory in adjacent Mobile to construct the tanker and provide a significant number of jobs available to minorities, but thanks to politics and outright lies by Boeing and Democrats, the contract is being rebid with specifications more tailored to what Boeing has rather than what is the best plane. You might want to sign the petition to do what’s best and to help Prichard citizens get the jobs that they need and deserve with this.

    What Homeboys is doing in Prichard is terrific, and, I guess, what I’m saying about new industry is similar to the Homeboys’ motto, “Nothing stops a bullet like a job.”

  • Thanks, for the great info, Woody. I haven’t followed all the links, but I will when I take a break. And will check out the petition.

    (BTW, I wouldn’t blame the Dems solely for the Northrup Grunman/Boeing mess. Lotta repubs in on that too. My very sweet-natured, ultra-Repub stock-broker, vocally among them. Yet your info certainly gives a fresh perspective on the matter, in terms of the pressing needs a Northrup Grunman contract would fill. So again, thank you for that. )

  • WTF, why isn’t California involved in the civil war for the new Airforce tanker? California has many more un-employed aero-space employees than Alabama or the Northwest combined and Northrup already has empty facilities in California.

  • WTF: …why isn’t California involved in the civil war for the new Airforce tanker?

    Answer: Why California Is Like France

    BURLINGAME, Calif. — A friend of mine who is a successful venture capitalist shared a depressing observation over dinner recently: “California is like France,” he said. “I try not to hire here, and I certainly would not launch a company here. But the wine is good.” …”California is facing French-like entitlement systems that will only become more expensive,” says Mehta. He’s worried about ever increasing tax burdens….”

  • What a stupid article this is. Most European nations are doing better in their economies not to mention health care. Also if California is SO EVIL to business, then why do 51 Fortune 500 companies stay here like Chevron, HP, Apple, Disney, Intel, Wells Fargo, Cisco, Google, Yahoo, Visa to name a few and all you think we have is good wine HA. We have a high unemployment because of the Republicans. Don’t believe me, look who is governor.

  • Answer to budget problems in CA: DRILL HERE, DRILL NOW! Lease the drill sites, Tap the largest oil reserve in the lower 48 sitting off the coast of CA, and tax that oil as it comes out of the ground!
    Also greatly reduce the overly-generous pensions and benefits for state, city and county union workers.

  • Not to get too far afield, but to help you, Luis, California is experiencing a net negative migration. Businesses and people are moving out. It is one of the most business unfriendly states. You can deny the reality or blame one political party, but that doesn’t change the numbers that you face.

    The Ten Worst Tax Ideas of 2009

    4. California. It claims to be the fifth largest economy in the world but can’t pass a serious budget, and can’t govern itself. It is the poster child for dysfunctional state governments and fiscal crises everywhere.

    While a job may stop a bullet, the bullets are pulling ahead in California.

  • The undocumented workers of Mexico made the California economy the 5th largeet in the world. Que Viva Mexico !!

    But now The Robber Barons, Prison Industrial Complex and the Powers That Be, have ruined the economy of California.

  • The good thing about all of this is that snobbish, conservative white people will be fleeing the state soon…along with Mexicans who admire them.

  • Woody, we will stay in Cali. You have fun in Atlanta. I will be here next year and the years after that. California, Ronald Reagan, George Bush and Obama have been very good to latinos, especially messicans. Let us know when Disneyland closes, or all the studios shut down and Cali’s four major harbors close. I do not believe in your doomsday prediction for California.

  • NPR today did a bit on Cornelius Vanderbilt whose business dealings caused the term “robber baron” to be coined. This guy started in shipping then progressed to railroads. He was a notorious fist-fighter and not all that literate, but man, could the guy make money! At one time his holdings constituted 15% of the commerce in the country, and yes he was a gavacho.

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