Social Justice Shorts

Social Justice Shorts (Very Short)



In a 6-1 vote, the LAUSD board voted Tuesday for a plan that could conceivably turn over the oversight and running of 250 campuses — most prominently 50 of the new multimillion-dollar facilities to be completed in the next three years—to charter groups and other outside operators. It is estimated that as many as 3000 parents showed up outside LAUSD’s Beaudry Street headquarters to lobby, plead, chant and cheer for (and some against) the vote.

One of the parent advocacy groups, Families That Can,collected in excess of 2,500 signatures on a petition in favoring of the resolution, which they presented to the LAUSD board before the vote.

Howard Blume and Jason Song have the LA Times story.

But Howard Blume’s blog post about the afternoon, to be found here, is the probably the most fun to read. ( I’d have been there had I not been teaching.)



While the next bail hearing for respected—and indicted—gang interventionist, Alex Sanchez, is not scheduled until October, there is more commentary on this possible innocence or guilt.

NPR’s Mandalit del Barco, who has interviewed Sanchez in the past, had a well-balanced story on the case on Tuesday.

And then there is author/activist Tom Diaz, who has a much darker point of view of the case, that pretty much solely mirrors the point of view of the prosecution. Balanced, it ain’t. But it’s worth a read too.

(Interestingly, Diaz has managed to get hold of a copy of a photo that has been mentioned in court as being part of the prosecution’s case against Sanchez. But it’s an item to which no other journalist, to my knowledge, has gotten access.)


It was announced yesterday that former LAPD Deputy Chief Michael Berkow, who left Los Angeles three years ago to become the Chief the Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police Department, has just resigned his Savannah post become the Chief Operating Officer of Altegrity Inc—the “the global screening and security solutions provider” that has lured our own Bill Bratton to become its CEO, come October.

While Chief Bratton will be based in New York, Berkow will be based in Los Angeles.

Both men, it seems, were recruited by former LAPD federal monitor and current Altegrity CEO, Michael Cherkasky.

Berkow told a local Savannah TV station that he was approached about this position in April.

That April date has set a lot of LAPD watchers to talking—-as it suggests that Bratton too was likely recruited in April.

Photo of school choice rally by Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times


  • Tom Diaz is a nice guy who seems to be very understanding of Alex Sanchez’s supporters.

    “Those who support defendant cannot be faulted for doing so with the fervor they have shown; defendant has operated in support of Mara Salvatrucha all along, without their knowledge, while accepting their support. This makes him the worst possible danger to the community — a person in a position of trust who has abused that trust, and whose loyalty to MS-13 will assure that he continues to do so.”

  • Let’s not forget that the evidence presented at a bail hearing is very different from evidence at a trial. Judging by the reports from Tom Diaz of the statements made by Alex in the taped phone calls, as well as the context of those statements, the Feds have sufficient evidence to satisfy the judge that the bail set in Alex’s case is correct.

    That does not mean that Alex is guilty. There may be an innocent explanation for Alex’s statements and ultimately a jury will hear that explanation and make a decision.

    Until that happens, Alex will most likely remain in jail. Tom’s comment at the end of his article, to the effect that the time to make a deal is ending ignores one important fact. Alex will not make a deal because he will not “rat out” members of the gang. Whatever Alex is or is not, he cannot do that. It’s a code that even former members adhere to. The only deal Alex can make is to plead guilty without implicating anyone else. That won’t earn him much of a break in a sentence for murder.

    All in all, things do not look good for Alex, and they don’t look good for the rest of the former gang members who try to get others out of gangs. Hector Maroquin was the first to cast doubt on whether a former gang member is the right type of person to lead a program offering a way out of gangs. If Alex pleads or is convicted, it will be another damaging blow to other anti-gang programs run by former gang members. It will also be devastating to the many people who believe in Alex.

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