Tuesday’s column

The lack of street lights along this stretch of Peck Road stands out.
The graffiti on the sidewalk is fresher than the coat of paint on the apartment building in the 2500 block where Sammantha Salas, 16, was shot to death Saturday night.
Inside the 47-unit building, Salas father recalled the short life of his daughter, a straight-A student and Dodgers fan, who loved to draw and spend time with her family.
Tears in his eyes, Samuel Salas recalled the endless wait for paramedics and police as he fell to the sidewalk and held Sammantha as she drew her last breath.
My daughter didnt deserve this, he told reporter Molly R. Okeon.
An unidentified friend of Salas who was also shot remained in a coma Monday at an undisclosed hospital.
Both Salas and her friend were the latest victims in a gang war thats taking on racial overtones, police say.
Salas, a Latina, was targeted by two black men or teens. At least one detective told Okeon that the killing was payback for the killing of Sanders Pete Rollins, 64, a black man who was killed yards from the front door of his home on Sherman Avenue. The suspects in that case were described as Latinos.
While Monrovia and nearby Duarte are experiencing the latest manifestation of a racially motivated gang war, its been going on in California for some time.
Doo Kim, who has worked at a dairy just down the street for 23 years, said hes heard gunfire in the neighborhood before. But never like the machine guns that cut through the still night air Saturday.
Blam, blam, blam, blam, Kim said. I had a customer who was so scared he got out of his car and we ducked down behind the counter until the police came.
In his book The Mexican Mafia, author Tony Rafael said that much of the recent violence is an extension of whats occurring in Californias prison system. And he claims it has been under-reported.
Civilian casualties like Salas or Rollins are nothing more than collateral damage to the shot-callers in Pelican Bay and San Quentin, according to Rafael.
While police have agreed with that assessment, Monrovia Mayor Rob Hammond wasnt ready to blame racial violence for the killings.
That may be an oversimplification, he said.
He did agree that diligent police work in Monrovia and the county area just south of the city will be needed to stop the violence.
There is not a good neighborhood for this to happen, Hammond said Monday. It affects us all.
In the run-up to Feb. 5, presidential candidates from both parties will be touring the Golden State in search of delegates who will support them at their respective conventions.
Some will likely stand under statuesque palm trees near beaches and talk about the effects of global warming. Others will probably visit celebrity villas in Bel Air or Malibu to collect campaign cash and discuss the need for health care reform.
Some might stand in the shadows of snow-capped mountains of Californias inland and talk about the mortgage crisis.
Very few if any will come to this pock-marked stretch of no mans land, where telephone poles outnumber the palm trees and innocent teenagers get gunned down on a rainy night.
Welcome to the real California.
There are no endless summers here, just a girl named Sammantha who will be 16 forever.


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  • Anonymous

    Wow, I can’t believe that a coma is considered stable condition.

  • Anonymous

    Wow, I am shocked, I am sad and scared. I would rally around any politician who cares enough to come.

  • Local Boy

    Going to give me credit for the Tony Rafael info Frank?

    Local Boy

  • James Castro

    What is wrong with The U.S. goverment?.2 sixteen year old girls can’t even walk to a dairy without being gunned down by these scumbags.The police should take all these weapons away from this filth.Raid and keep raiding.You see known gang members stop them.Go through their house take those weapons.All of us are sitting ducks.Take the weapons away from this garbage and secure the borders so no new weapons can come in.One day this goverment will wise up.In the meantime how many Samantha’s have to die. R.I.P Samantha you were too good for this world.

  • Victor

    You tell em.I agree.Don’t matter what race.What matters is the guns.Take them away.The N.R.A is paying off Congress and your right,one day they will finally realize that no one.Black,brown,white,etc.Should be afraid of being shot.All of us are at risk man.Even in A Mc Donalds some nut can blow us away.

  • frazgo

    James, the constitution protects us from illegal search and seizure. If you have specific information on a gang banger call it in to LA Sheriff who is the police office with jurisdiction where Samantha was shot. Call MPD so they are aware too. If the banger is on probation it may be enough to get a warrant. Until then the police as a matter of law can’t just walk in and take things away from them. The bad guys know it which makes our problems worse.

    As bad as this is I don’t ever want to be at the point where any division of the govt can simply walk in and raid.

    I’ve been involved in Neighborhood watch before, citizens as eyes and ears for the police can do amazing things in cleaning up crime. I don’t know if you are within Monrovia city limits or not but I’d anyone to contact the proper police agency to set up a neighborhood watch and get involved.

    As much as I may disagree with some of the stuff planned within Monrovia city limits I will give Hammond credit for standing up and asking the community to help. IT is our community and we owe it to ourselves to be involved and help the police within our borders.

    I don’t like the idea of my tax dollars going outside the city limit for county issues but that is something we have to do as well to keep us within safe. Monrovia, Duarte and Arcadia banded with LA Sheriff this summer to try and get some of that county area under control. It would appear it has not been enough, but at least it is better than nothing. It won’t work unless the folks living in those areas stand up and help. It is unrealistic to think the police can do it alone when it is a community issue.

    And I’d listen closely to Local Boy, he’s got way more insights and personal experience as to what is going on. His delivery may sound harsh but it is because he cares and is frustrated as we all are that the right resources aren’t in there dealing with the big picture issues. Getting a few bangers off the street is only a short term solution, the problem is they learn new “techniques” and contacts in prison that makes it worse for all of us when they get out.

    I totally agree we are sitting ducks, but its that way because we as a community have allowed it to happen believing we were safe and snug away from the problems in the area.

  • ET

    I’m sick of all of the people who keep talking about not wanting to spend city money on county issues. What is this, Tombstone? I don’t live in the “unincorporated area” of Monrovia, but I still consider it Monrovia. The people that live there were sold Monrovia. It wasn’t billed as “Well, this is the unincorporated area of Monrovia, which is county and is outside of the Monrovia borders.” Trust me, I know people who live there. STOP TALKING LIKE THAT! It’s not helping the problem, and every time you bring it up you sound like one of our politicians who want to continue to pretend there isn’t a gang problem in “Monrovia.”

    LASD’s hands are just as tied as MPD’s. They know who the gang members are, but you can’t bust someone for being a gang member. They have to commit a crime. Just like the people who get restraining orders and are still murdered by lunatics who stalk them. We pay a heavy price for “freedom.”

  • ET..I won’t stop saying it until people get it.

    I have to laugh, I sound like one of the policitians? I am so critical of the silence and “no gangs posture” it isn’t even funny. I am so critical of our city government if you took the time to see all I have written you would see how laughable and uninformed that comment is. I am very passionate about Monrovia and what we need to do and fix it. I intend to continue raising issues and holding them accountable for preserving the community. Were you at the last city council meeting speaking out? I was and did.

    However,no matter how you want to spin it, it is county jurisdiction and we need to put the pressure on them to fix and support where needed. I have never said what happens outside our borders doesn’t affect us, it affects us drastically BUT we need to get those whose jurisdiction it is to FIX and we contribute as needed to make it happen to make us better.

    The gang warfare is all over LA and we need to work on getting all fixed. I raise the issue on unincorporated as Monrovia doesn’t have the jurisdiction to fix and we need to force those who it does belong to, to do their job. Support them as needed, even take the lead like MAPS, but in the end it is the county and we can do so much.

    Our resources are stretched and can’t afford to take on the county responsibilities. They need to be held accountable.

    Sorry for the redundancy but I see this as bigger than a Monrovia issue and we need to get the right authorities involved.

  • Just Worried

    I said it yesterday and I will say it again today, they need on evey street the same lighting that is up and down uptown Myrtle ave. It is so bright up thier now it looks like daylight. Why can’t they put those types of lights on every street in our city?

  • Berta

    And what about having cameras as well….

    Frazqo, however large this picture … without a doubt…any solution has to have a starting point, one piece at a time.

    Monrovia appears to be in a crisis of killings and retaliations. You start at the basic level of concern, where you LIVE. You do what you can, on one level and then move to the next. Just possibly an example can be set in the community of Monrovia and its surroundings; just maybe involvement & concern can become contagious .

    Reminds me of when illness strikes a household. We’re fine when all is well and life is good. We dont’ always recognize how fortunate we are until we’re kicked in the ass…We’re being KICKED friends…

  • frazgo

    Berta, I don’t disagree with you, we need to get the bigger agencies involved that have the juridiction outside our city limits to get the greated impact. Outside our city limits there is little we have authority over and that is the point everyone needs to understand.

    Getting Antonovich or anyone who will listen is what we need in the county area with authority to get it fixed. It must be multiagency or or efforts won’t yield the results we need.

    Gauls me that kids are dying and a lot of it is outside our immediate control. Gauls me more that what we can control isn’t enough so we wind up having to go outside and convince them it is a problem.

  • Anonymous

    People keep saying outside of our city limits. They obviously don’t have children that attend our public schools, because believe me my children’s friends that live near Plymouth, attend Plymouth or Santa Fe or the high school feel just the same pride wearing MHS football uniforms. Just as another poster said, they weren’t sold a house or rent an apt on one side of a wall and we are on the other. That was Berlin not Monrovia. Take care of our kids, take care of our streets. And bravo if you went and sat in on the city council meeting, unfortunatly, many of us dual working families either have work or children to raise as our spouse works. Unless they offer childcare and we know they won’t parents have to make that choice. Since my children are welcome at PTA meetings and school meetings, I can addresss my concerns there.

  • ET

    I’m glad you speak out frazgo, however, your postings sound the same as what I am getting from the city manager. Blah, blah..the unincorporated area is draining our city of their resources. Wow! Tell that to the people who live there and call LASD about drug dealers who have loud parties until all hours of the night and don’t get any response. It’s not their fault some one did a terrible job of deciding what would be Monrovia, Arcadia and county. One block is Monrovia, the next Arcadia, the next the county and then back to Monrovia. We all know LASD should “do their job” but what happens to these people if they don’t? Too bad, nobody cares as long as we don’t spend Monrovia money on it? Do you have kids? A heart? According to what the MPD told my friend last night the street part of Peck Rd. is MPD but the sidewalk is LASD. Unbelievable don’t you think? So do you still think it’s a county issue?

    And no, I don’t attend City Council meetings. I do watch them on TV until I’m so bored to tears with the legal babble that I turn it off. The last one was fabulous. The mayor got told off, answered the next couple of questions then took a 5 minute break that lasted for about 30 mins. Unless there were 100 people there telling them to stop building and to keep the Gold Line out or whatever there won’t be any change. There is no way that many people in this city would show up at a city council meeting. It seems like the only people who actually vote or care in Monrovia are the friends of the current politicians and a few of us “alarmists.” Besides it doesn’t matter. Tom Adams was basically given his position even though he didn’t get the next majority of votes. So it looks like it doesn’t matter who votes or goes to city council meetings, does it?

    How would you know whether I am “uninformed?” Do you know me? I was not personally attacking you but I would have a lot more respect for your opinion if you would stop continually reminding people that “they are not us.” Come down to the other end of town. Step back and think. You really do sound like Mr. Ochoa on this topic, sorry.