L.A. to axe successful gang prevention program but saves Hollywood sign

Marc Cooper and LA Times columnist Tim Rutten ponder the myopic idiocy of Los Angles axing all funding for the highly successful gang prevention program Homeboy Industries but trumpeting how it will never close an animal shelter.

Apparently the city values the lives of stray kittens above that of potential gang members. (And I say that as one who does cat fostering.)

It’s not just about valuing a tourist sign or a museum over the lives of “our kids.” And it’s not just about misplaced priorities of the city itself, which is awash in red ink. Our city also brims with legions of filthy rich narcissists who are always willing to associate their name and their money with whatever cause du jour, except the very unsexy one of getting local poor kids out of gangs.

The tumult of Darfur is comfortably distant. Tibet has a comforting aura of deep spirituality. But working with gang members in south Los Angeles and east LA? That’s just a little bit too real.

I suspect that Rutten’s column and the public efforts of former Mayor Dick Riordan will now shame enough of these rich bastards into keeping Homeboy alive.

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