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Crime

Villaraigosa Paying a 'Living Wage' to Experienced Gang Bangers

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Fri, Jan 16, 2009 at 12:01 PM

By Daniel Heimpel

It's harder to get a job these days, but with a degree in Los Angeles gang-banging, you can apply to the city for a "living wage" of up to $30,000--with health insurance.

Thugs who claim to have reformed, like Marlo "Bow Wow" Jones, who was recently arrested  for jacking rapper Bizzy Bone, will be happy to hear that Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is paying far more this year than the $500 a month Bow Wow got from city taxpayers for his, ahem, gang experience under the failed L.A. Bridges program.

Villaraigosa's spokesman Matt Szabo says the mayor's huge, new, $24 million Gang Reduction and Youth Development project will pay former gang-bangers substantially higher wages so that "intervention work is what they could dedicate their life to and survive from."

LAPD will perform drug-screenings and

background checks of the new crop of former gang-bangers, and the

nonprofits who hire these guys must follow standards.

That's what City

Hall promised even as it funneled $1.5 million in taxpayer funds to

gang interventionist Hector "Big Weasel" Marroquin, who

surreptitiously kept working on the side as a violent, gun-running

thug.

Szabo says city supervisors will ensure that this latest attempt

doesn't become a mockery. Let's hope so. Until just a few days ago,

"Bow Wow" was also believed by City Hall types to have reformed.

And the now-imprisoned Marroquin was so contemptuous of City Hall's

naivete that he hilariously named his non-profit group "No Guns" and employed his now-imprisoned, violent, brute son, Hector Jr., on its

governing "board." (Junior is doing nine years for home-invasion robbery.)

And let's not forget city-paid gang expert Mario "Spider" Carona,

arrested in 2007 and later convicted for having a pound of

Meth under his shirt.

"Given the unique qualifications [means gang experience] required of

gang intervention workers, we cannot guarantee that there won't be any

mistakes made in the future," Szabo says. "But what we can guarantee is

that all measures will be taken to prevent incidences like these. And

if they do happen, they will be dealt with immediately."


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