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Celeste Fremon

Book Uproar at Santee High

WHEN IT OPENED IN 2005, South Los Angeles’ long-anticipated Santee Education Complex was billed as a new model for providing a great education to high school students from lower-income communities. The gleaming complex, built on the site of the old Santee Bakery, was the special baby of former Los Angeles......

Closing Martin Luther King Hospital

ON MONDAY, AUGUST 13, the Los Angeles County supervisors held a special four-hour board meeting to discuss the closing of Martin Luther King Jr.–Harbor Hospital. Among the subjects on the table for discussion were the reasons why the hospital failed so miserably, whether it will ever reopen, and what the......

DEA's Scarlet Letter

THE DEA AND THE CITY OF LOS ANGELES are at war over medical marijuana. On one side of the fight is the Drug Enforcement Administration, which seems to be doing all within its power to shut down the 180 or so medical-marijuana collectives (as dispensaries are called) in Los Angeles......

Cliffhanger at MLK

WHEN 14-YEAR-OLD YESENIA PONCE wished her dad Happy Father’s Day last Sunday, she could think only about how she might have lost him forever. “Ever since I was a little girl,” she says, “I’ve dreamed of dancing the first dance with my dad at my quinceañera [coming-of-age party]. But when......

Escaping With His Life

Last week, news broke that on May 8, a 43-year-old woman was left writhing in pain on the emergency-room lobby floor of Martin Luther King Jr.–Harbor hospital and, despite pleas by her boyfriend, did not get treatment. The woman died, but MLK-Harbor officials insist the incident was an isolated mistake......

Clearing the Case

{mosimage}On a July morning in 2005, 19-year-old Christian Gonzalez, known on the street as Youngster, sat in his green Bronco in the alley behind Homeboy Industries, the Eastside gang-intervention program founded by Father Greg Boyle. A troubled kid and admitted gang member, Gonzalez was also a likable prankster, and while......
Photo by Orly Olivier

Prime-Time Crime Fighter

Boston-bred William Bratton was appointed L.A.’s 54th police chief in October 2002 and — for the most part — has shaken up the behemoth institution for the better. In the past, LAPD chiefs had a horrid habit of surrounding themselves with rubber-stamp-wielding command staff. Instead, Bratton packed Parker Center with......

Streets of Intervention

BLINKY RODRIGUEZ IS A FORMER WORLD-CHAMPION kickboxer turned gang-intervention specialist. His main area of specialty is the San Fernando Valley, home, according to law enforcement, to 81 active gangs. Rodriguez has worked with kids since his kickboxing days in the ’70s. But, after his 16-year-old son, Sonny, was killed in......

Running Man

Luis J. RodriGuez is a celebrateDPOET, novelist, nonfiction writer and children’s book author. But it’s his classic memoir of gang life, Always Running, that has made him a Los Angeles icon. Always Running has been a near-constant presence on the American Library Association’s 100-most-banned-and-challenged books list. In California it’s been......

Healing Wounds

AQEELA SHERRILLS IS AN ACTIVE PROPONENT of forgiveness. The charismatic head of the Watts-based Community Self-Determination Institute (CSDI), Sherrills has dedicated much of his adult life to helping gang members change theirs. But in January 2004, he had his philosophy directly tested when his son, Terrell, an 18-year-old freshman at......
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