Ukiah Daily Journal from Ukiah, California on May 6, 1993 · Page 7
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Ukiah Daily Journal from Ukiah, California · Page 7

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Ukiah, California
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Thursday, May 6, 1993
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Page 7
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-THE UKIAH DAILY JOURNAL- THURSDAY, MAY 6, 1993 — 7 Vallejo gangs won't give up war for power By GENE SILVERMAN of th« Vallejo Times Herald VALLEJO — A 19-year-old Vallejo High School student sat quietly, surrounded by his comrades. The bullet wound on the left side of his head showed white against his dark hair. The wound had been grave. Everyone considered him lucky to be alive. Rafael Aguilar had been shot Feb. 10 by a rival gang. ' "They were after somebody else, but he wasn't there, so they shot mis one," said Solano County probation officer Juanita Shoopman. Retaliation seemed inevitable. Dominic Cuevas, pastor of Victory Outreach, gathered 20 members of the XTV gang recently and asked them: "What are you willing to do to stop this violence?" Rafael Aguilar is an XTV member. It is acknowledged that those who shot him are members of the BBH (Brown Brotherhood), another Hispanic gang. The day before that gathering, Cuevas had invited the BBH to a meeting. Only four members showed up, sat silent for two hours, then professed a grudging willingness to let bygones be bygones. Solano County probation officer Dan Zurita was present during both meetings. The gang community, he said, is "small enough for discourse. You can't do something like this in L.A." But at the later meeting, none of the XIV gang members spoke. Heads were lowered, eyes averted. "We're just killing ourselves," (he pastor pleaded. "Generations have been fighting here. Now the older ones are calling the shots and you younger ones are doing the dirty work," said Cuevas. The age of the gang members on both sides ranged from 14 to 19. "The whites laugh at us, Latinos killing each other," Cuevas said. Still silence. "How do you feel, walking down the street, always dodging bullets?" Cuevas asked. One gang member burst out, "I hate it." He paused. "I do and I don't." "I like it. It keeps you on your toes. There's an adrenalin rush," said another ' . "You have good intentions; you're a pastor. But you can't bring us together," said one girl. "They did too much stuff. They come up to you and say 'Sur,'" said another girl. "Sur," the Spanish word for "south," stands loosely for Southern California. Some BBH members are Sure- nos, a word for those from Southern California. Their color is blue, and they "fly" headbands of this color. The XIV are under the umbrella of the more numerous Nortenos, those "claiming the north," or Northern California. The color of their "rags" is red. Few remember the reason for the colors or names, according to Jaime Magallanes. A former gang member brought into the Christian fold by Cuevas, Magallanes pointed to his neck. "I've got XIV State court hears attack on 1988 anti-gang law SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Several state Supreme Court justices are responding sharply to an attack on an anti-gang law that allows prosecution of parents who fail to exercise "reasonable control" over their children. American Civil Liberties Union lawyer Carol Sobel argued that the 1988 law set no clear standards for parents or prosecutors and was an unneeded addition to a century-old law making it a crime to contribute $ the delinquency of a minor. 4 Referring to Los Angeles youths B were under peer pressure to angs, Sobel asked, "What is a t obliged to do (to avoid pro- $ecution) short of moving away?" •? But most of the seven justices on Wednesday appeared skeptical of Her arguments, particularly Justice Armand Arabian, who said the law clarified parents' duties. I "I guess that means a hard (ftioice, seeing your child wearing dolors and getting ready to rumble dn a Friday night, and saying, 'Wait a minute, Johnny ...' " Arabian iaid. "It's taking a societal problem and putting it back to its genesis, which is the parents." When Sobel said there was no evidence on the record that parents were the primary cause of juvenile crime, Justice Ronald George accused her of trying to second- guess the Legislature. Chief Justice Malcolm Lucas said previous laws cited by Sobel were "not all (hat successful in quelling or dampening gang activity." Teen leaps language gap to become school's hero J.L. SouM-Vtllejo Times-Henld ipectal to the Daily Journal PALM SPRINGS (AP) — For hometown hero Gerry Gonzalez, it's already been a busy senior year at Palm Springs High School. Gonzalez, 18, has composed materials to introduce new students to campus, tutored fellow students, earned the quarterback spot on the football team and captained the track team. He was also king of the prom. And just eight years ago when he and his family arrived from Mexico, Gonzalez didn't even speak English. "It makes high school that much more fun. I'm encouraging my brother (Bill) to get involved as much as he can because I didn't get this involved until this year and I regret it," Gonzalez said. School officials heap praise on the teen-ager. "He's a super, super individual," Principal Richard Williams said, comparing Gonzalez's skill at throwing passes to his academic talents. "He's a wonderful role model Jaime Magallanes, left, a former member of the XIV gang, discusses past gang affiliations In the office of Pastor Domic Cuevas In Vallejo. Cuevas Is trying to bring gang members together to stop violence. tattooed here, where I couldn't even hide it; that's how loyal I was," he told the group. "What would you do if you had to kill your brother?" Cuevas challenged the XIV group. "Or your best friend, someone you grew up with?" "A lot of you don't have a future," implored Cuevas, trying vainly to reach them. "All you see is your neighborhood. There is life, but you're not going very far." A gang member whose face betrayed a certain impatience told Cuevas, "Maybe it would work for a little while, but... " "It won't work, being friends with them," said another. "It ain't going to work." "Why don't we try? Can you handle it?" begged Cuevas. The reply came immediately and unanimously: No. Cuevas did not want to hear it. He wanted them back on track. "God is love. Nobody is going to get the last bullet. We're trying to bring you together to talk. What would work?" "Move them out of Vallejo," .came the suggestion, causing the .first laugh -of the afternoon....--.. • "What about challenging them to a baseball game?" said Cuevas desperately, causing the final laugh of the day. Cuevas wanted to know why the XTV couldn't invite the BBH to talk. This produced nothing but incredulous silence. One girl tried to explain. Gently, she told Cuevas, "I don't have time to go knock on somebody's door, what if he has a bottle and breaks it and stabs me?" "They already went too far. There isn't going to be peace," said a boy. Former gang members, now in Cuevas' flock, spoke fervently, painting pictures of prison horror, the consequences of continued violent rivalry. They had spoken this way the day before for the BBH. "What if they put something in you?" one former member said. referring to a bullet or a knife. "It they do, you'll scream like a girl. Guaranteed." "Your home boys ain't going to do your time for you. You're inside; they snitch on you," said Magallanes. "What do you guys see in your future? All I got out of it was a few tattoos, a record sheed. Cops pull me over. I got respect from junkies and alcoholics. Now it's drive-bys. It could be your mom who gets shot, your little brother. The little one. Drop your rags and let the pride go," Magallanes begged them. Still shrugging, still unconvinced, the XIV agreed to send four members into a face-to-face meeting with four BBH on Friday afternoon. "Some BBH are willing, they're taking it serious. And if you don't do anything about it, somebody is going to get taken out," said Diego Garcia, another of Cuevas' former gang-member converts. "So let those four get out of BBH," said one guy, clearly in jest "I still have high hopes," said Vallejo reserve police officer Jerry Bull, assigned to Youth Services, who sat in on the meetings. Later, the next day's meeting was planned, with girls eliminated from the discussion. As Shoopman told them, the provoked the boys into stubborness. The next day, Friday, the girls were present at church, but not upstairs in the meeting. Three BBH showed up with their leader, a man older than they, a man working successfully in his family's business. The meeting did not begin auspiciously. Three XTV members sat at the opposite side of the table, leaderless. Their gang is in a transition period. "We don't need a leader, nobody telling us what to do," one said. Dismissing prison as a problem, one gang member emphasized his loyalty to XIV: "My father was a Norteno. It's in my heart — until someone destroys me," he said, adding that he felt violated by the BBH. "Not all of us claim Sur," the BBH leader pointed out, forcing the rival group to consider that at one time the BBH was unallied with the Southern California faction, and some members still say they remain apart. "We should start a new clica (subgroup). We're all Mexicans," said an XIV. This was the first ray of hope to enter the proceedings and Magallanes jumped on it. "The focus is Vallejo," he said. "We should go to a park and have a big barbeque," said an XTV. Shoopman's eyes brightened. "We come together as Latinos!" she said happily. This was her fondest hope. "Vallejo's not that big. It's just one town and we're all Mexicans," Magallanes said. "Playing baseball got my family together," said the BBH leader. The suggestion that met with hilarity the day before suddenly became a serious possibility. The XTV had some reservations. "It's kind of hard for us becuase they shot Bell," siad an XIV, referring to Aguilar by his "clica" name. "But he was willing to let it go," the BBH leader reminded them. He went on quietly: "I don't hang out in the street no more, but I have a pretty good voice. If we can help each other out, that's how it should be." Distributed by The Associated Press THANKS, MOM. For th» *4pn r*«rot you, call 9*» Styling Salon Hours; e«btunmt 20% OFF Senior Citizens FuD Bar»Food to Go • Open 7 days 463-1330 1631 S. State St. for the (Hispanic) students, but he fits into every other group as well," counselor Sue Krenwinkel said The turning point for Gonzalez came in the summer of 1990 when he helped write a manual for teachers about communicating with Spanish-speaking parents. "I really started to enjoy school more after doing the pamphlet," Gonzalez said. "I found out I could help in the (English as a second language) classes, get people introduced to the language and the school." Gonzalez is now considering what colleRC to attend. He's been accepted at Stanford University, among other schools, but has won a $5,000 ROTC scholarship to study aeronautical engineering and is considering spending a year at the Air Force Academy Preparatory School. "I want to see if it's right for me," Gonzalez said. "It's something that I'd like to do, to serve my country." COUPON GOOD AT PARTICIPATING CIRCLE K Stores COUPON WOtTH $1.00 OK MOVIE KINTAL Thfc coupon Is worth $1.00 off the regular price ofanymovie renting for H.OO or more. Does not include sates tax. 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