Police Gang Party University: Act I

Note: This is an archived site, and virtually everything except for articles I direct people to is quite dated. Anyone tuning in from ABC, the UFW — everyone — should telephone me at 831-688-8038 (or email tosca.2010@yahoo.com) if you’re coming to this site cold without a specific link in mind. THIS ARTICLE IS DESIGNED EXCLUSIVELY FOR RESIDENTS OF (AND/OR WORKERS IN) SALINAS, CALIFORNIA.

Police Gang Party University: Act I (First draft, unedited, March 24, 2010)
Dedicated to the immiserated of Salinas, law enforcement officers of Salinas, gang members of Salinas, elected officials of Salinas et al. in that very needy, deserving realm… which I believe holds the key for “progress” nationwide.
by Oxz

I’m a former college professor… for over three decades. I’ve been a worldwide educator on all levels for about four decades. I’m capable of writing a better title than what I’ve provided for this article, but… there are many reasons why words cannot capture my solution to the challenges which face us all (in and outside of beleaguered Salinas). And so… I’ve simply grouped some words together here tentatively, feebly attempting to verbalize what I have in mind. [Admittedly, I'm also trying to pique initial interest with the odd blend of words.] By the way, I learned more about life from my stints as a NYC taxi driver (and while working at other blue collar gigs, which I did every year throughout my academic career) than I ever did from my tenure in academia. And it’s that experience which I’m drawing upon primarily here.

New York City officials announced last week that city homelessness went up 34 percent in a year. And advocates for the homeless say the city’s methodology under counts the homeless. It’s the same in virtually every major American city: homelessness is on the rise.

Recent media hoopla respecting health care reform notwithstanding, health care is NOT on the mend, decent, affordable coverage is NOT on the way. [Definitive documentation on this count will gladly be forwarded upon request.] One problem of course is that tens of millions of Americans are descending into a state of poverty that is foremost an assault on their health. Can any kind of health care reform keep up with the growing health care needs created by galloping poverty? Not even close. The poor in Salinas are slated to grow in numbers. Ditto for their personal health care crises whether or not they’re homeless. In fact, for the vast majority of people whether or not they’re poor.* [And so grow glitches in Mayor Donohue's glowing agenda for the city. Again, documention for all statements upon request.]

This does not bode well for law enforcement officers who are burdened with the impossible task of addressing gang violence. For, as everyone knows, what I’ve delineated above correlates positively with the Great Negative of gang dynamics. One could say the same thing about local professionals who deal with the victims of alcoholism and drug addiction, of course.

There is a great reliance nationwide on the private sector to re-employ Americans. Report after report, however, reflects the determination of business to keep labor ranks thin and cheap… if they can operate at all. Few new jobs, low wages, working poor, unemployed, homelessness… all that’s what we have to look forward to if some new paradigm for change is not embraced.

People in my quarter have something to offer on that count. A new paradigm for dealing with our collective problems, an unprecedented proposal with the imprimaturs of a host of high profile figures worldwide. This plan is not one of my half-baked ideas. It’s fully baked, and backed by many prestigious souls, such as Gustavo Esteva (Mexico), Henry Giroux (Canada), Devinder Sharma (India), and Marie Trigona (Argentina). [Additional names upon request.]

I just got off the phone with someone in Mayor Donohue’s office. I was asked what I had in mind ’cause the mayor is very busy… and needs to know some specifics… in order to decide whether or not to arrange for a rendezvous with me. The mayor’s so busy that he didn’t have the time to plow through the emails/articles I sent his way… delineating “what I had in mind.” I understand. I’m not being critical here.

Permit me to reiterate here how I responded, to repeat what I’ve already sent the mayor’s way.

Since the mayor has publicly declared that he wants to increase tourism in Salinas, and as the mayor has expressed a sincere interest in drawing green businesss — business in general — to the area… I submit that one of the first orders of business is to get the community to move in solidarity against the longstanding agenda of the mainstream media to portray Salinas as a HORROR SHOW. Really, the way in which the local television stations lead off virtually every night with some abomination centered in Salinas, you’d think the nightly news was titled The Salinas Horror Show, Part Whatever. The whole phenomenon clearly precludes anyone wanting to put down roots in the realm. Precludes serious consideration for even a short visit.

Even me, with all of my enthusiasm and motivation, I’m reluctant to set foot in the city. Who wants to die or get maimed? It’s as simple as that. That’s the operative image.

That suggestion of mine above, I figure, should be particularly attractive to the powers that be in Salinas ’cause there’s been lots of talk for quite awhile now… from a number of different quarters… about the importance of creating movement in solidarity within the community.

Whether your priority is dealing with gang violence, economic growth, community health, employment, whatever… proactive community solidarity must play an important part ‘cross the board. And what I’m recommending as a starting point requires no funding.

I’ve made it clear to a number of people that I have endless energy and time available to address the challenges in Salinas, and that it won’t cost the residents there a penny. What’s the catch? Well, it’s very simple. My children (who are doing quite well at present) won’t have a world to live in — a world worth living in — if our collective momentum continues as is. And the downsides of Salinas offer a challenge which — if met — may help us all to turn things around. [For those who don't see our momentum in that light, please request documentation.]

I see virtually nothing happening elsewhere. Nothing that will make a big enough difference in time. We do have deadlines. And so in a real sense I see Salinas as holding a key for us all, albeit a key which must be turned with a new twist. That’s where I come in. For I have lots of ideas like the one delineated above related to the local media. And they’re all grounded in a new paradigm for change.

Like I told someone at the mayor’s office a short while ago, though, what I have to offer cannot be made into a sound bite. I need to be able to sit down leisurely with people in a position of influence in Salinas… and have a dialogue at their earliest possible convenience. [I'm certainly in need of learning much more about Salinas from those on the front lines.] There is simply no substitute for eye-to-eye engagement.

The title of this article has great meaning for me, and it’s that that I hope to be able to elaborate on upon request… in person. That’s the Professor of Dramatic Art in me… dropping a little teaser… hopefully generating interest in Act II… as the curtain falls on Act I.

I can promise you unprecedented, healthy dramatic action in the real world, all else being equal.

Blessings in solidarity,
Ricardo Oxman
831-688-8038 at any hour
in the Vienna Woods of Aptos, California
P.S. I’m currently waiting to hear back from Mayor Donohue, Commander Bob Eggers, Brian Contreras, Anna Foglia and others. Warning: I may come off as a bit presumptuous in a number of ways, not the least of which is my refusal to move at an arthritic snail’s pace. Please forgive. I mean well. And I do hope to serve as a singular asset for Salinas. I just have no patience with old models for change which do not work. Little patience for those with no imagination, no sense of adventure. [Pause.] And it breaks my heart to see so many heartbeats spent on… what they’re being devoted to at present. For we can do much better easily coming from a different angle.