I would like to respond to Dave Glode who expresses his concerns and views of the way things are in the city when it comes to youth issues (“What about the parents?” Letters to the Editor, June 23).
While his letter begins by questioning whether or not taxpayer money should ever be allocated for youth programs to begin with, he focuses his criticism on the Pico Youth & Family Center, so much so it makes me wonder if there are other issues at play in his mind due to some other covert hostility he may hold against the organization and the personalities there?
I will give him credit here for being fiscally conservative, but not for being socially progressive. I think that we can all agree that government should not be in the business of just throwing money at problems and that certain objectives and goals should be attached to grant monies that are intended to attain social results, in this example a depressed segment of a city that is deserving of all the help it can get to address the ills Mr. Glode articulates.
But as for the parents, my gut tells me that they are probably working two jobs, and that they get up early, stay out late working irregular hours for less wages than they really need to get by on. I think that the vast majority of these parents that Mr. Glode speaks of love their children no less than any one else loves theirs. I think they fear this violence we see around us that claims the lives we witness far too often. And I have to wonder how this angst manifests itself in their daily lives.
I know from personal experience that young Eddie Lopez’ family grieved like any other family would when he was shot down a few years ago. I know that when Officer Joe Analco and the other school resource officers dedicated themselves to our youth in the schools they made themselves available to our children in every way that we could have ever asked them to do, and now that Officer Joe has retired there are new SROs who are getting up every day and rededicating themselves to these families and their children. And I part company with Mr. Glode on his perception that these families go about fostering a sense of alienation between the children and the police as a rule and not the exception.
But asking about the parents is a legitimate question as I feel that these parents are worthy of our continued support because I think they must be absolutely terrified for their children and the need to protect them. After all, it was a father taking his daughter to school to buy her books who was shot and killed, and it was a grandmother who was shot and killed [collecting recyclables]. Even the father of the killer himself fell victim to the violence that we must rededicate ourselves to put a stop to in any way that it can be done.
And that doesn’t take just more money and one more social program or less, it takes every one in a community throwing in together from all corners of the city because there are more examples of how we are the same than there are of those that differentiate us from one another as Mr. Glode seems unable to discern.
And so it goes, the things that threaten one family in one part of a town have a potential to affect yet another family in another part of an 8.3-square-mile town.