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The Mayor's Sleight-of-Hand on Crime

The community meeting tonight at Ivanhoe School in Silver Lake regarding the recent muggings is shaping into an exemplar of the Mayor's deteriorating coalition of eastside and westside progressives.

While many are complaining that the Mayor is not running for re-election at all, in truth he is running as a law and order candidate. His re-election site indicates that law and order is the centerpiece of his administration. An excerpt:

Protecting the public

Mayor Villaraigosa has made improving public safety in Los Angeles a centerpiece of his administration. His work has put the city on the leading edge of law enforcement worldwide, using state-of-the-art technologies and unprecedented organizational cooperation to drastically reduce gang-related crime and protect Los Angeles from potential terrorist threats. Meanwhile, the Mayor continues to ensure that all law enforcement and public agencies reflect the highest commitment to diversity, civil liberties, and the trust of the community. A few concrete examples:

  • Crime is down 23 percent under Mayor Villaraigosa’s leadership, the lowest since 1956.
  • Even in tough economic times, Mayor Villaraigosa has kept his promise to hire a thousand police officers and is on pace to meet that goal by 2010.
  • Villaraigosa created LA’s first comprehensive anti-gang strategy, appointed a citywide Gang Czar, targeted tough enforcement against the city’s eleven most violent gangs and expanded prevention programs for at-risk youth. Gang crime has dropped by ten percent and gang homicides are down by 32 percent.
  • Mayor Villaraigosa led the passage of tough new laws to curb gang and gun violence, including a ban on fifty-caliber ammunition, increased licensing requirements for gun dealers and ordinances, increased licensing requirements for gun deals, and ordinance providing for evictions for people possessing illegal weapons and for confiscation of vehicles used in gang crimes.

This looks very different from the track record eastsiders and empowerment zone habitues know. The nine apparent gang-related attacks in Silver Lake over the past two weeks, the sharp increase in organized crime, the Jamiel Shaw Jr. cause celebre, the unsolved Forest Lawn murder of 1/1/08, the ambushing of a Hollenbeck officer last week, the precipitous decline in home valuations, the failure of the Mayor to support the Hahn gang ballot measure with any degree of political courage, and the accelerated game of whackamole gangs have learned to play with the City, hopping across city boundaries when driven out of injunction zones, have all pointed to sleight-of-hand statistical manipulation more than real public safety.

With under a month left before the election, other candidates in the race would do well to challenge the Mayor's track record, rather than the more abstruse issue of affordable housing.