This story was just posted today. In it, the root of the gang problem in Los Angeles is tied to needing "more education and better jobs" to solve it. Having spent the better part of the 90s and most of this decade in Los Angeles, on the frontlines investigating, I disagree.
The story documents how while crime in LA declined overall in 2006, violent gang-related crime increased 14%. The gangs have residents in the area living in fear. Fear of retaliation, fear of being caught in a crossfire. The root of the problem is not lack of education or jobs. Its genesis is in an ill-advised and unconstitutional little piece of public policy called Special Order 40. The link takes you to the ACLU's position on, and explantion of this little slice of idiocy. Note: If the ACLU approves of it, there is a 99.96% chance that it's bad for America. This is not one of thos .04% cases, either.
In my work fighting drug trafficking and gangs in Southern California and beyond, the majority of those involved were either here illegally or were first-generation children of illegal immigrants or so-called "anchor babies." They have no vested interest in America as a nation, but rather a vested interest in their own selfish pursuits. Their parents are not citizens of America, although they may live here. They have not integrated into the so-called "fabric of society" and therefore have taken little or no interest in integrating their children. It is no wonder then, that these "ni de aqui, ni de alli" (not from here, nor from there) children have no problem engaging in crimes that further spiral urban, and now suburban, areas into chaos and something mildly resembling Chechnya circa 1995.
Rescind Special Order 40 and you've taken the first step to ridding Los Angeles of this internal cancer. Lest we remember, "illegal" equals "against the law" whether you're dealing drugs or working in construction. There's a right and wrong way to do things. Looking the other way while California continues to spiral out of control is definitely the latter.