WatchSonoma Watch

Santa Rosa outlines new plan to fight gang violence


Santa Rosa on Wednesday released its new four-year plan for tackling gang violence.

The revamped strategic plan of the Mayor’s Gang Prevention Task Force includes two new goals.

One is to focus on regional gang efforts by helping neighboring communities learn from and replicate Santa Rosa’s efforts.

Ernesto Olivares.

The other goal involves placing a greater emphasis on helping youth offenders steer clear of gang life after they are released from detention.

“Are we ready, when they come back, to make sure they have the resources and support systems in place to be successful when they’re ready to turn their lives around?” asked Mayor Ernesto Olivares at a press conference at Santa Rosa Plaza.

The plan incorporates several elements from Sonoma County’s efforts to deal with the additional 400 offenders it predicts it will be responsible for as a result of state prison realignment.

These include establishment of a day reporting center to keep tabs on offenders while helping them get training, education and job assistance.

The plan was released to coincide with the city’s fourth annual Gang Prevention Awareness Week and to highlight Santa Rosa’s hosting of the annual conference of the California Cities Gang Prevention Network today and Friday.

Who was footing the bill for the event was one of many questions raised at Tuesday’s City Council meeting by Anne Seeley, chairwoman of Concerned Citizens for Santa Rosa. Seeley also suggested Olivares, who faces re-election in November, was engaging in political posturing.

Funding cuts have forced representatives of the 13 cities in the network to pay their own way for the two-day conference, said Jack Calhoun, director of the network and a consultant on state and federal gang programs.

“The cities are coming on their own dime,” Calhoun said.

A handful of local officials turned out to tout the city’s comprehensive approach to gang prevention.

Robert Ochs, the county’s chief probation officer, said that while some communities view gangs solely as a law enforcement issue, “this community is taking the wise approach” of a community-wide solution.

Roseland School District Superintendent Gail Ahlas said gangs erode her ability to ensure students reach their full educational potential.

“We can’t do this if our children are influenced, if they are pressured, or if they are endangered by gang influences,” Ahlas said. “Creating a safe community really does take a team, and the Mayor’s Gang Prevention Task Force is that team.”

Following the press conference, Olivares and Calhoun headed to Sacramento to meet with state legislators.

You can reach Staff Writer Kevin McCallum at 521-5207 or kevin.mccallum@pressdemocrat.com.

16 Responses to “Santa Rosa outlines new plan to fight gang violence”

  1. Snarky says:


    I would like to point out that a young female was kidnapped and held hostage, while being raped and forced to birth the abductor’s children, for 18 years.

    That abduction took place roughly 20 years ago and the probation dept of both the State of California and the Feds FAILED to do their jobs which would have rescued her had they done so.

    As a result, the State of California QUICKLY paid the woman $20 million tax dollars in damages while doing its best to keep the public from knowing the identity of those failed parole and probation staff.

    Currently, the victim is litigating against the Feds and news reports
    currently are saying that the Feds are working hard behind the scenes to avoid being held accountable for its FAILURES.

    Money alone does not repay her for the failure of the law enforcement community. Her life has been damaged forever and her children, those of her kidnapper / abductor, now must live a life knowing that they are the product of rape and an 18 year sexual hostage ordeal.

    Don’t give us that whining excuse that the system is somehow overloaded today when the evidence has been from this one example case that the system never has worked very hard except to enrich itself with juicy public pensions.

    For those of you who do not know that story, google:

    Jaycee Dugard… who was kidnapped at age 11 … in South Lake Tahoe. She was held hostage in the kidnapper’s back yard tent for 18 years while multiple state and federal parole and probation employees focused on anything but their jobs.

    The government does NOT need more funding. The government employees need to be held accountable for each and every one of their failures which rarely happens. Step one is always to ID the public employees who failed.

    As in the local issue, WHAT is the name of the individual in the SRPD who dreamed up the failed idea that having kids handle guns was an answer to local gang troubles? ID that man because he needs to be fired.

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  2. Robert says:

    There is only one person on this thread talking about worshiping anything. Others have been frustrated. Others need a little educational refresher on the Bill of Rights. Can the probation dept. handle the Snarky option? No. The have just been saddled with 1500 parolees released from state prision to the county “probation dept.” Sonoma county just issued 50 probation officer guns and bullet proof vest to do their babysitting. They now have juvenile probation backing up adult probation. If only the paper printed the true crime rate in Sonoma county. Santa Rosa changed it’s reporting 10 years ago and dropped their burglary rate 70%. Plus making itharder for people to report crimes means lots of those go unreported. Makes the city and county seem pretty rosey. It is all about appearances.

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  3. Snarky says:

    “Doodles” is correct.

    The actual best method to deal with youth gang members is to target the parents of those gang members.

    And I don’t mean having the Santa Rosa Police “Anti Gang” squad visit the house and offer to let the kids handle the tools of violence via a “trained” officer :)

    If the kid is on probation, visit routinely and ensure he is HOME before the normal bed time for his age, to ensure he is in SCHOOL when he is supposed to be, and to ensure he is not consuming drugs or alcohol on spot checks.

    The foolish “anti gang” gun show by police is counter productive. The Press Democrat should actually publish information as to who in the SRPD dreamed up that stupidity. Which SRPD employee is responsible for that foolish idea?

    The only way to hold government accountable is to ID the specific person responsible for its failures.

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  4. Snarky says:

    “Dick Tracy” says to “stop & frisk gang members.”

    Clearly, the post writer is living in the past. Most young people wouldn’t even know who “Dick Tracy” was… a cartoon character.

    And his desire for “stop and frisk” is un-constitutional.

    But, what do we expect from someone who lives in the past and dreams of his favorite cartoon?

    People who live in their cartoon world are to be ignored for your own safety.

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  5. Grapevines says:

    Snarky said “Lets start the prison time where it belongs… by forcing the government to actually fire the criminals that it has working for it ….”

    You do realize that would empty the Legislature considerable, which would not be a bad thing so don’t go thinking that I’m opposed to that. Most of the jerks in the legislature are criminals that just have not been investigated well enough to be caught at what they are doing.

    And like fools expecting to get a different result, the populace keeps voting them back in. Makes me sick to think of it.

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  6. Doodles says:

    No mention of dealing with the parents in this plan. Until parents take their responsibility seriously, the “community” will have little to no impact but to keep throwing money at “projects” with no proven benefit.

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  7. Snarky says:

    The last thing in the world anyone needs in our community is to glorify guns.

    Yet, thats what the Santa Rosa Police tried to do with their “anti gang” efforts while letting little kids handle the tools of violence.

    Yep. Teach those kids that guns and badges are the things to be worshipped.

    Don’t waste time teaching those kids that a good life starts with learning well in school and enjoying all that youth has to offer in hiking, biking, lake boating, fishing, going to movies, and actually dating (as opposed to being a father at age 14).

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  8. Snarky says:

    Uh, Grapevines, did you notice that the California State bureaucrat who is right now being investigated for granting himself and close to 70 of his buddies at State Parks illegal cash grants….

    Well,,,, he has a criminal history that includes so many convictions that half of his state employment has been conducted while he has been on probation.

    Yes, the cycle is right there for you to see. I’m sure you want people like him to serve time in prison rather than work in government and handling your tax dollars, right?

    Lets start the prison time where it belongs… by forcing the government to actually fire the criminals that it has working for it ….

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  9. Skippy says:

    The Constitution is not a suicide pact.
    All individual rights end at the tip of the next guys’ nose.
    IOW, if gangstas are known to police and the community, they should be endlessly harassed until they either change their ways, leave the neighborhood, or succumb to the inevitable bullets delivered by their associates, the police or responsible citizens.
    Their story always ends the same way, unless they meet Father Greg Boyle(look him up).
    Everyone can change. Redemption is real, and worth it.

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  10. Snarky says:

    There is a minor issue in the “stop & frisk” tactic.

    Its unconstitutional and will eventually be decided on that basis … of course,,,
    it takes the Federal judges years and years and years to accomplish anything.

    In the meantime, people like “retired cop” and others on this board will be chanting like apes that they should be allowed to use their badge to circumvent the very basis of this country.

    And, of course, its the police who get to define what a “gang member” so that really plays well into their misconduct behavior.

    All you have to do is witness across the country multiple incidents of public health “inspectors” demanding that children obtain city or county permits to operate their lemonaide stand to see what “authority” can do to disrupt our lives.

    By the way, did you all see the news item several days ago where the California ex-cop was convicted of holding hostage and torturing his ex-wife and her boyfriend? Yep. Off
    to prison for that boy. One of many examples we see on a daily basis if you read something other than the Press Demo.

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  11. Dick Tracy says:

    Stop and frisk known gang members.

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  12. Grapevines says:

    Don W says that “The community where these gangs live cannot talk their gang members out of town. Only the police can make that happen.” And he’s somewhat true in what he states.

    The police however can only investigate and then arrest, afterwards they are at the mercy of the District Attorney and the courts. That’s where the problem is being perpetrated however. In the courts. We see the DA offering a plea bargain instead of prosecuting. And the court then just tapping them on the wrist in sentencing because we are sensitive to the plight of the poor accused individuals.

    If they do draw any jail time it is in a facility that treats them better than a lot of the people on the streets that are supporting them now are living in. Sit back all day and watch TV in air conditioned comfort, 3 meals, and better medical than a lot of us get.

    And after serving half (if even that) of the sentence, they are released to go and start the cycle over again.

    Why not prosecute and serve the time? No TV, air conditioning and why do we provide the medical coverage we do? If we don’t offer as good of care to the citizens on the outside, why do the criminals get it? They chose that lifestyle, we didn’t force it on them. And don’t go all crybaby on disadvantage, or abuse as a child and all the reasons that crying bleeding hearts liberals or prisoner advocates (most are lawyers) will give you.

    Break the law, serve the punishment, what’s wrong with that idea??

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  13. R.B.Fish says:

    The liberal welfare appeasement approach to organized gang violence and education debasement ha failed Sonoma County and the US for the past 30 years. Olivares is a joke. Gang violence will continue and will get worse. Wait to the SMART trains arrive when the gangs have something new “tag.” The more gang violence the more police and fire personnel will be needed. Sonoma County is dying a slow poitical death.

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  14. Reality Check says:

    The only way to stop gang violence is to end the notion that ethnicity matters more than family or culture. Immigrants to this country are part of the American culture, however much they resist integrating into that culture. Failure to assimilate into the country they chosen to live leads to alienation and gangs.

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  15. Don W says:

    The only way to stop gangs and gang violence is a zero tolerance police policy. If a gang member is identified, he or she is arrested, detained and the individuals immigration status is determined. If illegal, deport to the indviduals home country.

    The community where these gangs live cannot talk their gang members out of town. Only the police can make that happen.

    Gang toleration, community meetings, community soft education and persuasion have clearly not worked in the past. The only persuasion gang members understand is community force and the justice system brought to bear on their members.

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  16. Steveguy says:

    As long as they don’t “profile” Mexican Gangs, as that would be racist.

    Thumb up 19 Thumb down 5

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