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Oh Brother


The front page of this morning’s Los Angeles Times (Tuesday, Feb. 27) has an extraordinary photograph of some audacious criminal “tagging” a bus window. The photographer managed to take the picture of the perpetrator from the inside of the bus. Why was the photojournalist on the bus?

On Monday, Brewer, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and other officials trumpeted a new tactic to ease the fears: locating a bus stop directly behind the school so students don’t have to navigate through a gang-plagued neighborhood.But just as officials were applauding their accomplishment, they got a fresh perspective on campus security problems when their bus got tagged.

While the crowded Metro bus carrying Brewer, Villaraigosa and a crowd of journalists was stopped at Washington Boulevard and Maple Avenue, an unidentified youth believed to be a Santee student dashed up and scrawled graffiti on a side window.

Mayor Villaraigosa was ON THE BUS. No, they didn’t catch the thug. The incident, which the article states took place at the intersection of Washington Boulevard and Maple Avenue, occurred in the Enterprise Zone.

Update 2/28/2007
The Los Angeles Times today provides the update that the vandal above was eventually caught:

Carbino said Tuesday that school officials had identified the youth, spoken to a parent and agreed to meet with them. He described the boy only as “having achievement issues in school.” The boy’s name, which was not made public, was turned over to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. Sheriff’s Det. Michael Shaw said the boy would likely face a misdemeanor charge of vandalism.Still, the principal assured students in an intercom address Tuesday that he was less interested in punishing the student than in helping him. On Monday, he had said the brazen act appeared to be a “cry for help” from a troubled youth who needs counseling.

Zoner’s brush with infamy occurred as the mayor and superintendent were inaugurating a Metropolitan Transportation Authority bus stop at the school that would eliminate a two-block walk that exposed students to dangers of life in the area. When the bus stopped one block from the school, the youth struck.

I’m not sure if “counseling” is going to be an effective disincentive. But the real question is why was the City’s response to a “two-block walk that exposed students to dangers of life in the area” (described in yesterday’s article as “[navigating] through a gang-plagued neighborhood”) to just move the bus stop?

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