Chasing the Shadow of Lalo Martinez

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Why not sell it to someone who actually gives a damn about Americans and their communities, and who has the creativity and energy to run such a company? We are working hard to make this transition as smooth as possible for our associates and our customers. Associates will receive job placement assistance, and we will be providing eligibility for severance. The decision to exit Orchard was based on the need to focus growing our core home improvement business and deploy our capital to more profitable projects.

Instead, Marvin Ellison, escaping JCPenney, decided within less than two months to close 99 stores and lay off people. All because? Well apparently Bill Ackman has lost a lot of money in bad investments. The good news? I know sales are going online, but hardware will always be different. Customers need that contact with sales staff who know their stuff.

Even contractors say that. OSH formed in Many years later it was bought by Sears, whose glory days were well behind it, looking to spruce up its home-improvement position. Owned finally by a hedge fund, Sears apparently did what Sears is now known for as a hedge-fund property — it muddled through. Read an LA Times story here. Finally, it spun the company off, but not before saddling it with enormous debt. Naturally, that debt crushed OSH into bankruptcy within two years. This is how Business Insider described it:. Above all, it remodeled OSH stores.

Funny what happens when you invest as if for the long run. The staff now seemed motivated. The store came to life; so apparently did the chain. Please share it, and this article, if you like it. Filed under Business , California , Southern California. Regional organized crime never really took root out here. So we never had the mafia dons, running the large crime syndicates that made the headlines in, say, Cleveland or New York. Ojeda, the oldest active member of the Mexican Mafia, died June 7, according to the federal Bureau of Prisons website, which lists him as 76 years old.

Sources tell me he apparently suffered a heart attack during an operation in a federal prison medical facility. YouTube memorials are already up. It is a prison gang, controlling Latino gang members in the state prison system. It took its name as a way of inspiring fear in others. The Mexican Mafia had no connection until recent years to the underworld in Mexico. For many years, in fact, the Mexican Mafia only ran prison yards and its influence was barely felt outside those walls. But in the early s, all that changed. Ojeda, who was then on the streets, organized a meeting of O.

He urged them to tax drug dealers in their neighborhoods as a way of funding neighborhood defense. This stunned many in the Mexican Mafia, and they began to follow his lead, often using emissaries to organize meetings from San Bernardino and Pomona out to Elysian Park in Los Angeles, where one of the biggest meetings was held. The Peace Treaty, as all this came to be known, sounded great. Gang leaders doing what law enforcement could not.

But it evolved into something sinister and lasting: A system whereby gang members would indeed tax drug dealers in their area and funnel the proceeds to Mafia members, many of whom were in prison for life. It amounts to the only regional organized crime syndicate that Southern California has ever known. Taxation transformed Latino street gangs from scruffy neighborhood territorial entities into money-making ventures, though these were often fairly rag-tag.

It gave career criminals, doing life terms in prison, access to a labor force — youths on the street who would do their bidding and admired them the way little leaguers look up to major league ball players. The Big Homies, as they were known on the street, could change life in a barrio with only a few words smuggled from prison in microprint on small pieces of paper. One trial I sat in on involved a mafia member trying to organize three gang members to kill a rival, a man who rarely drove but was often walking in his Pomona neighborhood.

As they were interpreted on the street, far from direct Mafia control, those orders often became directed at any black person, and thus in some neighborhoods campaigns were waged to get all black families to leave, which included murder, firebombings, assaults, racist graffiti and more. Taxation made Mexican Mafia members equal in many communities to the town mayor or city council, at least with when it came to their ability to affect life in those areas. Now with the obedience of thousands of gang members on the street, many of whom were too young to have ever laid eyes on the incarcerated men they were obeying, Mafia members could, and did, ignite crime waves from maximum-security cells merely through letters smuggled from prison or via liaisons who transmitted their orders to the street.

They drained city budgets, mangled lives, and forced young gang members to commit crimes that landed them in prison for life. Among them was Joe Morgan standing above him in the photo , whose story is also fascinating. Morgan died many years ago. Ojeda was the last surviving member of that generation of the Mexican Mafia, made a member in in Tehachapi.

Throughout his life, but especially following the Salvador Park meeting, he would remain a household name in the Southern California Latino street-gang world. Meanwhile, he was in and out of prison. But his control over Santa Ana and much of Orange County Latino street gang life seemed to me mostly unquestioned.

So, too, his reputation as the Godfather of Orange County. Some of the reasons why were on display in two federal criminal conspiracy cases announced this afternoon at a press conference at the L. The cases involved the Mexican Mafia prison gang controlling drug taxation and trafficking in two places: The LA County Jail, largest jail in America, and in the city of Pomona. About 25 years ago, it extended that power to the streets, ordering those gang members to tax neighborhood drug dealers and funnel the proceeds to MM members. Drug taxation thrives and amounts to the first regional organized crime system in the history of Southern California.

Through those years, and after Martinez died, Landa-Rodriguez allegedly grew to control the drugs entering and for sale across the jail system. Inmates not with the Mexican Mafia had to get his permission to sell. Only way to do that was by funneling a third of their product to the gang — hence the name of the case, Operation Dirty Thirds — then waiting while Mexican Mafia associates sold the stuff.

Violators were often beaten. They were helped, prosecutors allege, by Gabriel Zendejas-Chavez, a local attorney whom investigators say helped facilitate the trade, passed notes back and forth between Mexican Mafia associates, and that kind of thing. They were also helped by a slew of go-betweens who would get arrested with drugs in their bodies. The other indictment involved a Mexican Mafia member named Mike Lerma, who has controlled Pomona for many years from his cell in solitary confinement at Pelican BayState Prison maximum lockdown.

These are Pomona gangs that have harbored animosity against each other for years, but have repressed the urge to go after one another due to orders from Lerma, according to officers I spoke with. We were separated by Plexiglass and he was cooking a cup of cocoa on his hotplate in his pale-yellow concrete cell where he spent 23 hours of every day.

He was small, a wan and bent fellow, wearied by years on solitary confinement. From behind the glass, he waved, said how you doing? I said fine. They defended street corners, parks, markets, apartment buildings like they actually belonged to them. They were very much street gangs, and their activity — graffiti, shootings, car jackings, simple hanging out through which they did their recruiting — blighted working-class neighborhoods across Southern California.

These days, though, they are absent. They have retreated into the shadows. As if to exorcise the past, the park has been renamed Tony Cerda Park, in honor of a Native-American activist and tribal leader ; pow-wows are held at the park. Gangs are just not evidence in Southern California. Parks are once again places for kids to play. This is part due to dictates in the underworld, from organizations like the Mexican Mafia, who want their business protected.

Agencies fought each other for credit, turf, budget, as the gangs grew fierce and brazen.

But the last decade or more has seen a remarkable change and that too you could see at the press conference. At the press conference, cops of all stripes assembled to thank each other for working together. The feds thanked the locals. The locals thanked each other and the feds. Attorney Nick Hanna, continuing the theme. Speaking with a prosecutor outside the press conference, we marveled at the change and wondered how the trauma of the s and s might have been avoided had this kind of collaboration been more common. Leave a Comment. Filed under California , Gangs , Los Angeles. Kind of weird, awkward at times, but fun.

DREAMLAND … a Reporter's Blog from author/journalist Sam Quinones

I like to think of them as great social experiments. Seeing where people landed who started more or less in the same spot. Not quite like those 7 Up movies from Britain , but something like that.

Adams, Edie Tony-award-winning actress played the television foil to her husband, Ernie Kovacs He made us go to catechism classes and went to church with us on the Holy Days. To make it seem as if robbery was the motive, they took his car, ditching it not far away. Ferrari, Leon Artist and human rights activist Two years earlier, the CDC had decided to no longer spread hardcore convicts out among all the different prisons in the system.

I grew up in Claremont, a small college town 35 miles east of Los Angeles. It was a great place to grow up, if you overlooked the milk-chocolate smog covering the huge mountains nearby. As years passed, I noted that I kept in far greater touch with friends from high school than folks whom I met later in life had kept in touch with theirs. That was a loud show, and Leslie West and the guys from Canned Heat sure were fat. I had a lot of those kinds of arguments back then. Years later, I spent a lot of time traveling around Europe playing guitar in the streets and plazas for money with Arthur Cain.

That was a lot of fun. Good thing to do. A few of my high school chums have died. Steve Arena and Phil Cornell passed not long after high school. I wish I could see them again. Herbie Hancock and Tina Turner were members. For NSA, I cut my hair. For a while I even tried to learn the bagpipes. I was also in a couple pageants — on the outfield of Angel Stadium and once at Dodger Stadium — that looked something like Up With People. As a Buddhist organization, NSA was wary of appearing too eastern and mystical and weird, so it went the other way, wanting to assimilate into the squarest of American culture.

Hence these pageants — dancing to show tunes on the Dodger outfield. No lie.

Rooftop Call - Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit Soundtrack

I was happy to be in it when I was — helped me weather adolescence — and happy to leave it when I did. I played basketball in high school, though not well. Senior year was a tough one. He resigned a year or two later, though not because of me. He went on to coach a college team that holds the distinction of being the only team to lose to the Cal Tech basketball team in the last 30 years or so.

Oh well. I still love the smell of wood-floor gyms. When I was young, Claremont was a guitar mecca. Ben Harper is their grandson. And from there, many years later, to George Jones and Sun Ra. Guitar-note bending will do that. I think I probably knew 20 people who played guitar. I kept playing, though not well. Three chords, maybe a minor 6 th. Enough to play Rolling Stones songs. Never a major seventh, though. That starts with a major seventh. Anyway, the best guitar player in my class was a guy named Pebber Brown. Another guy, Martin Maudal, played some wicked drums in a band with Pebber, but now he makes guitars: Maudal Musical Machines.

Also, a guy from my class named Robert Elhai is a composer and writes soundtracks, last I heard anyway. Jim Earl and Barry Lank once had a pretty hip comedy duo. Sid Robinson is a city councilman in Upland. Of course no one wants to go to a high school reunion on parole or something. Very successful at his chosen trade, he was never seen again. So reunions tend to be kind of self-selecting. Karen Huffman, our homecoming queen, ended up, last I saw her many years ago, as a curator at the Getty Museum. He on the right in the photo died in the s, never having gone back.

I know that family reunions are huge business in Appalachia. Many go home every year, sometimes for months. Literally people do not lose touch with the place they left years before.

Years after high school, I lived in Mexico for a long time where I learned that they have their own version of these reunions — realizing yearly what my grandfather wanted to do just once but never could. They would return to their home villages for the annual fiesta, and throw huge parties, come dressed in fancy clothes. Usually it was the migrants who could afford to spend a lot of money who would go home. Mexican cops got used to shaking these folks down as they drove home. So maybe a high school reunion is really just like some get-together of local Mexican drug traffickers or an Appalachian family reunion.

Filed under California , Southern California. Rising across the board! First time since ! The city will register only homicides for all of That would seem sad, and for victims and their families and friends, it most certainly is — I can say this as a reporter who has covered hundreds of murders in his career. I know how murder can destroy not just one life, but the lives of the surviving family as well. To understand, however, why that number could actually be encouraging news, a remarkable event, you need the context.

I thought folks should have maintained some calm and context, and dealt with it seriously and professionally, which is what it appears LAPD proceeded to do. The rest of the year saw monthly homicide numbers fall again. If those numbers crept up consistently year after year, that would be cause for great concern. I say this after, again, years as a crime reporter, and fully aware that some areas of the city, and of the region, still have serious problems and that these need attention.

Just that there are stories we ought also to pay attention to. The real story is that, while we witness blooms of intercultural savagery around the world, in our region of races, languages, and religions from every corner of the globe, crime has become negligible — a minor part of life and not just for wealthy folks, but, importantly and especially, for working people.

Some notorious headlines notwithstanding — yes, Rodney King, we can all get along and, by and large, in Southern California, we are. In the end, the homicide figures, as painful as they are for some families, did reflect that. Hate crime, btw, is almost nonexistent, certainly compared to the volume and the sheer violence of those crimes in the early and mids, most of them committed by Latino street gangs against blacks, which you can read more about in a chapter essay that I wrote for this anthology.

The real story is how many working-class neighborhoods, where murder once stunted life and commerce, are now mercifully at peace, and property values are reflecting that. Remember: L. Gangs no longer have the run of the region. This morning I was out on a street that was notorious for its gang in the s. I found it quiet, pleasant, unscarred by graffiti. On the contrary, the houses seemed improved, freshly painted — one of many such neighborhoods all across Southern California. Up to about decade ago, he said, gangs were everywhere in Lincoln Park.

Chasing the Shadow of Lalo Martinez is a fast moving police/crime novel that takes place in San Diego, Albuquerque and Santa Fe, New Mexico. What starts out. Find helpful customer reviews and review ratings for Chasing the Shadow of Lalo Martinez at Read honest and unbiased product reviews from our.

Now, Mr. Tagged as crime , crime rate , Drugs , gangs , homicide , Los Angeles , Murder , peace. Staying in the US while deflecting suspicion — what better way than to have a child. Meanwhile, Republicans are talking terrorism. Democrats talk guns. As this case unfolds, it seems to have more to do with fanaticism than anything else. The real question is, as this fanaticism spreads, should we be complicit in our own demise? This couple clearly had been planning some attack, given all the ammunition thousands of rounds and tools they possessed to make a dozen pipe bombs.

So her entry into this country should only be viewed with suspicion. All of that reeked with something more sophisticated than the typical insane killer a la Tucson or Aurora. But the guy was a U. How many of those are there in our country? The question is: How easy are we making it for terrorists to do their job when someone can buy these kinds of assault weapons? That someone bought them for them is no surprise.

This kind of straw purchase takes place at Arizona gun shows all the time. Why is that an easy thing to do? That should not be easy — I see no reason why it should be legal in most cases at all. These guns are designed for the simple mowing down of people. Nothing else. That seems irresponsible. That is their final solution: A garrison state outside every holiday party and keeping the world out of the country.

Given Paris, Colorado Springs, South Carolina and now this, we are confronting something that combines classic political fanaticism with run-of-the-mill insanity. Mixing one more than the other, depending on the case. Dostoevsky had some things so say about that in his novel, The Devils , also known as The Possessed — an novel increasingly relevant to our times. Southern California has seen this before.

Saw that many times. We saw it, too, in Colorado Springs or South Carolina, where loonies were killing for what they perceived was some higher cause. In San Bernardino, the fanaticism is especially pronounced, of course. Even a womb was employed in its furtherance. The guy now seems a toady in comparison with the blind devotion of this woman he married — though we can only take that verb with a grain of salt.

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