Showing Their Side
March 19th, 2003
  

East Oakland’s sideshows appear crazy-surreal and dangerous from a distance, especially through dystopian police and media filters. However videographers like Yakpasua Zazaboi and Dallas Lopes document the reality of sideshows as cultural events with an evolving order of their own. [Link]

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Comments
1 - Big Joe the Maroboy

The sideshow is a part of Oakland’s history. Yet it is on the verge on extinction, because those who have never attended one decided it is not what they want people to remember. But no matter what happens to the sideshow in the future, the sideshow is a part of my history from now ’till infinity….

2 - Freddy

i think that sideshows are really great.i use to live in the 60s(60 Mob 4 life) and now that i move i will take that sideshow experiance and show it to people over here in Tracy,Ca.sideshows will never be forgotten in OAKLAND.

3 - young neef

man fuck what the police say or do, the sideshows aint never hurt nobody. they just a kick it spot after the clubs is over. people still be hiefy when the club close so they need to take that energy out to the streets. niggas showin off they cars and hollin at females thats all that go down. they closed down the festival at the lake because the white folk were uncomfortable with all us niggas round they neighborhood. we need somethin to do besides be outside all day and goin to one of these broke down movie theaters. let us keep spinnin.

4 - MR.RICH

SIDESHOWS

SIDESHOWS WILL NEVER BE FORGOTON IN THE DEEP EAST A PLACE CALL THE KILLER FIELS START IN EAST MONT MALL ON 73RD

WHERE 77TH GREEN SIDE,81ST THE ESES

AND THE BOOM SPOT THE RED FENCE AND EVERY ONE ELS CHILING SMOKING AND RIDEING SIDE WAYZ IT’S THE WAY IN THE DEEP EAST……………..MR.RICH FUCK THE POLICE

5 - AnGeL

SIDESHOWS AINT NEVA GONA STOP DEY PART OF EAST OAKLAND…NIGGAS OUT HURR B HIGHSIDEN,RIDIN,BURNIN,DRANKIN,N NIGGAS B SWANGIN DA SHIT OUT DEY CARS DONUTS FIGURE 8′S N SHIT…

MEMBA DEEP EAST OAKLAND ON MINE…

FUCK DA POLICE WE RUN DZ STREETZ…CUZZ NIGGAS OUT UP N EAST OAKLAND B HELLA DEEP…

6 - marco

MAN…FROM MY EXPERIENCED…OAKLAND SYDESHOWS ARE THE BOMB!!!!!WE AINT TRYIN TO HURT NOBODY…SIMPLY WE JUST WANNA HAVE FUN AND SWING ARE SHIT!!!THROW IT DOWN FOR THE TOWN YOU NO???ITS JUST A LITTLE FUN TYME TO COME OUT AND PLAY WITH OUR CARS ..TOO BAD I DONT LIVE IN OAKLAND NO MORE.BUT IM ONLY A HOUR AWAY ..I LIVE IN STOCKTON NOW AND ILL ALWAYS REMEMBER MY GOOD TYMES IN EAST OAKLAND 3500BLKAND SYDE SHOWS!!!!

7 - n.pablo Milanoff

Fuck. For real . I remember back in the day the shit used to go down. Wish I remembered them, but let me tell you all this: That we dont like the beautiful ugly girls. We ride them tigers like they were Pynchons last vestabule of word play out on my street corner I have three kids.

8 - COREYAKBAR

MAN, I’M NOT EVEN FROM THE O AND I KNEW ABOUT THE SIDESHOW EVEN BEFORE RICH RICH KICKED “THA SIDESHOW” IN “DON’T DO IT”. MAN, IT USED TO GO DOWN AT THE MCDONALD’S ACROSS FROM THE MALL. AND THAT WAS IN THE MID 80″S. SO ALOT THESE YOUNG GUNZ DON’T EVEN KNOW ABOUT THE SIDESHOW. SOME GORILLA PIMP NEED TO BUY SOME LAND AND LET CATS BRING THERE CARS FOR A SMALL FEE AND LET THEM SWANG THE FUCK OUT THEY SHIT. JUST LIKE AT A RACE TRACK, SO THE SPECATATORS WILL BE IN A SAFE ENVOIRNMENT.

9 - 9800stunnaboy

i mean i mean,what is it

sideshows be dum ass crackin everybody racin down mac wit whistle pipes niggas goin dum in da streets it dont get like dis no where else trust me on that pimp suit..

.niggas do get a lil hyphy sometimes but 4 da most part it’s coo..

10 - BIG-RANZ aka naycbo

MAN LIKE THESE CATZ IZ SAYING SIDE-SHOWS IZ A WAY OF OAKLAND TRADTION CADDILAC CLUB, FALCONBOYZ.. AND THE EASTBAY DRAGONS,WICKED WHEELS .SHIT NIGGA AC MOBB 69 VILL THA TOWN IZ A SPOT WITH YOUNG GENARATION LIFE IZ HARD IN THA TOWN USED TO GO TO MALIBU BUT THE POLICE DIDNT WANT NIGGAS TO HAVE FUN SEE WHAT HAPPEND IM OLD SCHOOL ROLLER SKATEING USED TO BE THE SHIT ON 72 AVE OR AT FOOTHILL SQUARE U KNOW HOLLING AT BITCHES OR CHILLING ONE LUV NIGGAH ROLLING 100$ WALNUT LUV U RAME AND LIL CALVIN THE BLOCK LOVE YALL….IM OUT LIKE A 68 FALCON 0N3 TYMES GOLD RED AND WHITE SEE ME HOLLA IN TRAFFIC ONE LOVE ONE THUGG RIPP TUPAC TOWN SHIT……..

11 - nifty cop car on 18 inch blacks.

sideshows should be legit. jay cat ass people

and cops be hatin on the show. just let it be,

u feel me. if the swangin aint killin no one,

let it be.every body from the yay, see how we

get down. police probably like sideshows too,

but its they job to try to shut shit down. if there wasnt

no law trying to bann sideshows, it would still

be crackin like it used to be. dirty tre’s is where

i be. holla when u c me. much luv to tha town!!!!

3-200. period!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

12 - Howard Rheingold

I really have no idea if these comments are for real or spoofs. Are there really Smart Mobs readers who talk like this? If so, cool. If not, I have to admire anyone who goes to this much trouble to spoof. Probably people searching on “sideshow.”

WAS UP MY NIGAS THIS MR.RICH EAST OAKLAND 8100 BLOCK RIDING SYDEWYZ AND SPINING DONUTS ON 81ST AND HOLLEY.ALL

MY MEXICAN HOMIES BODER BROTHERS PUTING WORK FOR THE SPOT AND THE TERFF

FUCK THE POLICE THE MIDIA AND THE GOVERMENT EAST OAKLAND WAS MAID FROM CURRUPTION NIGGAS DOING HOMICIDES MAKEING MOMS CRY.AINT NO LOVE IN THE DEEP EAST. ANY WHATS TO HALLER BODERBROTHERS@YAHOO.COM

14 - SCAPPINSUKAZ

IN EAST OAKLAND WE DONT GIVE A FUCK WE KNOCK BITCHES OUT …MAKE HOES SUCK AND BANK ON CHANKS FOR THEIR 4-BANGER..MAN WE JUST DONT GIVE A FUCK PULL OUT A STRAP AND SPRAY REDNECKS ..IT AINT NUTIN STRAIGHT DEEP EAST MAC ARTHUR ..FUCK THE WEST…

fuck all u fuck azz 72 niggaz diz be str8 ez 54 block blood damu niggaz str8 fever

and best be leave jokes fitt ta come at all u bitch made muthafukus when i touchdown on the ez streetz .

RawAzzFuck be my deffinition

ez oak str8 5 g niggaz

crab or damu

jokes is comming 4 u

4u2nv

16 - n.pablo Milanoff

YO Mr.Rich is a no good bitch! I seen him at these side shows sucking cock sucking dick . he be all ‘hey nigga, eva bin sucked off by a dude?!’ I ‘d be all like ‘ man fuck you! Im just here for the people not dumb ass cocksuckin faggots like you!’ and straight from my other heart in the downtown this is how the shit went down and still goes down. MR.RICH is a phoney and knows nothing about these streets

17 - LIL 900

The sydeshows have always been the place to be on a friday saturday night, especially during da summa. Shit me a niggs be out there holla at dem hoes and everything.Police come thru and try to shut shit down. But U know what they cant whoop Oakland… Its 900 on mine nigga all the time nigga aint no turf hoppin on mine nigga. DEEP EAST OAKLAND

18 - BLACKWIDOW

FUCK MAN THEY NEED TO CALM THEY SHIT DOWN AND JUST LET PEOPLE DO WHAT THEY DO OR LIKE THE OTHER NIGGA SAID GET A SPOT WHERE WE CALL CAN GO FUCKEN BURN IT UP AND SWING THE SHIT OUT OF OUT RIDES

19 - n. Pablo Milanoff

Im sorry for the strange way in which Ive been speaking. I knew not what I did. But for reals back in the day it was great, I had no love but it was good, I have love now and Im good but we need these Sideshows. Sorry Mr.Rich, muck love nigga. To the darling off my town, in my own heart after my own heart, much love. Im going going gone. -n. Pablo Milanoff

20 - dave

I really have no idea if these comments are for real or spoofs. Are there really Smart Mobs readers who talk like this? If so, cool. If not, I have to admire anyone who goes to this much trouble to spoof. Probably people searching on “sideshow.” Yes, Howard, that’s true.

21 - n. Pablo Milanoff

The way we be the way we are is nothing but the way we feel and this is how it is and how it becomes this is what we are.

ya did I mean u know I aint from the town but the sideshows be cracken in the E.S.O Im from 209 but I be trying to get the sideshows cracken but police be haten but they cant stop no body from sydeshowing “we burn till the tires blow” fuck the haten ass police “rep the silly 50′s”, swang that shit!!!!! 500 .mob.

23 - MR.RICH

IST GOING DOWN IN THE MATHER FUCKEN TOWN. THE** T O W N**CAMAROS AND NATIONALS EVERY ONE FROM DEEP EADT OAKLAND GO TO http://WWW.HIGHSIDEN.COM

ALL ABOUT OAKLAND SYDESHOWS

24 - MR.RICH

**********************************************WWW.HIGHSIDEN.COM****************************************************EAST OAKLAND VIDEO CLIPS DOING DONUTS AND SHIT>>>>>>>>>GO GO

BORDER BROTHERS 81ST LOKS

25 - NEWS FROM THE CITY ATTORNEY'S OFFICE

NEWS FROM THE CITY ATTORNEY’S OFFICE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CITY OF OAKLAND PREVAILS IN DRUG AND GANG NUISANCE CASE

Oakland, CA – In another victory in the effort to eliminate drug and gang activity from Oakland neighborhoods, City Attorney John Russo announced today that his legal team, in partnership with the Oakland Police Department, won an injunction against the owner of a property which has been a hot spot of drug use and gang activity in an East Oakland neighborhood.

Located at 1355 83rd Avenue, the property is a known hangout for the Border Brothers gang. In the past year, narcotic activity-including the sale, storage, use and distribution of narcotics-has resulted in nine arrests and confiscation of rock cocaine and liquid heroin.

The injunction, granted by the Superior Court of California, Alameda County, prohibits the property owner from using or permitting the use of the property for illegal narcotic activities. The City of Oakland sought relief from the Court because the property owner has refused to take steps to abate the nuisance the house poses to the neighborhood as a magnet for crime, drug use, violence and gang activity, in violation of the California Health and Safety Code. In addition, the property owner has repeatedly ignored attempts by the City to notify her of illegal narcotic activities, plumbing and electrical code violations, and substandard conditions present on the property.

“This legal victory sends a message to the perpetrators of drug and gang violence in our community that such activity will not be tolerated,” said City Attorney Russo. “I am proud of the effective partnership between our attorneys, the Oakland Police Department, and the code enforcement staff in the Community and Economic Development Agency, whose dedication and hard work are improving the quality of life for Oakland residents.”

26 - MR.RICH

Brilliant headlights flash over the faces of a cheering crowd, and the scream of spinning tires pierces the night.

A ring of spectators encircles a car that is performing doughnuts. Some dare to jump into the middle and tap the bumper of the spinning vehicle.

A flicker of blue lights on the horizon is enough to spook the participants, and the crowd makes a mass exodus to the next empty intersection or parking lot. In a flash of tire smoke and rearview mirrors, the sideshow has dissipated as quickly as it materialized.

For more than 10 years, sideshows – the spontaneous gathering of cars performing stunts and the crowds who watch them – have been a frequent occurrence in Oakland. Typically, a few cars will appear on any deserted expanse of pavement.

But the spot doesn’t remain quiet for long.

With the help of cell phones and pagers, word travels quickly, and soon as many as 500 people may flock to the area. Drivers bring their vehicles, which range from everyday commuter cars to heavily modified sports cars. They throw their machines into shocking maneuvers such as locking their wheels and spinning in tight circles, known as “doughnuts,” or driving on two or three wheels at a time. Often it is not the stunts that are dangerous, but the chases that ensue when law enforcement officials arrive to disperse the gatherings.

A rising number of dangerous incidents have caused the city of Oakland, as well as the media, to focus on sideshows. Last month, a 14-year-old boy had his leg amputated after he was run over by a big rig fleeing a mob of sideshow participants. The same weekend, two people were killed by a drunken driver who allegedly had been involved in a sideshow.

But sideshow participants say the negative events are the exception. Most of the time, the gatherings are peaceful and fun. Drivers and spectators represent a wide variety of ages and races, and they are drawn to the spectacles for various reasons.

JoJo Fedez of Oakland likes to “sit and watch how people perform,” and says many people go to sideshows because they cannot afford other forms of entertainment. “A lot of people don’t go to clubs,” Fedez said. “A lot of people don’t have money.”

There is, of course, the rebellious incentive as well. “When you say ‘no,’ ” Fedez said, “it makes them want to do it more.” Some thrill-seekers even join in specifically because there is a risk.

For 17-year-old Bryant Rodriguez, sideshows are “a tradition.” Rodriguez, who lives in Manteca but regularly travels to Oakland for the sideshows, explains that “it’s not a showoff thing – it’s an occasion.” And, he adds, police are usually nearby. But they “just watch,” as long as there is no trouble.

On some nights, there is trouble.

During the last few months, many deaths and injuries have been attributed to sideshows. ” A lot of people do get injured. This girl got hit – she got backed into,” Rodriguez said. “They took her to the hospital.”

There is always a risk of accidents, but when violence occurs at sideshows, Rodriguez and others say it’s not entirely random.

“There are a lot of gangs there,” he said, explaining that the atmosphere of a sideshow is dependent on who is attending. Often a gang will oversee events in its territory, and if any rival gang members show up, the sideshow can turn violent. “I’ve seen people get shot. I’ve seen drive-bys before. It’s not a good feeling,” Rodriguez said. “You got to watch who you are hanging with.” Rodriguez has been arrested for illegal drag racing and had to perform community service. “My car got towed,” he said. “That was it for me, that one experience.” Rodriguez says he worries about his cousins, who continue to participate in dangerous street races.

The city of Oakland has cracked down on sideshows after the death of U’Kendra Johnson in December 2001.

There is some controversy surrounding the accident, in which 22-year-old Johnson was killed when a Buick slammed into the passenger side of the Chevy Cavalier she was riding in. Police say the driver of the Buick, 27-year-old Eric Crawford, had been involved in a sideshow earlier that night, and he recklessly endangered the lives of several bystanders while spinning his car in a doughnut.

However, video shot by an amateur photographer showed that the area police said was packed with people and cars was deserted when Crawford was performing the stunts. The footage also showed that during their pursuit of Crawford, police did not use sirens or flashing lights. Attorney John Burris is suing the Oakland Police Department on behalf of Johnson’s family, claiming that her death was the result of negligence by the officers involved in the pursuit.

Even though discrepancies plague the case, it prompted the city to pass the U’Kendra Johnson Memorial Act last summer. The law allows for the seizure and impoundment of any vehicle reported to be used in sideshow activities for 30 days, as well as a fine of up to $1,500 for the owner. Citizens say the law is not effective because it does not prevent sideshow participants from getting their vehicles back, and some say the city is only aggravating the problem.

Oakland City Councilwoman Desley Brooks said she is working to come up with a proposal that would allow a legal venue for sideshows. It’s the practical thing to do, she says, because police have been out in force to break up sideshows and arrest participants, often working mandatory overtime. Each weekend, this effort costs the city of Oakland between $30,000 and $60,000, Brooks said.

Many like that idea and are urging the city to consider alternatives, citing the success of supervised car races and stunt exhibitions adopted in San Diego and Fremont, when such activities became a problem on streets there.

Fedez said the Oakland Police Department is at least partially to blame for giving sideshows a bad rap.

“They make it look a lot worse than what it actually is,” he said. “A lot of times there will be accidents that aren’t part of the sideshow. They just say it’s part of the sideshow.”

27 - ato

RIDIN’ SIDIN’ WIPPIN’ DIPPIN’

Now that the weather is warmin’ up, and the days are gettin’ longer, ya best believe… But let’s try sometihin different shall we? Reading some of the comments, most go to sideshows because of the thrill, tradition, enjoyment, the club scene is played, or lack of scrill a.k.a (money, paper, feddi, cheddar, green). I say to you, ON WITH THE SIDESHOWS!!! Yeah in a controlled area. In an empty, gated parking lot, with temparary bleachers, maybe a place like hayward airport, or even the coliseum parking lot, sponsored by “guerllia pimps”, interest groups, private investors, promotors, or what have you. Would you pay $5(which is cheaper than the movies and the club) to see a sideshow? lets just call it (carshow/exhibition) for isurrance reasons. I’m talkin with different catagory of events, like the skill & agility contest, longest burnouts, and of course the tightest donuts. There could even be local celebrity judges like chuy gomez, Keek-da-sneek, and Mark Curry, or somethin’. Oh yeah and the ultimate freestyle competition judged by the crowd. PRIZES AND GIFTS RIGHT? how ’bout the winner gets cash good as money, and an opportunity to diplay there skills during an intermission up at infineon/searspoint raceway, or up @ the ALAMEDA COUNTY FAIR, maybe the runner-ups can get tires from Big O, a certain amount of $$$ good @ Kragen, free oil changes at quick/jiffy lube, you know somethin like that. Too make this more of a possiblity, all drivers gotta have L’s reg. etc,. etc.

A, I could really see this happening in the town, cuz it’s being done in other places, but they just do it on bikes though. Please check out sbfreaks.com, darius240z.com. the shit is crazy!! “Servin it up” videos one and two is str8 retarded, nothin but love for dem cats!!

If you got any ?’s, comments, or better ideas, well holla back!!!!!!

BOF on mine

28 - jacory

man fuk dat shit blood as long as deez niggaz is out here swangn fans and wagons we gone be lovn dat shit. If u aint claimn wut another nigga claimn u bound 2 get scrapped.specialy if u aint even from da east claimn hayward or sumn nigga u get yo skull smashed in by deez east oakland boysz. 4500 on mine blood lower high street u-c-it. Fuk da west biatch

29 - DaKing

Jacory you must be a young mexican cause you straight trippin cuzz. We don’t need all this hate in the town, real niggas don’t get down like that. We got love for all them niggas and if they swang they shit like a real mutha fucka would then all you can do is show them some respect, and don’t be a little busta and try to hate. Now If I said fuck all them mexicans that be trying to swang they shit because they are not the ones that started it then I’ll be sounding hella stupid cuzz. So all that fuck the west and hayward and all that shit is played out. Don’t get me wrong though I’m from the East too rolling hundreds up in the bitch, but the difference is I love for my hood but not hate for others. Young blood just play it cool and you be cool. We gone get this side show shit crankin again pimpin. and to keep it goin we have to show love for everybody.

30 - MR.RICH

WAS UP MY EAST OAKLAND NIGGA THIS DISTURBING THE PEACE 8100 ARROYO PARK

JUST OIL MY 45 GLOCK 17 IN GREEN 73 CUTTY

SWINIG THAT MUTHER FUCKER ON 81ST AND HOLLY.!HAY WHEN THE ALAMEDA COUNTY FAIL COMES TO THE O THEIR WILL BE LEAGAL SYDESHOWS $5.00 COVER CHARGE YOU HV TO L’S AND INSURANCE THIS SUMMER.

31 - guero lil e lil zaylil dusa

yeah whattt is it cuzzz fuck all that haten ass police but i got to show luv though cuz my bro big zay is a cop but he dont hate on side shows because hes just a another nigga from the 90s, he group in in 94th b boy block on Ast. u feel me where i be is in 73rd, holly boyz wit my nigge glen,essaw,slick,tone,tay or at 94 on a o b strret pretty soon task them boyz n the law niggas of yay will see side shows again 5 de mayo 04 domb ass cranckinholla i be 86 lx prim ered gray real ex chp from the sevs deep east kokeland u know oakland i got luv 4 the o bigrew all over i got family folks bitches all over the o i also be where old skool black dynasty n dru use swing they 50s yeah much luv for my niggas in 100s jackiecookie to all the border brothers in 94 a n b street in 83rd on efour all over the 90s,80s,70s,60s,50s,40s,30s,dubs also to niigas from all over the o fuck all the gang bangin shit represent if some j kat as nigga try to get out of pocket deep east 73 get roudy if u need to to let um know where u from the o bitches samash on j kat bitches niggas smash on niggas if u have to fuck them out of towners show luv n respect or get the boot if yo sht dont swang dont bring that shit if it do show whai it do where the bitches at n dranl igot the light for yal crankin shit u know much luv lil e guero lil medusa show luv i also be in a 70 z28 maro pearl white w\ orange stripes or in my nifty primered gray lx chp on 93 chrome cobras holla

32 - MR.RICH

TEXT: WITH THE exception of South-Central Los Angeles, there is no community more affected by the crack trade than East Oakland. And therefore, no one should be angrier than I to learn that the explosive growth of the crack trade in my community in the 1980s probably came about largely through the sponsorship and protection of an agency of the federal government, as reported in the Mercury News’ recent Dark Alliance series.

I am a single father. I live with three teen-age daughters in what is called the flatlands of East Oakland: the heart of drug country. This is where I grew up, where my parents still live and operate the family business, and where I returned after an absence of 20 years to raise my children

But I find that I am too weary for anger and even if I could manage it, who would I be angry with? There will be news conferences and hearings and investigations, sure, but will they ever uncover the names and faces of those who authored this abomination? I think not. The perpetrators are not humans but pale imitations of humans, cowards, those who will never come forward and admit their complicity but who will forever stand in the shadows beyond the streetlights, throwing their bricks and hiding their hands.

Walking home from my parents’ house, my children and I come upon a young woman standing in the middle of our street. She has a large stick in her hand and while she waves it in the air, she is shouting into the darkness.

”Who you think you are . . . huh? What? You think you can take advantage of me? You son of a bitch! You can’t take advantage of me! I’m somebody’s child! Who you think you are?”

Who she thought was trying to take advantage of her, I do not have the slightest idea. There was no one else in sight.

I hustle my children into the house

I have seen this woman often since I returned to East Oakland. She is about 30, only a little bit older than my eldest daughter. I have heard that she has two or three children of her own, raised by a grandmother somewhere. People around here call her Pat, but that may not even be her right name. So much about street people is false. The only thing I can be certain about her that is real is her pain

Pat is a crack whore, working the main avenue a block from my house, selling sex all night for just enough money each time to buy herself a couple of rocks. She probably got hooked in that period of ignorance before the full horrific addictive effects of crack were known, perhaps around the time when Freeway Rick was moving the trade up the coast from Southern California.

When I first came back to Oakland, she used to take my breath away when I’d see her out on East 14th, as achingly lovely as any woman I’d ever been close to. She was a dark beauty with the long, smooth-muscled legs of a dancer, a Louisiana sashay of a walk, and a dimpled, devilish smile that made men drivers almost wreck trying to make U-turns in the middle of the street.

I have watched her deteriorate, week by week, month by month, in the years since then. Crack does that to you.

What was once lithe and slender about Pat is now skinny and emaciated; her clothes hang about her body as if they belonged to somebody else. They probably do. Her cheekbones bulge while the skin below them is lined and sunken. She hides her hair under a knit cap, even in the heat of the summer, and she scratches at it absently and often, so one can only imagine its condition. Her eyes are dull and brittle as old plastic, and dart out at you from places where you do not wish to venture.

This is what the Dark Alliance has left my community with. Long after Reagan has been buried and canonized on a new-denomination bill – long after the CIA’s Contra operatives have retired to their Central American villas – long after Republican and Democratic politicians have tired of trading their mutual recriminations – long after all of this, it is my community and my people who will be left to live with the human disasters of people like Pat and her children, wherever they are, and who will be left to clean up the mess.

Inside the house, my daughters want to watch the spectacle of Pat through the venetian blinds. She is a great show to them, I am sure. I shoo them away from the window and tell them to turn on the television, but that is a mistake.

Immediately they find something called ”Cops,” one of their favorite programs, the one where the cameras supposedly follow real police around and shows all the sweating and grunting and blood of catching real criminals. My children are fascinated by the world of violence, from which they are separated by only a pane of glass. I cannot watch these things, and I retreat to my room.

I have seen too much in these eight years since I came back home.

I have witnessed four high-speed auto chases, one in which a car came within a few feet of wiping me off of the curb where I was standing, another in which a car lost control and plowed through the chain-link fence adjacent to the building where I work.

One night, driving home two blocks from my house, I turned onto a street on which Oakland Police Department Tactical Squad members were crouching in the dark with guns drawn, about to bust into a dealer’s house. I put my car in reverse just as the police began racing across the street.

Walking to the post office each morning, I have seen the street memorials to slain young African American men: slogans of farewell and regret spray-painted on the sidewalk, ghastly altars of wreaths and worn tennis shoes, cold puddles of burned wax surrounding emptied bottles of 8-Ball and Mickey’s Big Mouth, castoff cellophane marijuana packets discarded around them in odd patterns.

At night there is sometimes so much gunfire in the neighborhood – automatic weapons, mostly, and now and then the boom of what must be a shotgun or, perhaps, something larger – that I have stopped paying attention unless I hear the sound of someone running, and only then when the running is coming toward my house.

My daughters learned early how to duck at the sound of loud noises. It is a lesson I did not teach them. This is what the Dark Alliance has left my community with, the dogs.

East Oakland was not always like this. When my parents moved here in the midst of World War II, it was a mostly white community of stable families and unlocked doors. The neighborhood rolled over white to black in the years that I was growing up, but its family nature and peace and stability remained, a neighborhood of backyard cookouts with red Kool-Aid tinkling in iced glasses, and Ray Charles and Johnny Otis on the 45.

After the African-Americans came Mexican-Americans and Puerto Ricans and lately, the Southeast Asians, all seeking a safe haven for their families along the tree-shaded streets and within the grassy backyards. Regardless of language or culture, that has been the common denominator of East Oakland: family.

Every Fourth of July, our relatives would converge upon my parents’ house for an annual barbecue. They still do. They do this not out of our sense of patriotism, but out of our sense of family. For us, commitment to family values is not a political slogan. It is our life. It is how we have survived and remained whole amid the madness. It is how we will survive the residue of littered bodies and shattered structures left by the Dark Alliance.

It is long after midnight, and my daughters have gone to bed. Pat has been quiet for a while but now she has returned to the middle of the street. She is banging her stick on the pavement, pounding it, and has taken to shouting again.

”You wrong, you damn bastard, you wrong!” I wonder who she is upset with. Perhaps someone who has tried to take her money. Life among the hustlers is vicious. Or perhaps her boyfriend, who beats her regularly. Or maybe it is the larger system she rails at . . . the government that leaves her on the streets to rot while rewarding those who enslaved her, who shot the drugs into her veins. She is an intelligent woman, it seems, but it doesn’t take much intelligence to figure that one out. ”It ain’t right!” she shouts. ‘I’m somebody’s child!”

I close the venetian blinds, and decide to let it be. Perhaps someone will call the police on her tonight, but it won’t be me. After all, she has a point.

33 - Howard Rheingold

An extraordinary post, Mr. Rich.

34 - lil 707

the 50 always be hatin tryin to shut shit down fuck all the50 and they need to be clapped 707 on mine nigga aint no terf hoppin on mines nigga

35 - stef

contact ismael reed; we can get something happening with camera cell phones. just say steve cannons old student sent you…

Top officials of a Hayward chemical company that sold nearly all of the state’s freon have been arrested for allegedly conspiring to supply thousands of gallons of the refrigerant to methamphetamine makers, authorities said yesterday.

Four employees of All Discount Laboratory Supply at 2394 American Ave. and six members of an Oakland family who allegedly served as “chemical brokers” were arrested Thursday after an investigation by the state Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement and the federal Drug Enforcement Administration.

The company has sold 58,000 gallons of freon since 1997 — 99 percent of the freon sold in California during that time, said Dave Tresmontan, special agent in charge of the state narcotic agency in San Francisco.

Freon typically is bought by air conditioning companies and refrigerator makers. But much of the freon sold by the Hayward firm could have been used as a solvent to make 87 tons of methamphetamine, also known as crank or speed, with a street value of $696 million, authorities said.

“I think it’s going to have a major and immediate impact on clandestine laboratories,” Tresmontan said of the arrests. “There’s going to be a scramble to get freon from legitimate sources.”

The employees were identified as managing partner Mark Kesel, 43, of Kensington; manager Vladimir Kotlyarenko, 43, of Milpitas; and employees Diane Engle, 43, and William Gifford, 44, both of Hayward.

Kesel’s wife, 30-year-old Julia Kesel, defended him in an interview yesterday, saying he was a “very honest person” who earned a financial degree from San Francisco State University.

“He’s absolutely innocent,” she said. “They have to prove the charges.”

Robert Beles, an Oakland attorney representing Kesel and his company, said the government’s allegations were “flat out wrong.” Kesel has always complied with state and federal drug regulations, Beles said.

The federal investigation, prompted in part by suspicious bank transactions and chemical-sales information supplied by the company, involved wiretaps, undercover purchases and surveillance of the suspects, authorities said.

During a sale with an undercover agent, Engle demanded identification “because the DEA has been coming down on us,” according to an affidavit by DEA Special Agent John Aldine that was unsealed yesterday in federal court in Oakland.

Also arrested were Arnulfo Navarro, 33; his wife, Maria Navarro, 31; Arnulfo Navarro’s siblings, Juanita Navarro, 25, and Jose Navarro, 23; Domingo Lopez, 19; and Cristobal Sandoval, 23. All are from Oakland and were part of a drug ring with links to a second group in Southern California, authorities said.

The suspects were arraigned yesterday before U.S. Magistrate Wayne Brazil in Oakland on charges of conspiracy, illegal distribution of a chemical that can be used to manufacture an illegal drug and aiding in the manufacture of methamphetamine.

37 - 9-Hu$tLe

man check it im comn’ str8 outa da big 9500 block …..sideshows is the shit we have a chance to express ourself infront of our pepz..fuck e-one else….all the wealthy prepy ass fake ass bitches..and if you try stoppn’ us its nothin’ cause we aint gona stop till our bodies drop…………. K.S.B KenY SpoT bOys 9500 deep east oakland niggaz what iz it?

38 - MR.RICH

***********DEEP EAST OAKLAND**********

Although the action takes place in the ghettos of East Oakland, it is likened to the stories of fast money, loose women and crack addicts being played out in every major city of America. The life of a hustler is one of seemingly glamour, but this film paints no picture of glory; it puts the drug life in its proper perspective by illustrating its cost in human suffering.

Former Oakland mayor Elihu Harris – who appears in the documentary portion of the film – shares his take on Oakland’s drug situation. “Besides the City’s distressing homicide rate, I think there is nothing that has been more devastating to the black community than the availability and the spread of crack cocaine.” Harris continued, “If we begin to learn lessons from the lives that have been destroyed, the people who are addicted, the people who are in prison, the people who are homeless and jobless, then we can begin to end this epidemic.”

As a prelude to the main feature and presented in traditional documentary style, is a vivid blend of images, commentary and personal testimonies as

to how, why and what impact the proliferation of drugs – particularly crack cocaine – has had on the African American community. Crack addicts recount very candidly the horrors of being hooked on a mind-controlling substance and what it has cost them personally.

Community leaders lament over the dissipation of progress made as a result of the 1960′s civil rights movement and suggest that the introduction of crack cocaine into the black community may have been government sponsored. This collage of conversations fades to black as the main feature proceeds.

Shot on digital video, the feature capitalizes on its cinema veriti style to document an up-close observation of the protagonist’s life as it begins to unravel. The movie plays out as a moral statement regarding the daily dilemmas faced by many young African American men in the inner-city, and the lure of the fast buck.

After his release from prison, Marvin Holliday finds that his options are few, and after a short stint washing cars, he works his way into the good graces of the resident drug dealer, Teddy Ross (K.E. Dorham). T-Ro, as he’s called, is all flash and cash, and young Marvin, dazzled by the prospect of being able to provide a better lifestyle for himself, and buy his sister a restaurant of her own, becomes Ross’ henchman, killing his business partner. But soon, Marvin gets ambitious, ups the ante and strikes out on his own.

In his quest to dominate the lucrative drug market, Marvin becomes ruthless, moving in on everyone, including Joyce, Ross’ girlfriend. He eliminates the competition in a series of brutal confrontations. The fact that Ross has put a price on his head, and his growing involvement with Ross’ girl only seems to drive him harder. When Marvin and Teddy finally come face to face again at the Player’s Ball, it is the student who trumps the master, with Joyce’s help, who fires the bullet that kills her former lover. It is in this moment of salvation that Marvin realizes that he must do something drastic to change his life in a positive way.

“Heavy in the Game’s” most compelling aspect might be its realism, but it’s also clear Goldie has a knack for writing ear-catching dialogue. … While Goldie is aware similar stories have been the basis of the urban drama genre since “Boyz N the Hood,” he took pains not to simply rehash what’s been done before.

EAST BAY EXPRESS

Goldie’s poetic flow is also featured on the film’s soundtrack, a 17-cut collection that showcases the urban sounds of acts such as Scrillyonairz, Silk E, JT The Bigga Figga (who also appears in the movie), City Slick Hustlers, The Delinquents, Certified Ryders and Myron Glasper. The street-heavy beats and the stark raps mirror the film’s gritty tone, punctuating the tension and creating a heated aural backdrop for this gripping slice of “life in da hood.”

39 - MR.RICH

For the better part of a decade, a E OAKLAND Bay Area drug ring sold tons of cocaine to the Crips and Bloods street gangs of Los Angeles and funneled millions in drug profits to an arm of the contra guerrillas of Nicaragua run by the Central Intelligence Agency, the San Jose Mercury News has found.

This drug network opened the first pipeline between Colombia’s cocaine cartels and the black neighborhoods of Los Angeles, a city now known as the “crack” capital of the world. The cocaine that flooded in helped spark a crack explosion in urban America – and provided the cash and connections needed for L.A.’s gangs to buy weapons.

It is one of the most bizarre alliances in modern history: the union of a U.S.-backed army attempting to overthrow a revolutionary socialist government and the “gangstas” of Compton and South-Central Los Angeles.

The army’s financiers – who met with CIA agents before and during the time they were selling the drugs in L.A. – delivered cut-rate cocaine to the gangs through a young South-Central crack dealer named Ricky Donnell Ross.

Unaware of his suppliers’ military and political connections, “Freeway Rick” turned the cocaine powder into crack and wholesaled it to gangs across the country.

Drug cash for the contras

Court records show the cash was then used to buy equipment for a guerrilla army named the Fuerza Democratica Nicaraguense (Nicaraguan Democratic Force) or FDN, the largest of several anti-communist groups commonly called the contras.

While the FDN’s war is barely a memory today, black America is still dealing with its poisonous side effects. Urban neighborhoods are grappling with legions of homeless crack addicts. Thousands of young black men are serving long prison sentences for selling cocaine – a drug that was virtually unobtainable in black neighborhoods before members of the CIA’s army brought it into South-Central in the 1980s at bargain-basement prices.

And the L.A. gangs, which used their enormous cocaine profits to arm themselves and spread crack across the country, are still thriving.

“There is a saying that the ends justify the means,” former FDN leader and drug dealer Oscar Danilo Blandon Reyes testified during a recent cocaine-trafficking trial in San Diego. “And that’s what Mr. Bermudez (the CIA agent who commanded the FDN) told us in Honduras, OK? So we started raising money for the contra revolution.”

Recently declassified reports, federal court testimony, undercover tapes, court records here and abroad and hundreds of hours of interviews over the past 12 months leave no doubt that Blandon was no ordinary drug dealer.

Shortly before Blandon – who had been the drug ring’s Southern California distributor – took the stand in San Diego as a witness for the U.S. Department of Justice, federal prosecutors obtained a court order preventing defense lawyers from delving into his ties to the CIA.

Blandon, one of the FDN’s founders in California, “will admit that he was a large-scale dealer in cocaine, and there is no additional benefit to any defendant to inquire as to the Central Intelligence Agency,” Assistant U.S. Attorney L.J. O’Neale argued in his motion shortly before Ross’ trial on cocaine-trafficking charges in March.

The 5,000-man FDN, records show, was created in mid-1981 when the CIA combined several existing groups of anti-communist exiles into a unified force it hoped would topple the new socialist government of Nicaragua.

Waged a losing war

From 1982 to 1988, the FDN – run by both American and Nicaraguan CIA agents – waged a losing war against Nicaragua’s Sandinista government, the Cuban-supported socialists who’d overthrown U.S.-backed dictator Anastasio Somoza in 1979.

Blandon, who began working for the FDN’s drug operation in late 1981, testified that the drug ring sold almost a ton of cocaine in the United States that year – $54 million worth at prevailing wholesale prices. It was not clear how much of the money found its way back to the CIA’s army, but Blandon testified that “whatever we were running in L.A., the profit was going for the contra revolution.”

At the time of that testimony, Blandon was a full-time informant for the Drug Enforcement Administration, a job the U.S. Department of Justice got him after releasing him from prison in 1994.

Though Blandon admitted to crimes that have sent others away for life, the Justice Department turned him loose on unsupervised probation after only 28 months behind bars and has paid him more than $166,000 since, court records show.

“He has been extraordinarily helpful,” federal prosecutor O’Neale told Blandon’s judge in a plea for the trafficker’s release in 1994. Though O’Neale once described Blandon to a grand jury as “the biggest Nicaraguan cocaine dealer in the United States,” the prosecutor would not discuss him with the Mercury News.

Blandon’s boss in the FDN’s cocaine operation, Juan Norwin Meneses Cantarero, has never spent a day in a U.S. prison, even though the federal government has been aware of his cocaine dealings since at least 1974, records show.

Meneses – who ran the drug ring from his homes in the Bay Area – is listed in the DEA’s computers as a major international drug smuggler and was implicated in 45 separate federal investigations. Yet he and his cocaine-dealing relatives lived quite openly in the Bay Area for years, buying homes, bars, restaurants, car lots and factories.

“I even drove my own cars, registered in my name,” Meneses said during a recent interview in Nicaragua.

Meneses’ organization was “the target of unsuccessful investigative attempts for many years,” O’Neale acknowledged in a 1994 affidavit. But records and interviews revealed that a number of those probes were stymied not by the elusive Meneses but by agencies of the U.S. government.

CIA hampered probes

Agents from four organizations – the DEA, U.S. Customs, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and the California Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement – have complained that investigations were hampered by the CIA or unnamed “national-security” interests.

One 1988 investigation by a U.S. Senate subcommittee ran into a wall of official secrecy at the Justice Department.

In that case, congressional records show, Senate investigators were trying to determine why the U.S. attorney in San Francisco, Joseph Russoniello, had given $36,000 back to a Nicaraguan cocaine dealer arrested by the FBI.

The money was returned, court records show, after two contra leaders sent letters to the court swearing that the drug dealer had been given the cash to buy weapons for guerrillas.

After Nicaraguan police arrested Meneses on cocaine charges in Managua in 1991, his judge expressed astonishment that the infamous smuggler went unmolested by American drug agents during his years in the United States.

His seeming invulnerability amazed American authorities as well.

A Customs agent who investigated Meneses in 1980 before transferring elsewhere said he was reassigned to San Francisco seven years later “and I was sitting in some meetings and here’s Meneses’ name again. And I can remember thinking, `Holy cow, is this guy still around?’ ”

Blandon led an equally charmed life. For at least five years he brokered massive amounts of cocaine to the black gangs of Los Angeles without being arrested. But his luck changed overnight.

On Oct. 27, 1986, agents from the FBI, the IRS, local police and the Los Angeles County sheriff fanned out across Southern California and raided more than a dozen locations connected to Blandon’s cocaine operation. Blandon and his wife, along with numerous Nicaraguan associates, were arrested on drug and weapons charges.

The search-warrant affidavit reveals that local drug agents knew plenty about Blandon’s involvement with cocaine and the CIA’s army nearly 10 years ago.

“Danilo Blandon is in charge of a sophisticated cocaine smuggling and distribution organization operating in Southern California,” L.A. County sheriff’s Sgt. Tom Gordon said in the 1986 affidavit. “The monies gained from the sales of cocaine are transported to Florida and laundered through Orlando Murillo, who is a high-ranking officer of a chain of banks in Florida named Government Securities Corporation. From this bank the monies are filtered to the contra rebels to buy arms in the war in Nicaragua.”

Raids a spectacular failure

Despite their intimate knowledge of Blandon’s operations, the police raids were a spectacular failure. Every location had been cleaned of anything remotely incriminating. No one was ever prosecuted.

Ron Spear, a spokesman for Los Angeles County Sheriff Sherman Block, said Blandon somehow knew that he was under police surveillance.

FBI records show that soon after the raids, Blandon’s defense attorney, Bradley Brunon, called the sheriff’s department to suggest that his client’s troubles stemmed from a most unlikely source: a recent congressional vote authorizing $100 million in military aid to the contras.

According to a December 1986 FBI teletype, Brunon told the officers that the “CIA winked at this sort of thing. . . . (Brunon) indicated that now that U.S. Congress had voted funds for the Nicaraguan contra movement, U.S. government now appears to be turning against organizations like this.”

That FBI report, part of the files of former Iran-contra special prosecutor Lawrence Walsh, was made public only last year, when it was released by the National Archives at the San Jose Mercury News’ request.

Blandon has also implied that his cocaine sales were, for a time, CIA-approved. He told a San Francisco federal grand jury in 1994 that once the FDN began receiving American taxpayer dollars, the CIA no longer needed his kind of help.

None of the government agencies known to have been involved with Meneses and Blandon would provide the Mercury News with any information about them, despite Freedom of Information Act requests.

Blandon’s lawyer, Brunon, said in an interview that his client never told him directly that he was selling cocaine for the CIA, but the prominent Los Angeles defense attorney drew his own conclusions from the “atmosphere of CIA and clandestine activities” that surrounded Blandon and his Nicaraguan friends.

“Was he involved with the CIA? Probably. Was he involved with drugs? Most definitely,” Brunon said. “Were those two things involved with each other? They’ve never said that, obviously. They’ve never admitted that. But I don’t know where these guys get these big aircraft.”

That very topic arose during the sensational 1992 cocaine-trafficking trial of Meneses after he was arrested in Nicaragua in connection with a staggering 750-kilo shipment of cocaine. His chief accuser was his friend Enrique Miranda, a relative and former Nicaraguan military intelligence officer who had been Meneses’ emissary to the cocaine cartel of Bogota, Colombia. Miranda pleaded guilty to drug charges and agreed to cooperate in exchange for a seven-year sentence.

In a long, handwritten statement he read to Meneses’ jury, Miranda revealed the deepest secrets of the Meneses drug ring, earning his old boss a 30-year prison sentence in the process.

“He (Norwin) and his brother Luis Enrique had financed the contra revolution with the benefits of the cocaine they sold,” Miranda wrote. “This operation, as Norwin told me, was executed with the collaboration of high-ranking Salvadoran military personnel. They met with officials of the Salvadoran air force, who flew (planes) to Colombia and then left for the U.S., bound for an Air Force base in Texas, as he told me.”

Meneses – who has close personal and business ties to a Salvadoran air-force commander and former CIA agent named Marcos Aguado – declined to discuss Miranda’s statements during an interview at a prison outside Managua in January. He is scheduled to be paroled this summer, after nearly five years in custody.

U.S. General Accounting Office records confirm that El Salvador’s air force was supplying the CIA’s Nicaraguan guerrillas with aircraft and flight support services throughout the mid-1980s.

The same day the Mercury News requested official permission to interview Miranda, he disappeared.

While out on a routine weekend furlough, Miranda failed to return to the Nicaraguan jail where he’d been living since 1992. Though his jailers, who described him as a model prisoner, claimed Miranda had escaped, they didn’t call the police until a Mercury News correspondent showed up and discovered he was gone.

NEVER HERD OF AGIAN

40 - MR.RICH

For the better part of a decade, a E OAKLAND Bay Area drug ring sold tons of cocaine to the Crips and Bloods street gangs of Los Angeles and funneled millions in drug profits to an arm of the contra guerrillas of Nicaragua run by the Central Intelligence Agency, the San Jose Mercury News has found.

This drug network opened the first pipeline between Colombia’s cocaine cartels and the black neighborhoods of Los Angeles, a city now known as the “crack” capital of the world. The cocaine that flooded in helped spark a crack explosion in urban America – and provided the cash and connections needed for L.A.’s gangs to buy weapons.

It is one of the most bizarre alliances in modern history: the union of a U.S.-backed army attempting to overthrow a revolutionary socialist government and the “gangstas” of Compton and South-Central Los Angeles.

The army’s financiers – who met with CIA agents before and during the time they were selling the drugs in L.A. – delivered cut-rate cocaine to the gangs through a young South-Central crack dealer named Ricky Donnell Ross.

Unaware of his suppliers’ military and political connections, “Freeway Rick” turned the cocaine powder into crack and wholesaled it to gangs across the country.

Drug cash for the contras

Court records show the cash was then used to buy equipment for a guerrilla army named the Fuerza Democratica Nicaraguense (Nicaraguan Democratic Force) or FDN, the largest of several anti-communist groups commonly called the contras.

While the FDN’s war is barely a memory today, black America is still dealing with its poisonous side effects. Urban neighborhoods are grappling with legions of homeless crack addicts. Thousands of young black men are serving long prison sentences for selling cocaine – a drug that was virtually unobtainable in black neighborhoods before members of the CIA’s army brought it into South-Central in the 1980s at bargain-basement prices.

And the L.A. gangs, which used their enormous cocaine profits to arm themselves and spread crack across the country, are still thriving.

“There is a saying that the ends justify the means,” former FDN leader and drug dealer Oscar Danilo Blandon Reyes testified during a recent cocaine-trafficking trial in San Diego. “And that’s what Mr. Bermudez (the CIA agent who commanded the FDN) told us in Honduras, OK? So we started raising money for the contra revolution.”

Recently declassified reports, federal court testimony, undercover tapes, court records here and abroad and hundreds of hours of interviews over the past 12 months leave no doubt that Blandon was no ordinary drug dealer.

Shortly before Blandon – who had been the drug ring’s Southern California distributor – took the stand in San Diego as a witness for the U.S. Department of Justice, federal prosecutors obtained a court order preventing defense lawyers from delving into his ties to the CIA.

Blandon, one of the FDN’s founders in California, “will admit that he was a large-scale dealer in cocaine, and there is no additional benefit to any defendant to inquire as to the Central Intelligence Agency,” Assistant U.S. Attorney L.J. O’Neale argued in his motion shortly before Ross’ trial on cocaine-trafficking charges in March.

The 5,000-man FDN, records show, was created in mid-1981 when the CIA combined several existing groups of anti-communist exiles into a unified force it hoped would topple the new socialist government of Nicaragua.

Waged a losing war

From 1982 to 1988, the FDN – run by both American and Nicaraguan CIA agents – waged a losing war against Nicaragua’s Sandinista government, the Cuban-supported socialists who’d overthrown U.S.-backed dictator Anastasio Somoza in 1979.

Blandon, who began working for the FDN’s drug operation in late 1981, testified that the drug ring sold almost a ton of cocaine in the United States that year – $54 million worth at prevailing wholesale prices. It was not clear how much of the money found its way back to the CIA’s army, but Blandon testified that “whatever we were running in L.A., the profit was going for the contra revolution.”

At the time of that testimony, Blandon was a full-time informant for the Drug Enforcement Administration, a job the U.S. Department of Justice got him after releasing him from prison in 1994.

Though Blandon admitted to crimes that have sent others away for life, the Justice Department turned him loose on unsupervised probation after only 28 months behind bars and has paid him more than $166,000 since, court records show.

“He has been extraordinarily helpful,” federal prosecutor O’Neale told Blandon’s judge in a plea for the trafficker’s release in 1994. Though O’Neale once described Blandon to a grand jury as “the biggest Nicaraguan cocaine dealer in the United States,” the prosecutor would not discuss him with the Mercury News.

Blandon’s boss in the FDN’s cocaine operation, Juan Norwin Meneses Cantarero, has never spent a day in a U.S. prison, even though the federal government has been aware of his cocaine dealings since at least 1974, records show.

Meneses – who ran the drug ring from his homes in the Bay Area – is listed in the DEA’s computers as a major international drug smuggler and was implicated in 45 separate federal investigations. Yet he and his cocaine-dealing relatives lived quite openly in the Bay Area for years, buying homes, bars, restaurants, car lots and factories.

“I even drove my own cars, registered in my name,” Meneses said during a recent interview in Nicaragua.

Meneses’ organization was “the target of unsuccessful investigative attempts for many years,” O’Neale acknowledged in a 1994 affidavit. But records and interviews revealed that a number of those probes were stymied not by the elusive Meneses but by agencies of the U.S. government.

CIA hampered probes

Agents from four organizations – the DEA, U.S. Customs, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and the California Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement – have complained that investigations were hampered by the CIA or unnamed “national-security” interests.

One 1988 investigation by a U.S. Senate subcommittee ran into a wall of official secrecy at the Justice Department.

In that case, congressional records show, Senate investigators were trying to determine why the U.S. attorney in San Francisco, Joseph Russoniello, had given $36,000 back to a Nicaraguan cocaine dealer arrested by the FBI.

The money was returned, court records show, after two contra leaders sent letters to the court swearing that the drug dealer had been given the cash to buy weapons for guerrillas.

After Nicaraguan police arrested Meneses on cocaine charges in Managua in 1991, his judge expressed astonishment that the infamous smuggler went unmolested by American drug agents during his years in the United States.

His seeming invulnerability amazed American authorities as well.

A Customs agent who investigated Meneses in 1980 before transferring elsewhere said he was reassigned to San Francisco seven years later “and I was sitting in some meetings and here’s Meneses’ name again. And I can remember thinking, `Holy cow, is this guy still around?’ ”

Blandon led an equally charmed life. For at least five years he brokered massive amounts of cocaine to the black gangs of Los Angeles without being arrested. But his luck changed overnight.

On Oct. 27, 1986, agents from the FBI, the IRS, local police and the Los Angeles County sheriff fanned out across Southern California and raided more than a dozen locations connected to Blandon’s cocaine operation. Blandon and his wife, along with numerous Nicaraguan associates, were arrested on drug and weapons charges.

The search-warrant affidavit reveals that local drug agents knew plenty about Blandon’s involvement with cocaine and the CIA’s army nearly 10 years ago.

“Danilo Blandon is in charge of a sophisticated cocaine smuggling and distribution organization operating in Southern California,” L.A. County sheriff’s Sgt. Tom Gordon said in the 1986 affidavit. “The monies gained from the sales of cocaine are transported to Florida and laundered through Orlando Murillo, who is a high-ranking officer of a chain of banks in Florida named Government Securities Corporation. From this bank the monies are filtered to the contra rebels to buy arms in the war in Nicaragua.”

Raids a spectacular failure

Despite their intimate knowledge of Blandon’s operations, the police raids were a spectacular failure. Every location had been cleaned of anything remotely incriminating. No one was ever prosecuted.

Ron Spear, a spokesman for Los Angeles County Sheriff Sherman Block, said Blandon somehow knew that he was under police surveillance.

FBI records show that soon after the raids, Blandon’s defense attorney, Bradley Brunon, called the sheriff’s department to suggest that his client’s troubles stemmed from a most unlikely source: a recent congressional vote authorizing $100 million in military aid to the contras.

According to a December 1986 FBI teletype, Brunon told the officers that the “CIA winked at this sort of thing. . . . (Brunon) indicated that now that U.S. Congress had voted funds for the Nicaraguan contra movement, U.S. government now appears to be turning against organizations like this.”

That FBI report, part of the files of former Iran-contra special prosecutor Lawrence Walsh, was made public only last year, when it was released by the National Archives at the San Jose Mercury News’ request.

Blandon has also implied that his cocaine sales were, for a time, CIA-approved. He told a San Francisco federal grand jury in 1994 that once the FDN began receiving American taxpayer dollars, the CIA no longer needed his kind of help.

None of the government agencies known to have been involved with Meneses and Blandon would provide the Mercury News with any information about them, despite Freedom of Information Act requests.

Blandon’s lawyer, Brunon, said in an interview that his client never told him directly that he was selling cocaine for the CIA, but the prominent Los Angeles defense attorney drew his own conclusions from the “atmosphere of CIA and clandestine activities” that surrounded Blandon and his Nicaraguan friends.

“Was he involved with the CIA? Probably. Was he involved with drugs? Most definitely,” Brunon said. “Were those two things involved with each other? They’ve never said that, obviously. They’ve never admitted that. But I don’t know where these guys get these big aircraft.”

That very topic arose during the sensational 1992 cocaine-trafficking trial of Meneses after he was arrested in Nicaragua in connection with a staggering 750-kilo shipment of cocaine. His chief accuser was his friend Enrique Miranda, a relative and former Nicaraguan military intelligence officer who had been Meneses’ emissary to the cocaine cartel of Bogota, Colombia. Miranda pleaded guilty to drug charges and agreed to cooperate in exchange for a seven-year sentence.

In a long, handwritten statement he read to Meneses’ jury, Miranda revealed the deepest secrets of the Meneses drug ring, earning his old boss a 30-year prison sentence in the process.

“He (Norwin) and his brother Luis Enrique had financed the contra revolution with the benefits of the cocaine they sold,” Miranda wrote. “This operation, as Norwin told me, was executed with the collaboration of high-ranking Salvadoran military personnel. They met with officials of the Salvadoran air force, who flew (planes) to Colombia and then left for the U.S., bound for an Air Force base in Texas, as he told me.”

Meneses – who has close personal and business ties to a Salvadoran air-force commander and former CIA agent named Marcos Aguado – declined to discuss Miranda’s statements during an interview at a prison outside Managua in January. He is scheduled to be paroled this summer, after nearly five years in custody.

U.S. General Accounting Office records confirm that El Salvador’s air force was supplying the CIA’s Nicaraguan guerrillas with aircraft and flight support services throughout the mid-1980s.

The same day the Mercury News requested official permission to interview Miranda, he disappeared.

While out on a routine weekend furlough, Miranda failed to return to the Nicaraguan jail where he’d been living since 1992. Though his jailers, who described him as a model prisoner, claimed Miranda had escaped, they didn’t call the police until a Mercury News correspondent showed up and discovered he was gone.

NEVER HERD OF AGIAN

41 - LIVE AND DIE IN EAST OAKLAND

OAKLAND – During the day, it’s like most neighborhoods in Oakland.

People shopping nearby stores for groceries. Children walking home from school with friends or family. Parcel and mail trucks making their deliveries.

At the intersection of Bancroft and 73rd Avenues, entrepreneurs stand on every corner selling candy, flowers or Oakland Raiders pillows and T-shirts.

But once the sun goes down, the streets empty and residents lock themselves in their homes for protection behind chain-link fences and wrought-iron windows.

From International Boulevard to Interstate 580 between 66th and 82nd avenues, the area known as “Beat 30″ to police distinguishes itself from the rest of the city in a gruesome way.

More homicides occurred in this area of Oakland in 2001 than anywhere else. Twelve people, including three women, were shot, beaten or stabbed to death in the area. They comprised 14 percent of all the homicides in Oakland.

Three were killed separately in May and three more in August. Three were killed at the same time in October, the city’s first triple homicide since 1993.

One man who asked his name not be revealed said he’s lived in the area of Beat 30 for decades. He said the “neighborhood is hell,” and he doesn’t “think there is any hope whatsoever.”

When you want to run an errand, you have to go out early in the morning so you can be home in the evening, he said. It’s gotten to the point where he tells women relatives he doesn’t want them coming over.

He said the majority of the people in the area are decent, that it’s just a small number who are causing trouble.

“The area is full of dope, you’ve got gangs, and most kids don’t go to school,” the man said, blaming problems on the parents. “They don’t give a damn and decent people are forced to keep their kids inside. Some people are so damn lazy they won’t even move their garbage cans inside.”

Oakland City Councilmember Moses Mayne (Eastmont-Seminary), whose district covers Beat 30, didn’t return repeated calls for comment.

Ali Al-den, manager of LT Market on Bancroft Avenue, said he has no problems running the neighborhood’s only market.

A large, steel black gate seals the store at night after a constant flow of customers during the day.

“We put it up two or three years ago to prevent robberies,” Al-den said.

Oakland City Councilmember and Vice Mayor Larry Reid (Elmhurst-East Oakland) said although a large percentage of the homicides occurred east of High Street, “there are so many positive things happening in East Oakland.”

Reid mentioned new housing going up near 73rd Avenue and MacArthur Boulevard, which is also getting millions of dollars in city streetscape and utility improvements. New housing developments are also planned at 90th and MacArthur Boulevard, and the Durant Square housing development will include a new Food 4 Less.

Also planned is a new retail and housing development on International Boulevard and 94th Avenue, and an expansion of the Albertson’s grocery store.

The crime rate “hasn’t deterred developers from coming to East Oakland and seeing its potential,” Reid said. “In the next three years, you’ll see some incredible changes.”

He blamed the homicides on drug dealing, minor squabbles and the preponderance of illegal guns available. At least, he said, the gang-related killings that plagued East Oakland in the past years have decreased.

MR.RICH

42 - LIVE AND DIE IN EAST OAKLAND

OAKLAND – During the day, it’s like most neighborhoods in Oakland.

People shopping nearby stores for groceries. Children walking home from school with friends or family. Parcel and mail trucks making their deliveries.

At the intersection of Bancroft and 73rd Avenues, entrepreneurs stand on every corner selling candy, flowers or Oakland Raiders pillows and T-shirts.

But once the sun goes down, the streets empty and residents lock themselves in their homes for protection behind chain-link fences and wrought-iron windows.

From International Boulevard to Interstate 580 between 66th and 82nd avenues, the area known as “Beat 30″ to police distinguishes itself from the rest of the city in a gruesome way.

More homicides occurred in this area of Oakland in 2001 than anywhere else. Twelve people, including three women, were shot, beaten or stabbed to death in the area. They comprised 14 percent of all the homicides in Oakland.

Three were killed separately in May and three more in August. Three were killed at the same time in October, the city’s first triple homicide since 1993.

One man who asked his name not be revealed said he’s lived in the area of Beat 30 for decades. He said the “neighborhood is hell,” and he doesn’t “think there is any hope whatsoever.”

When you want to run an errand, you have to go out early in the morning so you can be home in the evening, he said. It’s gotten to the point where he tells women relatives he doesn’t want them coming over.

He said the majority of the people in the area are decent, that it’s just a small number who are causing trouble.

“The area is full of dope, you’ve got gangs, and most kids don’t go to school,” the man said, blaming problems on the parents. “They don’t give a damn and decent people are forced to keep their kids inside. Some people are so damn lazy they won’t even move their garbage cans inside.”

Oakland City Councilmember Moses Mayne (Eastmont-Seminary), whose district covers Beat 30, didn’t return repeated calls for comment.

Ali Al-den, manager of LT Market on Bancroft Avenue, said he has no problems running the neighborhood’s only market.

A large, steel black gate seals the store at night after a constant flow of customers during the day.

“We put it up two or three years ago to prevent robberies,” Al-den said.

Oakland City Councilmember and Vice Mayor Larry Reid (Elmhurst-East Oakland) said although a large percentage of the homicides occurred east of High Street, “there are so many positive things happening in East Oakland.”

Reid mentioned new housing going up near 73rd Avenue and MacArthur Boulevard, which is also getting millions of dollars in city streetscape and utility improvements. New housing developments are also planned at 90th and MacArthur Boulevard, and the Durant Square housing development will include a new Food 4 Less.

Also planned is a new retail and housing development on International Boulevard and 94th Avenue, and an expansion of the Albertson’s grocery store.

The crime rate “hasn’t deterred developers from coming to East Oakland and seeing its potential,” Reid said. “In the next three years, you’ll see some incredible changes.”

He blamed the homicides on drug dealing, minor squabbles and the preponderance of illegal guns available. At least, he said, the gang-related killings that plagued East Oakland in the past years have decreased.

MR.RICH

43 - THE KILLING ZONE

This is a place dozens of murders were committed last year within walking distance of an 11-year-old’s doorstep.

This is a place eighth-graders learn about percentages and averages by studying homicide statistics from the streets that surround their classroom – numbers that represent gunned-down neighbors, friends and even family members.

This is a place a kid scared of being hit by crossfire jumps into the bathtub when he hears gunshots, because he’s learned it’s the safest place in his home to hide.

This is a place just two blocks from where the post-Super Bowl riot occurred last Sunday night.

This is a place fearful parents prohibit their children from walking or taking the bus to school, even if it’s only a matter of blocks.

This is a place a grandmother going a few steps to the corner store for a carton of milk must look over her shoulder and listen for unfamiliar footsteps.

This is a place the outside world treats as a crime scene. When news vans and reporters show up, it is because there is newly hung police tape blocking off a fresh murder. There is sorrow and outrage, and politicians promise to solve the problem – but the deadly pattern always continues.

This is East Oakland – where unrelenting violence affects even the smallest matters of everyday life. Take 11-year-old Rigoberto Mendoza. He never likes to be alone, because he finds comfort in knowing that “if anything happens, someone will be there to call the police.”

With huge brown eyes, long black lashes that match his spiky haircut, smooth face and fidgety fingers that have played countless video games, Rigo’s youthful looks belie the mature concerns that fill his mind.

The sofa in his living room is covered in fuzzy fabric and soft cushions, but it’s the last place he’d ever think of sitting.

It’s not the furniture, it’s just that it sits next to the living room window that still bears the beveled, round scar made by a random bullet – one that barely missed his father, who was relaxing on the couch at the time.

Though the bullet did not hurt Mr. Mendoza, it gravely wounded his son’s already fragile sense of security.

The small hole sits in the lower left corner of the window, with a diameter no bigger than a pencil eraser, and has been covered over with pink floral curtains hung by his mother. Yet it continues to bring out a fearful streak in this precocious preteen.

No fabric, however pretty, can conceal the dangers outside the small wood- framed house that sits in one of East Oakland’s toughest neighborhoods.

“I always want to stay away from that window,” says Rigoberto, who tells everyone he meets to just call him Rigo. “So if I’m watching TV or something, I stretch out on the floor instead.”

He sees nothing unusual in taking the precaution of lying on the carpet to watch his favorite show: “Worst-Case Scenario,” which details how to survive life-threatening situations such as how to escape from the trunk of a car by breaking out the taillight and pulling out wiring so that a hand can fit through and attract other drivers’ attention.

“It makes me feel better to know things like this,” Rigo said. “I’m always thinking of ways to save myself, so I’ll know what to do if anything bad happens to me.”

In his bedroom, located just a few steps from the kitchen, Rigo has taped paper posters of the Virgin Mary and a guardian angel to the wall just above his pillows, for protection.

As he stares at the white stucco ceiling as he tries to fall asleep each night, it’s not unusual to hear tires screeching, yelling at odd hours, dogs barking, sirens wailing and the occasional firing of a gun.

He’s got good reason to want all the protection he can get. A dozen of the 113 homicides in Oakland last year occurred within a mile of his home, which he shares with his parents and two sisters. An additional 17 happened less than two miles from his front door.

Like many kids in the East Bay, Rigo wears a black jacket every day with a patch that gives testament to his undying devotion to the Oakland Raiders. Even though the Coliseum is just a mile away from his home, Rigo has never seen a game there.

He did, however, have a front-row seat to the rioting that followed last weekend’s Super Bowl game because his home sits two blocks from International Boulevard, where most of the hooliganism was unleashed.

Because of the violence in the streets, Rigo rarely goes outside at all.

When he’s inside, the sound of gunfire sends him scrambling – especially if he’s home alone.

“I just drop to the floor – I get scared and terrified,” he said one recent afternoon. “I run to the bathroom and lock the door and get inside the bathtub. ”

Then he pulls the plastic shower curtain shut and curls up on the cool, white porcelain – an idea he got from watching action movies, he thinks, because he can’t exactly remember how he came to realize that was the safest place in the house.

“I just try to get as small as I can and stay there,” he said. “After a while I’ll take off my shoes, go to the door and stick my ear to the door to listen for footsteps. Sometimes I look under the door to see if I can see anyone walking around.”

And he’s always – always – on the lookout for anyone suspicious.

Asked what he’s looking for, he juts his head forward, lowers his chin to his chest, shifts his eyes from side to side and burrows his left hand inside his jacket.

“Anytime I see someone digging around like that, I get nervous,” Rigo says. “I always feel that wherever I go, I’m looking around when I get there thinking, please don’t tell me there’s someone with a gun around here who might go crazy.”

His parents, like many in the neighborhood, insist on dropping off and picking up their children from school each day – unwilling to let them walk or take the city buses out of concern for their safety.

Rigo is an honor roll student in the sixth grade at the E.C. Reems Academy of Technology and Arts six blocks away, a charter school owned and operated by the Center of Hope Community Church.

The school has a two-story main building and more classrooms in a converted two-story house that sits out front. Both are set just a few feet from a gritty stretch of MacArthur Boulevard between 82nd and 83rd avenues, behind heavy gray metal bars with chains and padlocks looped through the entry gates. Aging apartment complexes line the opposite sides of the street, like the elegantly named “Clarendon Gardens.” The name may sound lovely, but most of the units have bars over the windows, and the sign, once lined with neon lights, is faded.

The church sits just north of the campus; to the south, across from an overgrown ditch, sits Castlemont High School, where 15-year-old Tamellia Cobbs was a sophomore before she was caught in the crossfire in November and became “Number 97,” in the shorthand of the streets. Two men have been arrested in connection with her death.

Like Castlemont, E.C. Reems Academy lies in the midst of an area known to beat cops as “30X” in the flatlands of East Oakland, where the streets are numbered and the buildings are far more dilapidated than the million-dollar structures just a few miles north. The area – roughly bordered by East 14th Street and Bancroft Avenue between 66th and 82nd avenues – is one of the most deadly zones in the state.

Conversations about the killings are commonplace among the kids of East Oakland. It usually only takes only a few minutes of talking to one of the students before learning of some harrowing connection to violence.

In one classroom, three girls in one class have lost their fathers to violent crime over the past several years.

“Almost every kid here has been impacted in some way, whether it’s been immediate family members, relatives, a family friend or just someone they knew or recognized on the block,” said Reems principal Lisa Blair.

Eighty percent of the 350 students at E.C. Reems are African American, the other 20 percent Hispanic. There are no white or Asian students. Most come from poor families, and many are being raised by a single parent or live with grandparents or other relatives.

Blair said that when she first came to the school two years ago, she was struck by the “shell-shocked” look in many of the students’ eyes. She has worked hard to create a safe haven behind the iron gates of the school.

It’s hard to control what goes on beyond the blacktop, though.

At recess, Rigo and his classmates take turns crossing the street to play in a parking lot surrounded by a chain-link fence with a large red sign that reads “Park at your own risk” in capital letters.

Kids from Castlemont High often congregate on one end of the lot and, on one recent afternoon, a group of teens smoked between classes while students from the elementary school threw footballs and played catch a few feet away.

Interaction between the high school and elementary school students is rare, but they all see the garbage in the gutters and the gang-bangers speeding by in their souped-up sedans.

When classes began last September, one conversation with a student prompted eighth-grade teacher Carl Handy to hastily add another lesson to his already crowded curriculum: what students should do in case they witness a violent crime on campus.

“I just told them, if you see someone shooting, don’t get to pointing or looking or saying anything, or you could get us all killed – just come back here and we’ll call the police.”

Handy also brings another sobering aspect to his lessons by using local homicide statistics to teach mathematical principles such as percentages and ratios.

“I’m trying to make a positive out of a negative,” says Handy, a former probation officer who also worked as guard at the Leavenworth Federal Penitentiary.

Asked whether he worried such lessons might scare his students, Handy responds in a heartbeat.

“I’m more concerned about educating them,” he says.

Handy’s request for the grim data surprised Oakland homicide Lt. Brian Thiem at first, because no other high school teacher had requested such data from his department. On reflection, however, Thiem decided Handy’s idea is inspired.

“I think normally the assumption is that kids at that age don’t understand that kind of stuff, but I personally thought, ‘This is fantastic,’ because these kids deal with the realities of this violence all the time,” he says. “The more you can present to these kids here, you might save a couple lives.”

A similar lesson might not resonate the same way with students in affluent suburbs, he says, but when kids are already exposed to the goings-on of dope dealers and gangsters, it’s a good idea to address the “proverbial pink elephant in the living room” sooner rather than later.

Handy’s students confirm Thiem’s thesis.

“Basically I think it’s pretty cool because it’s pretty much what’s going on in my life,” says 13-year-old LaJazz Harper, whose older brother “is kind of in and out of jail” for various crimes.

“When you watch it on the news, it’s kind of boring and it’s sad, but (Mr. Handy) makes it fun for us,” she says one recent afternoon after his class. “The facts really stick in our head.”

Her classmate, Dominique Ewing, is similarly nonplussed by Mr. Handy’s morning lesson analyzing Oakland’s 2002 murder statistics through last October,

which included ruminations on the odds of 93 percent of the suspects being black, 2 percent Hispanic, 2 percent Asian and no percent white. Among victims,

68 percent were black males and 13 percent black females – many times more than all other ethnicities combined.

The students’ expressions are unchanged from the placid faces they wore during the previous lesson, which evaluated the basketball scoring statistics of the Golden State Warriors, the city’s professional basketball team.

“I’m pretty used to people getting killed,” says Ewing, who is 14 and sports rows of tight braids running over the top of his head and down the nape of his neck. His 21-year-old cousin Zillion Cash, was one of those statistics. Cash was killed on April 25, Oakland’s 29th homicide of 2002, outside his home on 55th Street. No arrests have been made.

Ewing – who recently transferred to a new school – went to the funeral. He guesses he’s been to at least 20 others over the past two years – almost all for friends and acquaintances who have died of highly unnatural causes.

A few months ago, he feared his own funeral was imminent when a stranger pointed a 9mm handgun at him and fired in his direction.

He ran but didn’t bother to call the police.

“I guess he thought I was someone else,” he says with a shrug.

Fifth-grade teacher Samantha Nester, a first-year teacher and student at UC Berkeley, says she has heard too many hair-raising stories to count since the beginning of the school year.

Because so many students come to school with their hands balled up into fists and jaws clenched from pent-up frustrations and fear, she’s worked coping-strategy sessions into her daily lesson plans.

“I thought I knew what it would be like,” says Nester, who lives in San Francisco. “But actually working here in the asphalt jungle, I realize I didn’t have a clue what it was like. . . . A lot of these kids have been to more funerals than I will ever go to in my lifetime.”

As for Rigo, he already knows that even if his good grades and gregarious personality get him out of East Oakland, danger will never be far behind.

He’s planning to follow his childhood dreams and become a firefighter after he graduates, just like the ones from New York that stare out from a Sept. 11 commemorative poster that hangs on his bedroom wall with sobering expressions.

“I guess I don’t really care if I die – I’d just really like to help someone else,” he says, his normally soft-spoken voice sounding steely with resolve. “I think as long as I die trying to save someone else, that’s OK.”

44 - MR.RICH

ABOUT THE SIDESHOWS

In accordance with the Measure H Charter Amendment, which was passed by the voters at the General Election of November 5, 1996, we have made an impartial financial analysis of the accompanying Council Agenda Report. Our analysis was limited to evaluating the grant in the following areas: (1) the grant’s role in the overall City goals and objectives; and (2) the grant’s impact on City funding.

The Police Department applied for and was awarded a one-year grant in an amount not to exceed two hundred and seventy thousand dollars ($270,000) from the State of California, Office of Traffic Safety. The funds will be used to support a Sideshow Abatement Program through increased law enforcement and public education. Sideshows involve reckless driving, exhibitions of speed, Driving Under the Influence (DUI), and driving without a license. These practices are not only dangerous, but also disrupt neighborhoods and cause severe traffic congestion.

The funds will be used for the following purposes:

Overtime for Police Supervisors, Officers and Technicians

$ 232,360

Travel for Traffic Seminar

$ 2,000

Public Education

$ 35,640

Total

$270,000

The City is not required to match any of the grant funds.

In our opinion, the proposed resolution is reasonable and merits favorable consideration by the City Council. We hereby recommend its approval.

Prepared by:

Jack McGinity, CPA

Issued by:

Roland E. Smith, CPA

City Auditor

December 31, 2002

45 - MR.RICH

California has experienced street gang problems for more than 70 years. Professionals who work with Hispanic street gangs should take the time to examine street gang history. Many current gang activities and rivalries can be traced back to the origins of specific gangs. One gang which particularly warrants study is the BB’S Street gang. Because of its growth and recruitment patterns from the 1960s until present, the BORDER BROTHERS Street gang is one of the largest, most well-known Hispanic street gangs in the nation.

BORDER BROTHERS gang has extended its reach well beyond the Los Angeles area, and expanded into many other states, Mexico, and Canada during the 1990s. Law enforcement officers have encountered BORDER BROTHERS Street members in central and northern California, Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Nevada, Arizona, Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, Texas, Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, Georgia, and on Native American lands. The membership of Border Brothers in California alone is estimated by law enforcement officers at more than 30,000. Intelligence information indicates that there may be as many as 30 different subsets/cliques of Border Brothers in California. This huge membership is the result of a massive Border Brothers cruitment program in the early 1990s, which also resulted in the expansion of Border Brothers and Midwestern states.

HISTORY

The Border Brothers in the 1960s. According to Sergeant Richard Valdemar, of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, the Border Brothers gang had its origins in racial prejudice. During the 1960s, the Clanton Street gang, a well-established Hispanic street gang, was in its second generation. Youth in the local neighborhood wanted to join the gang, but the membership of Clanton Street was limited to those youth who were American citizens from a pure Hispanic background. Youth who were undocumented immigrants or of mixed ancestry were not allowed to join the gang. Although turned away by Clanton Street, these juveniles still participated in criminal activities. Like many young juvenile offenders, they were arrested and sent to juvenile detention facilities. While in these facilities, their membership to Clanton Street was denied. As a result, these youth from the Clanton Street neighborhood formed their own gang. A young man, nicknamed “Glover,” was in a detention facility, and started to recruit mixed-race youth to form a gang. These youth were the original members of 18th Street. According to Sergeant Valdemar, the young man who started the Clanton Street Throw-aways lived on 18th Street, just four blocks away from the Clanton Street gang. The new gang adopted the name of his street. This street was located an area now known as the Rampart section of Los Angeles.

The 18th Street gang was the first Hispanic gang to break the racial membership barrier. This willingness to step across racial lines allowed rapid and unchecked growth in the gang’s membership, which was largely composed of immigrants and multi-racial youths. 18th Street also recruited heavily from the populations of illegal immigrants entering the United States from Mexico and South/Central America. Although primarily composed of Hispanics, some cliques of 18th Street have recruited African Americans, Asians, Caucasians, and Native Americans. Some tagger crews who operated within 18th Street territory were also actively recruited, but only if the crews had a reputation for violence. For example, West Side 18th Street “jumped in” 50 members of a tagger crew known as KWS, Kings With Style. KWS members were known by law enforcement to be involved in robbery, assaults, drive-by shootings, and murder.

Uniquely, the 18th Street gang members, though primarily turf-oriented, also travel to other areas and states for membership recruitment and illegal activities. This tendency to travel explains 18th Street’s wide-scale presence in many different states. However, while 18th Street members have dispersed the gang through relocation and targeted recruitment, the overall research on gangs still supports the idea that most gangs are indigenous to their areas of origination. Very few gangs send members out of state to recruit new members and to establish new cliques or sets of their gang. The 18th Street gang was the first Hispanic street gang to do this. Law enforcement intelligence supports the assumption that some of these recruits have been sent out with a specific purpose. At one time, intelligence indicated that “tagger crews” that were jumped in to 18th Street became “tax” collectors, enforcers, and narcotics distributors.

CRIMINAL ACTIVITY

Like most gangs, 18th Street is involved in many types of criminal activities, including auto theft, carjacking, drive-by shootings, drug sales, arms trafficking, extortion, rape, murder for hire, and murder. National and international drug trafficking seems to be 18th Street’s main criminal activity. Intelligence indicates that 18th street has established ties with the Mexican and Columbian drug cartels, which has impacted the Southwest border states in particular. Because of the large amount of drugs which 18th Street distributes and sells, the gang also has ties to the Mexican Mafia prison gang and many black street gangs. The connection between 18th Street and drug activity appears strong. Members 18th Street may also conceal their membership status, which may make prosecuting 18th Street drug cases more difficult. This gang also has been known to market “rock” cocaine, marijuana, tar heroin, and methamphetamine. As the methamphetamine market continues to expand across the United States, it can be expected that 18th Street’s street presence will similarly expand, leading to encounters with 18th Street in areas of the U.S. which have not previously seen this gang.

Tax collection is another area of criminal activity where 18th Street is well established. Typically, in an area that is claimed as territory by 18th Street, gang members will collect a tax from any business: legitimate or criminal. The potential taxpayers include street vendors, shop owners, prostitutes, and drug dealers, as well as the businesses which exist in the neighborhood. Members of 18th Street then threaten to kill any individual who refuses to pay the tax. In 1994 alone, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office prosecuted 30 murders that were the result of hits made by 18th Street gang members for failure to pay taxes.

As law enforcement puts pressure on the drug and violent criminal activities, some 18th Street gang members have become involved in non-violent criminal enterprises such as creating fraudulent Immigration and Naturalization Services (INS) identification cards, immigration papers, credit cards, bus passes, and even food stamps. The gang was once active in the cellular telephone cloning market, but this activity is on the decline due to the introduction of digital cellular telephone service.

CHARACTERISTICS

Members of 18th Street frequently adorn their bodies with tattoos. The most common tattoo is that of the number 18 (XVIII). The tattoos can be located anywhere on the body, and some members will cover their entire body with 18th Street tattoos, including placing an 18 on their foreheads or above their eyebrows. The number “666″ can also be used to represent 18th Street. The tattoos also might indicate the clique of 18th Street to which the individual belongs.

18th Street gang members wear many types of clothing. The colors most often seen are brown or black pants and a white T-shirt. Some 18th Street gang members also wear clothing from professional sports teams. The presence of 18th Street in a new community is usually discovered when graffiti appears. 18th Street uses graffiti to mark their turf, in the same manner used by most traditional Hispanic street gangs.

TRENDS

Some cliques of 18th Street have access to their own arsenal of weapons. Therefore, many law enforcement officers consider 18th Street gang members to be armed and dangerous during every encounter. Some 18th Street gang members in Los Angeles have access to automatic weapons, including Tech 9s, Mac 10s, Mac 11s, and AK-47s. It is common for 18th Street gang members to be armed with .25 and .380 caliber handguns, so caution should be used during field contacts. The 18th Street gang, as a whole, has a reputation for being extremely violent and ruthless. The possession and use of firearms only adds to this reputation.

Some cliques of 18th Street seem to be evolving to a higher level of sophistication and organization. This is probably due to connections the gang has maintained with the Mexican and Columbian drug cartels. Law enforcement projections and intelligence indicate that 18th Street gang membership will continue to grow, especially outside of California as new drug markets are established. The gang’s propensity for violence is also expected to increase.

18th Street is often referred to as the “Children’s Army” due to its recruitment of elementary and middle-school aged youth. The gang specializes in early indoctrination to the rules of the gang with these young members, who are told that leaving the gang will result in their death or the deaths of their loved ones. Thus, the gang’s influence on its members is profound. One mother, during interviews with criminal justice professionals working with her young son, stated: “A boss from 18th Street calls my son and tells him what to do.” Her son, a juvenile, had tattooed the number 18 on his forehead. She further stated: “Los Angeles gang members are not like [other] gang members. [The Los Angeles gang members] are more ruthless, commit more murders, deal more drugs.” Her son told his probation officer: “I cannot avoid associations with other 18th Street gang members because they call me all the time, and if I don’t go with them, they will say I am a ranker. There are rules you have to follow. There is only one way out, and that’s in a body bag.”

Al Valdez is currently employed as a District Attorney Investigator for Orange County, California. Valdez has a total of 21 years of experience with a special emphasis on narcotic and gang investigations and prosecutions. Currently, he is assigned to the North County T.A.R.G.E.T. (Tri-Agency Resource Gang Enforcement Team) Gang Unit for Orange County.

46 - n. Pablo Milanoff

Hey Hey Hey ! n. Pab Milanoff back in the house!

I know its been a while guys but I am back.

Enough of that pitter patter

Im here to say for real bitches that we need to stop fighting among ourselves and petition these guys and shit. I mean hit up the gay bars where all these goofy foofies hang out. Im when I mean stop fighitng amongst ourselves I didnt mean against MR. RICH. Because he is lame and he lives in Mountain fuckn View with his mama and four white kids. Im out muck love niggas.-n. Pablo Milanoff

47 - MR.RICH

*******GREAT BOOK TO BUY***********

THE DYING GROUNG By:NICHELLE D TRAMBLE AND (THE DYING GROUNG )

The setting is Oakland, 1989; the crack epidemic is at its height and turf wars are brewing. Maceo Redfield, currently on hiatus from college, is walking a fine line between respectability and involvement in Oakland’s drug underworld. As he waits in the neighborhood barbershop, one of his closest childhood friends, Holly Ford, brings him the news of the murder of Billy Crane, the third member of their childhood trio and a successful drug dealer. Felicia, Billy’s girlfriend and Maceo’s true love, is on the run and suspected of setting up the hit. As he searches for Felicia and the answer to the mystery of Billy’s murder, Maceo is drawn deeper into a world in which dealers, players, and interlopers, obeying a code of honor all their own, engage in a deadly game to capture the heart of Oakland. When Maceo uncovers the truth about Billy, the story builds to a terrifying and painful

48 - MR.RICH

A 13-year-old boy and two adults were killed in two bursts of assault-weapon fire between rival Latino gangs in Oakland in one of the worst outbreaks of violence in years, police said Tuesday as they increased patrols to prevent retaliation.

Nine people were wounded in the incidents Monday night at 82nd and Bancroft avenues and, less than two hours later, at 94th Avenue and A Street. Both followed a fracas and gunfire between the groups at a Hayward cemetery Monday afternoon.

The youngest victim, Hugo Cruz, 13, died at 8 a.m. Tuesday at Highland Hospital. Also killed was Judy Mendez, 19, of Oakland. The name of the third victim, a 32-year-old man, was not released pending notification of his family.

Police have made no arrests in what Oakland police Officer Danielle Ashford, department spokeswoman, called gang-related incidents.

“The later shooting was in direct retaliation for the earlier shooting at 82nd Avenue,” Ashford said. “That, in turn, stemmed from an altercation at the cemetery in Hayward where shots were fired.”

Ashford would not say whether all the victims were gang members. But she said the 19-year-old woman and the 13-year-old boy “were both at a service to mourn the death of a gang member.”

The day’s violence began at the Holy Sepulchre Cemetery on Mission Boulevard in Hayward.

One group at the cemetery was mourning the death of Alfonso Ramirez, 21, a member of a Hayward gang called Vario South Garden, who apparently hanged himself Sept. 6 by tying himself to metal framing in a pickup truck in San Leandro, authorities said.

A second group was mourning Ulises Pineda, 25, of Oakland, who was shot and killed Sept. 3 on the 1100 block of 107th Avenue in East Oakland. Police believe Pineda and his mourners are associated with Oakland’s Border Brothers gang.

Hayward police responded in force at 3:40 p.m. when the two groups, numbering at least 200 people, got into an argument that led to gunfire, said Hayward police Sgt. Mark Mosier. No one was struck by bullets, but a 17-year- old boy who is a member of the Hayward gang was chased down and beaten. The youth was in stable condition Tuesday.

“It’s truly a tragedy when gang violence in a community can cross boundaries into such a sacred place such as a Catholic cemetery,” said Jeff Sloan, cemetery manager.

The violence then shifted to Oakland at about 5:15 p.m. Monday, when a man wearing a coat and tie — and who police believe attended one of the funerals — fired an AK-47 assault rifle at a 1992 Lincoln at 82nd and Bancroft avenues.

The driver of the bullet-riddled car sped to Highland Hospital in Oakland, where it crashed into a fence. Mendez, who was riding in the car, died Monday night. Hugo died Tuesday morning, and four others in the car were wounded, police said.

The second shooting happened shortly before 7 p.m. Monday when a man with an assault rifle sprayed a group of people at a makeshift shrine for Pineda at 94th Avenue and A Street, about 1 1/2 miles away. A 32-year-old man was killed and five others were hurt.

Pineda’s memorial was dismantled Tuesday, but a piece of yellow police tape and police interview cards remained, along with graffiti sprayed on the sidewalk with phrases such as “94th Locos” and “RIP Boo Boo,” Pineda’s nickname.

Pineda’s sister, Ernestina Najera, 40, of Oakland told The Chronicle on Tuesday that her brother wasn’t involved in gangs or drugs. Najera said her family, including parents Agripino and Francisca Pineda, attended Pineda’s funeral in Hayward and heard gunshots.

“We all ran,” Najera said in Spanish.

Najera said she had no idea why the incident at the Hayward cemetery prompted the later shootings in Oakland. Her family was still trying to cope with Pineda’s death, she said.

The Hayward gang, also known by its initials VSG, frequents South Garden Avenue in Hayward and has about 50 to 60 members, Mosier said. The Border Brothers gang in East Oakland, also known as Bordertown Boys or the 94th Avenue Locos, is a relatively new group in that neighborhood and does not appear to be affiliated with any larger gang.

The Oakland gang has been feuding with a branch of the Surenos, a Latino gang whose turf is nearby. The two groups are fighting for pride rather than over drug turf, police said.

Ashford said police added new patrols Tuesday in parts of East Oakland frequented by both groups. She said police planned to deploy extra officers for the rest of the week.

Officers from units known as crime reduction teams plan to target intersections where members of both gangs are known to congregate. “We will not be harassing people,” Ashford said. “People have a right to congregate in their community. But we will also make sure that there is no additional gang activity.”

Ashford said beat officers would be extra careful because the killers in Monday night’s incidents “have automatic weapons and have shown willingness to fire into a crowd of people.”

Monday‚Äö√Ñ√∂‚àö√ë‚àö¥s violence in the East Bay

Three people were killed and nine others wounded in a spree of gang violence in the East Bay that began at a cemetery and played out on the streets of Oakland. Police said the shootings involved members of two Latino gangs.. 1) 3:40 p.m.: Shots fired between groups attending two funerals at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in Hayward. One group was attending a funeral of a young man who apparently hadhanged himself, while the other was mourning the victim of a Sept. 3 homicide in Oakland. 2) 5:15 p.m.: A 19-year-old woman riding in a car was shot and killed at 82nd and Bancroft avenues, Oakland, when a man wearing a coat and tie fired an AK-47 assault rifleinto a crowded 1992 Lincoln. 3) 5:24 p.m.: The Lincoln crashed into a fence at Highland Hospital in Oakland. Another wounded passenger, a 13-year-old boy, died at 8 a.m. Tuesday. Four other wounded passengers were treated at the hospital. 4) 6:52 p.m.: A man using an assault rifle sprayed a crowd of people gathered at a shrine near the corner of 94th Avenue and A Street, wounding six people. One of the wounded, a 32-year-old Oakland man, later died.The Chronicle Source: Oakland Police Dept., ESRI, GDT

49 - lil miss cuzzo

wassuper this lil miss cuzzzo from the town and i dont give a fuck im gone stay swangin the east 2 i die

50 - LiL EaSt OaKlAnD

MaN ItS AlL BoUt ThAt ToWn ShIt Ya Da Di MeAn

NiGgaS AiNt EvEn KnOwInG HoW HaRd ThAT ShIt UsE

To Be CrAcKiNg I AlWaYz UsE To Be At ThAt ShIt

UnTiL tHe PoLiCe StArTeD HaTeN BuT We StILl GoN Be HyPHy Ne-WaY I mEaN If YoU FrOm ThA ToWn ThEn

YoU WaS BoRn ThAt WAY BuT Im OuT So EvErY Do WaT YalL Do HaLla At ChA BoI

HEy HEy Go Stupid

74 HoLlEy

DnI BoI YoU DoNt WaNt It!!!!