Kudos to the Sunnyside City Council on the gang ordinance it will likely take action on next Monday.
That and the joint meeting with the Sunnyside School Board held earlier this week are a good beginning.
But help is needed.
Referenced during the city council meeting this past Monday was a shooting death that occurred two weeks ago.
That shooting allegedly involved four 15-year-old Sunnyside youths. But it took place in Outlook, well outside of the city limits.
And that points to the need for inclusion of Yakima County in the discussion on gangs. Maybe the gang ordinance will not only catch on in other cities, but with county officials, as well.
After all, if Sunnyside's gang ordinance is successful it may mean that gang members will simply journey to Grandview, Mabton, Prosser or unincorporated areas under county authority.
Areas where an ordinance making it unlawful to belong to a criminal gang is not yet on the books.
Maybe with Sunnyside's lead, it will be.
Help is needed from the state, since a city ordinance violation will not carry the weight of a state felony.
Whether we need louder or different voices in Olympia, I'm not sure.
What I am sure of is that legislators had an opportunity to get after the gang issue and let it slide by.
Yes, kudos to Sunnyside.
But shame on the state legislature for not showing leadership where it counts-gangs and other crime issues-while micromanaging the lives of everyday upstanding citizens, which is most of us.
1 - John Fannin • May 16, 2007 • 3:53 PM
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