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Gang ordinance right step in making our town safe

Bravo to the Sunnyside City Council for addressing the growing issue of gangs and gang violence. I for one will be in attendance this coming Monday night to hear what the council decides on the issue of gangs.

Gangs have been and are becoming again a growing problem in our community. We heavily put a dent in gang problems and took back our community years ago when the problem was getting out of hand. I for one hope the Sunnyside council unanimously approves the ordinance making it illegal for any sort of gang activity in our community.

I hope Sunnyside City Manager Bob Stockwell presents to the Council next Monday an airtight ordinance with no loopholes that allow for these "gang bangers" to get out of being held accountable.

Gangs are a problem in our community. Gang members intimidate our children at school, make us cautious to walk down the street or just plain make one want to move away from Sunnyside because of the inconvenience.

I am sure the ACLU will have something to say about the ordinance the Sunnyside council is looking at passing. I am sure those who live outside of our community in a fancy Seattle suburb, not dealing with the everyday issue of gangs, will say we are violating people's rights with the ordinance. If the council doesn't want to say it, I will offer a few choice words for the ACLU.

It is about time we as a community start holding people, gang members, criminals and parents accountable for their actions. If that means violating these criminals rights, so be it. They violate my rights, my children's rights, my neighbor's rights and my community's rights to feel free and safe. Most of these gang members are children and last time I checked the only right a child had was to be fed, loved and have a roof over their head.

The one problem the city will have in enforcing this ordinance, though, is the juvenile justice system is a joke, especially in Yakima County. Why do you think the adult heads of these gangs prey on our young? It is because nothing will happen to them.

Our city should write an ordinance requiring these gang bangers and their parents to do community service, also.

I strongly encourage Sunnyside council members to pass the gang ordinance. It is time we take our community in hand before it is taken over again by gang members. We, as a community, should back our city council with this ordinance. This ordinance will take a big step in making our town safe again.

/s/ Michael Kantman, Sunnyside

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