The ------------

Injunction junction - What's your function?
Oxnard, Calif.

Oxnard is joining the ranks of about 40 other cities nationwide who have
sought to curb gang behavior and lifestyles with a simple court order known
as a "civil injunction".

According to police in this city of 200-thousand souls, the injunction is
targeting about one thousand known gang members belonging to the
multi-generational "La Colonia Chiques".  La Colonia Chiques, as a gang, has
been home-based in the "La Colonia" district of Oxnard for many decades.
Oxnard as a city flourished after World War Two when servicemen from all
parts of the United States were sent to California for the Pacific theater
conflicts and after their duty was up, many made Oxnard their home.  Oxnard
grew, but it grew away and out from its Mexican base, 'el centro' - the
small enclave of homes for Mexican families known then and now as "La

Crime and violence has not been a stranger to Oxnard, however, in the past
decades murders were averaging a dozen per year and street crimes such as
robberies, car thefts, and assaults reached a peak of over 3,000 recorded
events by the Oxnard Police Department during the past three years alone.

Last year the murder toll reached 22 and something had to happen to
assist the police to handle gang-related crimes forced the hand of the
City of Oxnard to seek outside help.  That assistance came in the form of a
suggestion by Ventura County District Attorney Greg Totten and backed by the
recommendation of Ventura County Sheriff Bob Brooks, that the City of Oxnard
implement a tool known as an injunction.

In late May, 2004, a Ventura County Superior Courts judge approved the use
of an injunction and since that approval, the Oxnard Police Department has
been busy serving known gang-members with a summons and packet of
information that provides the rules for conduct.

In summary, the basic rules are: 
Don't intimidate witnesses, 
Don't associate with other Colonia Chiques gang members, (with some exceptions),
Don't possess guns or dangerous weapons,
Don't engage in fighting, Don't use
gang gestures (or more commonly known as 'gang signs'), 
Don't  wear gang clothing.  [ The gang has chosen Dallas Cowboy trademark colors of blue and
white and the single Texas Star to identify their gang ], 
Stay away from drugs without a prescription, 
Don't engage in activities associated with drug sales,
Stay away from alcohol,
Don't graffiti or possess graffiti tools,
Don't trespass on property without written consent of owner,
Be out of public in the safety zone between 10:00 pm and sunrise (some exceptions)
[ This public safety zone for Oxnard was designed based on crime statistics and frequency of reported crimes ],
Don't act as a lookout,
Obey all laws.

Seems simple enough as over 99% of the city's residents are not effected by
this civil injunction, and the restrictions are aimed at public behavior
where the police have assured targeted members that activities inside their
homes are not impacted by the injunction.   However, voices from all corners
of the city have erupted to loudly protest this net thrown over the problem
which some critics feel may affect more than just the targeted gang members.

Dolly Villa is one of the more vocal critics, and she is not a gang member,
however, she resides in La Colonia and feels that the injunction is aimed at
more than just skin-heads who wear white tee-shirts and sport tattoos
detailing their history of affiliation.  Dolly organized early, right after
the first announcement of the injunction and she set to raise money to help
get a lawyer to file against the first volley in what would soon become a
legal battlefield.  Ms Villa's first public event was a car wash.  The first
location, a city- owned park, was permitted, but of course the permit was
misfiled and the washing activities were driven off-site by the police.  A
new site was quickly found and optimized to get cars, water, and La Colonia
volunteers busy at raising funds.  Dolly collected several hundred dollars
that day and then proceeded to get tee-shirts made.  The Tee's were designed
with an anti-injunction message and emblazoned with a large star similar to
the Dallas Cowboys star.  Dolly told the city council that the tee-shirts
have been sold to lawyers, probation officers, professional people and of
course, the common local citizen and specifically to buyers outside the
Colonia neighborhood.  Dolly stated that Police have harassed her already
and she's been told that people wearing that tee-shirt are subject for

Other citizens have come regularly to the city council to lambaste the
police, the DA, and everyone else who seemed in favor of this injunction.
The debate against the injunction has drawn more than locally known Latino
radicals.  The debate has produced regular citizenry such as Anglo
housewives, African-American businessmen, and younger people of an age where
their naivety is overshadowed by their passionate opposition to the largely
favored move by Oxnard to curtail crime in a city that is desperately
attempting to improve its image in mostly white and affluent Ventura County.

The biggest complaint against the whole injunction is that the community was
not presented with this as a proposal, nor were the most effected
neighborhoods, within the safety zone, approached with the idea by either
the police, the city, or even the county.  The injunction swooped upon the
city in a flash and by time anyone knew it was coming, the District Attorney
had assigned a full time attorney to monitor and subsidize the injunction in
all phases of its operation.  The Oxnard PD assigned a unit to serve the
injunctions, a training officer to teach the entire force the how's and why'
s of the injunction, and the Chief Art Lopez oversees the whole process.
Chief Lopez has boiled the need for an injunction into a three minute
overview that will leave you speechless against the injunction.

Oxnard is waging its battle to curtail and contain the menace of street
crime and turf warfare.  To date, gang members have, perhaps, better
organized and have become more united in fighting this civil injunction.
The new and renewed partnership amongst the gang may bring about some
surprising and perhaps peaceful changes to the modus operandi of this
culture-based and turf-secured band of brothers and heinas.

Oxnard now becomes the new junction along the road of other injunctions
which have been paved to modify outlaw areas of normally quiet cities.  The
future may hold a new peace and quiet for the city of Oxnard while the plans
of La Colonia Chiques focus on getting a defense, a community voice, and a
method to conduct business outside of the restrictions of the newly imposed
civil injunction.

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