Friday, November 20, 2009

Political Polish & Street Smarts

In the dangerous—and so often ineffective—work of gang intervention, it is crucial to have political polish to accomplish the necessary work with criminal justice, medical, and government professionals called upon in the course of that work, and the necessary street smarts to deal with the gangs; a leadership combination that is extremely rare.

The Lampstand program leadership model, built on criminal/carceral experiential knowledge and graduate level college accomplishment, can create deep knowledge leaders who can bring these into congruence.

This article in the Los Angeles Times examines the current situation there, as public leadership tries to fashion an effective and well-regulated program.

An excerpt.

“A city-sponsored training academy for gang intervention workers will open at least a year later than Los Angeles officials had hoped after a collision of philosophies and egos -- a hitch in the city's effort to modernize its campaign against street violence.

“Officials said this week that an independent panel has selected the Advancement Project, the legal advocacy, civil rights and public policy group, as the winner of a bidding process to run the academy.

“But that bid was never supposed to occur. The city's original plan -- to meld the best practices of two gang intervention programs into an "official" curriculum -- collapsed, according to interviews with city officials and City Hall advisors.

“Now, the academy isn't expected to open until at least the spring of 2010 -- a year later than originally envisioned. And it's not over yet: The head of a group that lost the bid called the selection process flawed and pledged to appeal the decision into next year, when the City Council will be asked to sign off on the contract.”