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Councilman's Tie to Gang Criticized

June 29, 1989

My thanks to Times staff writers Rick Holguin and Lee Harris for bringing Norwalk City Councilman Marcial (Rod) Rodriguez out of his closet.

In the article, "Clamping Down on Gangs" (Times, June 11) Councilman Rodriguez is quoted: "You'd see the guys out there then, just like today, walking on the streets, standing on the corner." He also was described as running with members of a local gang although he never considered himself a member.

Whether or not he considered himself a member is not the real issue--just associating with a gang, to be seen by others, to gain some measure of personal pride and glory, is bad enough.

Then, on top of this, Councilman Rodriguez is quoted: "You belong to the Rotary, the Kiwanis, to the PTA. . . . We all have a sense, a need of belonging. What makes these kids so different?"

Rod, take my advice and do not run for reelection. With that statement, you have lost all votes from Rotarians, Kiwanians, parents and teachers. How dare you lump gangs (which only do bad) with these fine civic organizations, which do good for all people!

As for the wimpy excuse of "a need of belonging," what is wrong with the Boy Scouts, the Girl Scouts, church youth groups, Little League or the YMCA? And there is nothing wrong with studying to make the Honor Roll! These are the types of organizations I would like my kids to be involved in.

I grew up in Norwalk, and have seen the gangs and their "calling cards" of graffiti, egged cars and houses. I even went to school with them. And even then I was appalled at their lack of respect for their superiors, and lack of interest in learning.

I think Councilman Rodriguez owes us all an apology.



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