I am writing in response to the letter you received from a Downey woman who was appalled (by) an article concerning Norwalk City Councilman Marcial Rodriguez ("Councilman's Tie to Gang Criticized," Times, June 29).
Barbara J. Hague solicited an apology from Councilman Rodriguez and advised him not to run for reelection due to his comments in the article. Rodriguez mentioned that gang youths seek a sense of belonging similar to those who seek . . . membership in organizations like Kiwanis and Rotary clubs. I didn't hear him condone their negative activity. Hague also spoke out against the councilman because he reported that while growing up he associated with many youths in his neighborhood who identified with that neighborhood gang.
Well Ms. Hague, I feel sorry that you felt that the article was appalling. In contrast, I found the article quite refreshing. It's nice to hear of an individual who chose positive alternatives in an environment that could have easily led him down the wrong path.
I have been working with gang youths for 13 years. I am currently a parole agent in South-Central Los Angeles and address this problem on a daily basis. Many find time to sit back and complain about these terrible times. Rodriguez is not only concerned about these conditions, he is working toward change.