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Monterey Park Spells Gang Problem V-I-D-E-O

November 29, 1990|IRENE CHANG

In "The Music Man," the good people of River City, Iowa, were warned of the perils of pool halls. In modern-day Monterey Park, the City Council decided Monday, the menace is video-game arcades.

Heeding Police Department warnings that such arcades attract gang members, the council unanimously rejected a proposal to build a 20-game arcade on the 2000 block of South Atlantic Boulevard.

Thirty gangs are operating within a two-mile radius of the proposed arcade, Police Capt. Daniel Cross told the council.

"One gang would move in and mark the arcade as territory," he said, noting that a nearby pool hall has become the city's premier gang hangout. "Arcades . . . are much the same as pool halls."

That prompted Edward Lau, a spokesman for the owner of the property, to protest. "Why do you generalize that video arcades automatically attract gang members?" Lau said. "The Police Department is asking citizens not to engage in certain legitimate businesses."

Lau pointed out that the city allows video games at Shakey's Pizza, 200 feet away from the proposed arcade. But Cross said Shakey's caters to families, while video arcades attract teen-agers.

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