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Lewis Yablonsky

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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 18, 2014 | By Elaine Woo
When Lewis Yablonsky was growing up in New Jersey in the 1930s, he was beaten by poor whites for being Jewish and by black gangs for being white. He committed petty thefts, ran crooked card games and carried a switchblade for protection. Some of his closest friends wound up behind bars. "I wasn't sure where I belonged," he told The Times years later. "But when my best friend went to prison for hijacking a fur truck … I realized I had to get on one side of the law or the other. " Yablonsky chose the straight path, using his rough-and-tumble youth as a springboard to a distinguished career: He became the "Sociologist With Street Smarts," as one headline described him, an authority on youth gangs, hippies and drug addicts whose personal experiences gave him insights other scholars lacked.
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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 18, 2014 | By Elaine Woo
When Lewis Yablonsky was growing up in New Jersey in the 1930s, he was beaten by poor whites for being Jewish and by black gangs for being white. He committed petty thefts, ran crooked card games and carried a switchblade for protection. Some of his closest friends wound up behind bars. "I wasn't sure where I belonged," he told The Times years later. "But when my best friend went to prison for hijacking a fur truck … I realized I had to get on one side of the law or the other. " Yablonsky chose the straight path, using his rough-and-tumble youth as a springboard to a distinguished career: He became the "Sociologist With Street Smarts," as one headline described him, an authority on youth gangs, hippies and drug addicts whose personal experiences gave him insights other scholars lacked.
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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 11, 2000 | ALLISON COHEN, SPECIAL TO THE TIMES
Their faces are etched in his memory. Sometimes they appear in his dreams: gangbangers he has saved from the death penalty, those he's put behind bars and the wrongly accused who have been freed based on his testimony. From his lost days as a teenage dice hustler on the streets of New Jersey to working inside juvenile detention centers, in jails and behind a professor's lectern for 31 years at Cal State Northridge, Lewis Yablonsky has devoted a half-century of his life to understanding gangs.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 11, 2000 | ALLISON COHEN, SPECIAL TO THE TIMES
Their faces are etched in his memory. Sometimes they appear in his dreams: gangbangers he has saved from the death penalty, those he's put behind bars and the wrongly accused who have been freed based on his testimony. From his lost days as a teenage dice hustler on the streets of New Jersey to working inside juvenile detention centers, in jails and behind a professor's lectern for 31 years at Cal State Northridge, Lewis Yablonsky has devoted half a century to understanding gangs.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 11, 2000 | ALLISON COHEN, SPECIAL TO THE TIMES
Their faces are etched in his memory. Sometimes they appear in his dreams: gangbangers he has saved from the death penalty, those he's put behind bars and the wrongly accused who have been freed based on his testimony. From his lost days as a teenage dice hustler on the streets of New Jersey to working inside juvenile detention centers, in jails and behind a professor's lectern for 31 years at Cal State Northridge, Lewis Yablonsky has devoted half a century to understanding gangs.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 30, 1989
As a professor in the California State University system since 1963 and the recipient of the statewide trustee's "Outstanding Professor Award" in 1967, I am appalled on several levels by the revelation (Part A, Dec. 20) that Marianthi Lansdale, chairwoman of the CSU board of trustees, falsified her claim to have a 2-year community college degree, and reportedly said that she "doesn't care" that she misstated her educational background. First, why are apparently unqualified people who make large campaign donations to the governor rewarded with this kind of important appointment?
ENTERTAINMENT
February 16, 2003
I am a happy 78-year-old sociologist and avid moviegoer who sees almost every "good" and "bad" movie (including "explosion movies") to keep up with pop culture. Recently, I was seduced into seeing the highly touted "The Hours." In the first 20 minutes I had to become involved in a depressed woman's suicide, an unhappy housewife who hated her kid and probably her husband, a lesbian visiting her friend dying of AIDS, and a "cheer-up" conversation with a woman who needed a cancer operation.
ENTERTAINMENT
February 23, 2003
I was sorry to read that Lewis Yablonsky did not like "The Hours" (Letters, Feb. 16). I thought it was like seeing a great 15-round world heavyweight acting bout with 10 contenders all at the top of their powers. I am a bit baffled, however, at his call for a return to the great old movies of the past, with the implication that they were higher-toned and more moral. He mentions three Ingrid Bergman movies, but he does not seem to recall the details of them very closely. "Indiscreet" is about a romance between an actress and a diplomat, in which the diplomat lies to her, telling her he is married so she will not get serious about him. She goes along with this until she discovers he is not married, whereupon Bergman delivers the great line, "How dare he make love to me and not be a married man."
ENTERTAINMENT
January 21, 1989
My reaction to seeing the film and reading about "Working Girl" is much different from the apparent consensus that at long last here is a positive movie about women in the work force. The film is a kind of update on Budd Schulberg's 48-year-old classic book "What Makes Sammy Run"--only in this version Schulberg's Sammy is a Samantha. The leading lady in "Working Girl," brilliantly portrayed by Melanie Griffith, is a kind of ditzy sociopath who fights her way up the corporate ladder with lies and chicanery--and with little concern for who gets mowed down.
OPINION
January 20, 2003
Re "A Road Into Minds of Murderers," Commentary, Jan. 14: Lewis Yablonsky's proposal should be taken up seriously by the Congress. We stand alone among the advanced and civilized nations in continuing the death penalty and are undeterred by the resulting opprobrium of others. Politicians have exploited the people's urge for retribution rather than seeking a humane way of dealing with murderers, which would benefit society over the long haul. Yablonsky's suggestion of isolating and studying such inmates for the causes of their murderous behavior is very appealing.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 11, 2000 | ALLISON COHEN, SPECIAL TO THE TIMES
Their faces are etched in his memory. Sometimes they appear in his dreams: gangbangers he has saved from the death penalty, those he's put behind bars and the wrongly accused who have been freed based on his testimony. From his lost days as a teenage dice hustler on the streets of New Jersey to working inside juvenile detention centers, in jails and behind a professor's lectern for 31 years at Cal State Northridge, Lewis Yablonsky has devoted a half-century of his life to understanding gangs.
OPINION
March 16, 1997
The Times' March 4 report on the passing of Charles E. Dederich, my friend and colleague for over 35 years, is substantially correct. There were two Chuck Dederichs. One, over a 20-year period, founded and developed a revolutionary and effective method for treating criminal addicts; and the other manipulated the organization into a cultish form that eventually led to the original Synanon's downfall. Dederich's positive legacy, "the therapeutic community," lives on in the U.S. and around the world in the form of several thousand replications of his original Synanon concept and organization.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 17, 1989
Los Angeles County chief probation officer Barry Nidorf's excellent column ("Practical Alternatives to Jail's Fast Shuffle," Op-Ed Page, March 20) points up a most effective (yet underused) approach for combatting the crime and substance abuse problems that have made our city streets a battlefield. Jail and prison time alone, in part because these institutions are overcrowded, are only useful for incapacitating most offenders for brief periods of time. As Nidorf points out "house arrest," "work sentencing," and "work furlough" programs should be better funded to develop methodologies for nonviolent offenders who can be rehabilitated.
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