Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa will end L.A. Bridges, an anti-gang initiative under fire for failing to demonstrate clear results, says the Los Angeles Times. The mayor put off yet again answering one key question: Are these programs, which last year received $13.2 million, successful in quelling violence and keeping kids out of gangs? His new budget, out today, is expected to seek an additional $7.2 million to gang prevention and intervention programs.
Because the anti-gang efforts are being redesigned, a full evaluation won’t be practical until at least 2010, said Deputy Mayor Jeff Carr, city’s gang czar. Mayoral aides insist that the new anti-gang initiative will be measured for success, using $900,000 earmarked for an outside evaluation. Experts will identify the most vulnerable children, then use quantifiable measures to determine if they are being helped. It is a dramatic departure from the way L.A. Bridges was supervised, said civil rights attorney Connie Rice, who helps run the Advancement Project Los Angeles. “To you and me, it may seem small because it should have been done years ago,” Rice said. “But you can’t ignore the fact that it’s finally being done.”