Your new memoir out today, Power Concedes Nothing, tracks your career from law school student to gang violence activist. You described L.A. as being “stuck on stupid” when it came to fighting gangs ten years ago. Have we become more competent?
The city has gotten a lot smarter. For 30 years L.A. tried to arrest its way out of the gang problem, and it didn’t work. We now have Guillermo Cespedes, a brilliant man, as gang czar, and we have an academy that is professionalizing gang intervention. The rest is joint action being taken by parents, schools, and churches. When the whole neighborhood gets in the boat and rows, it becomes an ecosystem strategy that has impact. If you give kids alternatives, you will make gangs their last option instead of their most seductive one.