Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Tales From 14th Street: The Party Just Won't Stop

"Tales from 14th Street" Is a look back at childhood days living in San Pedro California. I will share the fun and not so fun adventures of living in the hood during the 80's and early 90's. If anybody grew up in this area during that time please email or comment anytime and share your stories or thoughts.

The cortinas (curtains) that hung in our living room were something out of the 1970's. The gold thick drapes dusty with age had a veil type layer in front of it which was a nice camouflage when looking out the window.That night my brothers and I were doing just that, looking out the window from behind the barracks at the craziness going on across the street.

Our window was the bottom window on left hand side

The police had come to the block because the party across the street got out of control.
There were about a dozen cops with loud speakers telling the partying gangsters to surrender, and come out of the apartment. The "Crowd" just shut the door, and barricaded themselves inside for what seemed like a long time. Finally after a while the cops tear gassed the place until everybody ran out. The scene was full of all kinds of drama, people running, and some getting arrested .It seemed scary at the time especially because we lived in the middle of were it all went down.
Earlier in the day it was on and cracking the gangsters where partying up a storm as usual. I mostly recall looking towards them wondering what they were doing. My bother remembers all kinds of fools on the street drinking, and even strapped.

The bottom apartment was were the party happened it is really small barely seen under the stairs

The next day all the kids including my self went across the street to look at the damage. I remember going inside the apartment, and being shocked at how many Budweiser beer cans there were everywhere! The place was completely thrashed it looked crazy to me. The interesting part was that the news media came, and actually did a story on the whole incident. They even interviewed a few people asking them questions on what had happened. It was a Spanish station either channel 34 or 52 (since those where the only ones at the time). Later that day we even sat in the living room, and waited until the story came out on T.V. I even seen myself in back ground toda metichi lol wearing black and pink polka dot short overalls lol.

It is a trip now that I think about it, on why the media would come for some neighborhood gang party. I would never imagine that happening now, but I guess back then things like this where a huge deal. I guess we are so used to news being about celebrities, and entertainment that maybe that was a real news story. During my search for old articles I surprisingly ran into the article on the party. It is a funny read now just knowing the details of what really went down. It puts a whole new perspective just knowing the year and date of the party. The party was just a few days after Christmas and according to the article it was about a crowd of 30 gang members. It seriously looked like a war zone to the eyes of a young child.

Man wasn't party to this disaster
Daily Breeze (Torrance, CA) - Thursday, December 27, 1990
Author: Rich Redding
About 30 gang members threw a wild party at Eduardo Tarango's home Wednesday, complete with food, loud music and plenty of beer.

The only thing missing was him.

Now, the 36-year-old San Pedro man is stuck with the cleanup bill, a pricetag that could reach into the thousands of dollars after his tiny apartment in the 200 block of West Fourteenth Street was overrun by the group of males and females, from 15 to 22 years old.

The strong stench of urine filled the home this morning as Tarango stared at drying vomit stains on the carpet. Shattered glass littered the living room and bedroom, where Los Angeles police officers had broken windows to spray mace at boistrous partygoers.

Dozens of empty beer cans cluttered every corner of the home.

"Look at this. It's terrible," Tarango said, shaking his head at the debris. "I don't know what happened. How could they do this?"

PARTY/A6PartyFROM PAGE A1Police said they believe a 30-year-old male visitor of Tarango's held the birthday party in honor of a young gang member while Tarango visited his grandmother in Carson for two days.

Tarango returned around 11 p.m. to find hordes of officers pinning down the youths, who apparently had been living it up for about seven hours.

"It took us about 30 minutes to empty the building," said Detective John Woodrum of the LAPD's Harbor Division. "We were there but the party just wouldn't break up."

Police were ready to bombard the apartment with tear gas, but several officers worked their way around back.

There, they broke several windows and sprayed mace at every moving target, sending teen-age girls scrambling for the shower and subduing the males, some of whom were taunting officers.

Sgt. Dennis Sebenick said the group is a San Pedro gang bucking for attention.

"They're a partying-type of gang ," Sebenick said. "But they're getting more challenging than ever. They have that `Come and get us' attitude. So we had to mace a few of them to get their attention."

Tarango's unidentified friend was arrested on misdemeanor warrants and probably will be charged with contributing to the delinquency of minors.

Thirteen others were arrested for delaying a police investigation, probation violation, threatening a police officer and assault with a deadly weapon on a police officer.

Tarango, who moved into the $460-a-month apartment two months ago, said he wants to know why the gang members picked his house.

"I don't know why anyone would do this to me. I'm a nice guy," he said. "I'm mad. I leave my home and come back to this. I don't believe it."
Section: NEWS
Page: A1
Index Terms: NEWS
Record Number: 0000320501
Copyright (c) 1990, Daily Breeze, All Rights Reserved

If you are a regular reader then you know that I am analyzing how it was growing up for me in the late 80's and early 90's.
These were the years when Los Angeles experienced some of the most violent times with gang activity. It is known that during those years most youth in the hood was influenced by the negativity of gangs, and drugs. Now for the reasons on why there are many here is some things that give a better idea of it all.

Some factors:

In 1990, there were 987 murder/manslaughter incidents in Los Angeles. That is an awful lot compared to what they are today. In 2008 the total amount of murders was 304. The crazy part is when I read the stats for the year 1980 I was surprised there were 1,022 murders in Los Angeles that year. I somehow thought the rate would have been much lower. The rate stayed high up until 1995 then it started to drop down. According to reports some reasons crime went down was reasons like:
  • In 1994 the three strikes law was implemented
  • Hiring of more police officers
  • New ideas and strategy's to prevent kids from joining gangs or doing drugs
  • The economy got stronger

I think about some of the reasons why things might of been this way. I first of all think it was
because people could get away with it more. There were no cell phones which meant heroes could not report a crime or a victim is not able to report a crime right away. There was no advanced D.N.A testing or high tech cameras capturing your every move. A weak,corrupt police force and lack of police presence. Sentencing laws were more lenient, technology was limited. People probably were not as involved in their community or even their children as much. There was probably not many after school programs or places kids were able to keep busy. Crack hit the streets during that time as well making parents neglect children, and crack babies being born. Civil War in El Salvador sent hoards of Salvadorian immigrants fleeing to the streets of Los Angeles. Mexican immigrants were also coming in huge numbers. Unfortunately as I said before sometimes the children of immigrant parents go the wrong path. The language barrier and the parents having to work a lot to survive make it harder for the children to get good influences.

Here are more numbers in order to see how crime has declined in comparison to those times.

  • Murder:1.011
  • Rape: 2,813
  • Robbery: 27,938

  • Murder: 987
  • Rape: 2,014
  • Robbery: 36.098
  • The highest robbery rate in the past 20 years

  • Murder: 588
  • Rape: 1,459
  • Robbery: 15,527 2009
2009 to date
  • Murders 150
  • Rape:354
  • Robbery: 5,717

You could see the dramatic decline in crime since 1980. Media also got in on it when they started portraying films about life on the streets of Los Angeles. Places like South Central and so called ghetto parts of LA were shown.
There is a cluster of films made during those years that show this. Even though most of these films became gangster classics do you think they played a role in influencing the youth of the time or did they deter the youth to stay away from gangs, and drugs?
Movies Released about LA Gang Culture.





Then we had Italian Mob movies that been around forever still making appearances like
  • Good Fellas (1990)
  • A Bronx Tale (1993)
The gangster rap era also came into play in the late 80's and early 90's. The raps described more about life in the hood dealing with gangs, drugs and enemies.
It started with the fellas of N.W.A and guys like Ice T talking shit on cops, and repping places like Compton to the fullest. A few years later Eazy E went solo, and started busting out some gangster lyrics. In the early 1990's Ice Cube came out doing solo work as well and was part of the film "Boyz n the Hood". In 1992 the "Death Row" record label came out created by Suge Knight and Dr Dre and introducing Snoop Dog to the scene. Of course most of that era was back and forth drama between rappers.

I would say the trippest gangster rap scenario was the short lived " Blood's and Crips" rap group created with actual Blood and Crips gang members who auditioned for the group. It was basically banging on each other with rap songs. At that time I kind of knew that those two gangs were dangerous, I wondered how they both ended up getting along for the rap group.
There was talk that the group collaborated because of a peace treaty in 1992 between the Bloods and the Crips following the whole Rodney King/riots incident.

Check out this video made by the " Bloods and Crip's"
If you observe the background you see that kids where seen in the video looking up to the older so called wiser gangsters. The people in this video where actual gang members.

A combo of combustible attitudes and lack of structure pushed some to lead down the wrong path. Society was moving on all around us, but in the hood the block was all some ever knew.

To Be Continued...

LA County Murders

Current Crime Stats


The Numbers Movie Releases

Uniform Crime Report and Index of Los Angeles

Rap History

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