Dirty deeds done dirt cheap

If I remember correctly, my very first post on this here blog was about a police sobriety check in the heart of Boyle Heights in June of last year. Hmm more than a year later, the economy in Califas is tanking, the city is looking left and right and underneath every couch cushion to save money and bring in more revenue, like raising sales taxes to 9.75 percent and other various  measures. It’s getting tight in this city, real tight. The kind of tight that when I was growing up, frijoles, huevos and tortillas were what’s for breakfast, lunch and dinner, with maybe some queso de piez sprinkled on the beans to add a little variety.

Needless to say, it’s not hard to connect the dots on the current situation out on the streets of L.A. right now, with all these holiday sobriety check points to keep drunk drivers off the streets. This is an invaluable service by the police, however we all know that’s not the case right ? I mean come on !! This is way over the line, even for the L.A.P.D We all expect and know these holiday sobriety checkpoints are around, but as of late, the amount of cars getting pulled over and of these check points is bordering on abuse. Nah, you know what, it is abuse.  “Ohh but you’re just exaggerating because you blah, blah, blah” hell no I’m not exaggerating. Sunday of last week me and VD were kicking old school on our way to the barrio when we see a car pulled over on Sheridan. Then we see another car pulled over two blocks further down and then another car pulled over on Chavez and Soto. Not to mention that I average out one text per day informing me of where there are check points taking place. This isn’t the police checking for drunk drivers and keeping the streets safe, this is the police being abused by the shot callers who need to come up with more feria to cover the cost of their business expenses and trips to Mexico to represent L.A. in a book fair. Really !? A book fair !?

So the money to cover expenses was donated, ok that’s cool but these are frugal times !! If 2 million dollars were donated, couldn’t that money have been used to restore murals !? Pay some of the artist that participated in the summer lights program or to schools who are cutting back in arts programs ? I don’t know much about how the city works and all that good stuff so I may be missing a point somewhere, but if you are broke and in debt, the last thing anyone is gonna do go an trip, unless that money was to be used exclusively to travel, then by all means go for it.

I’m not an aid for the mayor or any city official, so I don’t see their side of the story and they are more than welcomed to chime in and share their view, because from my point of view, I see dads getting pulled over in their rickety ‘8Os Toyota full of gardening tools get the lights flashed on them as the officer says, “parra la ES-kir-DA. Es-KIR-da” when they are pulling them over. I see kids translating for their parents, looking up to the officers scared shitless like I was when I was a kid, translating to the officer that the reason my unlicensed uncle is driving the car is because my dad knocked back too many cold ones and we didn’t have any other licensed drivers with us. I see the only means in which a low income family is able to make ends meat because that vehicle that is getting towed away is what gets them to work everyday and it’s what gets the kids home from school.

I may polarize this issue this issue through a Latina/o filter, but I know there are others who can back me up on how this is not just a race issue, it’s a class issue. The parts of town that are targeted for these check points are working class/low income communities that will have a higher probability of netting drivers without licenses, insurance, proper registration, expired tags, arrest warrants ETC. You get snagged, your car gets taken away and you are fucked. Then come the impound lot fees and dealing with any citations that the officers may have issued you. Money here, money there, more money over there and then some more money over here, that’s basically how it breaks down. With soo many fees, it’s cheaper to let the car go and salvage what you can.

I won’t even go into how as of late, the police are not only netting cars, but with the help ICE and other immigration agencies, undocumented residents are being arrested and deported because they didn’t know their rights. There are ways around special order 40 and they are being used, but there’s no way of proving that right ? The city wouldn’t do something that underhanded. Besides, I’m just another person on a blog right ? Ranting about what he see’s in his city, not being objective and sharing his opinion, totally the opposite of a journalist. It’s extremely easy for the decision makers to give and underling an order to execute, who will then order someone else to tell someone else who will tell ONE more person who will write a memo telling the guy in charge of our standered issue street solders what to do. It’s easy when no once can put a face behind it. It’s easy when all you are doing is following orders, ignoring your better judgment and following your instincts. What does it matter right when at the end of the day, everyone goes home guilt free because it had to be done. You can only oppress the cockroach people for so long before their numbers overwhelm those in control.

“We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.”

Merry Christmas


We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.

14 thoughts on “Dirty deeds done dirt cheap

  1. “You can only oppress the cockroach people for so long before their numbers overwhelm those in control.”

    They will never take away our right to drive while intoxicated!

    A few notes. Being poor is not an excuse to drink and drive. You probably see more sobriety checkpoints in poor areas because poor areas are often more populous. Suburbs where rich white homeowners live are low density while East LA is denser than Tokyo depending on who you ask.

    There are a lot of sobriety checkpoints in my neighborhood and I can’t get enough of it, as a person living under the poverty line who doesn’t drink and drive, of course. If the kid is scared translating to the officer why his dad can’t drive, they should be blaming their father for that.

  2. No doubt check points are used to round people up for crimes having nothing to do with traffic laws. Great post, El Random Hero.

  3. Im all for checkpoints catching drunk drivers, studies have shown they reduce car crashes and fatalities when implemented.

    But they should be for drunk drivers, not paisanos sin papeles who seem to be the bulk of citations and towing from these events. Cops should realize they are doing much more harm to society by throwing the book at every paisano without a license or insurance/registration, and enact a little bit of that oh so importante informal policing. Let them know if you catch them driving without papers again they will be ticketed, to scare them ( a pillar of policing) and let them go after writing their name down. No citations, no impounding, no need to severely fuck up someones life because “rules are rules”.

    It is obvious many of these checkpoints arent totally for drunk drivers, as they generally net people withour something or other, and are more often placed in low income latino areas. And el random, you are absolutely correct about mismanagement of city funds now leading to them nickle and diming us to make up their deficit. Im sure the pinche mayor still has events catered to the hilt, the last city ceremonies I attended seemed just as fancy as the ones during our economic boom. My sister and tias work for the DWP which spends insane amounts of cheddar on BS like employee gyms, santa parties and uneeded raises (even they say it). Not to mention our governator acting as if taxing the wealthy and getting ours from the corporate entitlement class is taboo, but destroying our social services and public institutions is perfectly acceptable.

    A month back I got stuck in daytime checkpoint traffic in El Monte, but Baldwin park PD was running it (outside thier jurisdiction). It was on a weekday at around noon, very little drunk driving then. A cop (who was raza) stood in the middle of the road, a 2 laner reduced to 1 that caused insane traffic, hitting up every 3rd driver. I was one of them.
    I realized it was puro astrovans and 91 sentras getting ticketed/impounded with paisano drivers before I rolled up to the juda.

    I was that 3rd driver, so he stopped me for a quick second. You know how I avoided being stopped? I put on KROQ and spoke in my most clear diction, he didnt even wait for me to pull out my license before he told me to keep moving. It was f’d up, and these little bumpkin PD’s and divisions are making a killing off of it, not to mention the towing companies that bribe them.

    Excellent post carnale!

  4. A very simple analysis of the situation at best. Good start I guess.
    But my favorite was how you mock officers attempting to direct drivers in spanish, “parra la ES-kir-DA. Es-KIR-da”, but immediately in the next sentence you try to garner sympathy for non-english speaking adults…. so silly, you.

  5. Great point on the checkpoints. I would, however, defend the mayor’s decision to attend the FIL in Guadalajara. It was a wonderful event honoring Los Angeles, and involved many invited authors, artists and musicians from LA. It was a positive way for the Mayor to represent the city and help build the relationship between our two cities. As for cops enforcing immigration laws, I totally agree with you. Lame.

  6. As someone who has gotten his fair share of tickets and pulled over for some bs reasons, I am totally inclined to agree with you ERH. Got a ticketed on my own street for not having a front license plate, I am sure that was just a pretext for the cop to run my plates and license. To top it off an hour later as I left my house the same cop had pulled some other young guy over whose car didn’t have a front license plate, except this kid was sitting in the back of the cop car. So I would have to agree that police do find a pretext to check on people. Yet, despite these bad run in with police. I know I have been either driving or walking down the street and seen or nearly been hit by a car and said to myself where is the cop to pull over this a-hole. A few months ago, my neighbor’s parked car was hit by some driver under the influence (weed) driving a stolen car and our neighbors were only too happy to call the cops on these guys.
    Like Spokker, I actually prefer having an active police presence. But then again I usually don’t have to worry about the legality of what I’m doing (aside from maybe driving a few mph over the speed limit.) I know my neighborhood well enough to know it is filled with many hard working class people, but that there are also those who are up to no good. I’m pretty sure the llantera up the street that opens at noon and doesn’t close till 2AM is not just selling tires. “If men were angels, no government would be necessary.” Alas, that is not the case, and the ELA has its fair share of sinners. And I for one would like an active police, but with that said, I don’t agree that should mean enforcing immigration laws, it’s the federal government fault they are all f’d up, not the city’s fault. so city/ municipal cops shouldn’t enforce them. And let’s face ELA has more pressing work for cops to do, then arresting an undocumented worker trying to feed his/her family.
    Like Art said, this type of policing does more harm than good I’ve know a few instances that neighbors have witnessed crimes(shooting/ drug sales) but were to afraid to report them to the police because they fear retaliation or afraid that the cops will question them about their status. Furthermore, this type of policing furthers the antagonistic perception that people have of cops, maintaining an “us vs. them” mentality in the community. Anyway, that’s my rant.

    Oh on a side note to further what Bentrogena said the book fair was actually a boon to many local artist the City’s Department of Cultural Affairs contracted with local artist to set up the city’s exhibition. SO local artist did benefit from this, giving a new generation of artist to promote their work and as well as get an opportunity to see observe others work.

  7. There will always be those that claim that these sorts of checkpoints somehow are fairly used across the board, amongst all communities. But that’s bullshit, they target the poor cuz they are easier to harass. I used to work by Brooklyn and Soto and would see the checkpoints at all hours, and cars would be towed for minor infractions. I once talked to a family with 3 kids and a baby that had just had their car impounded because they didn’t have proof of insurance, back when that first started going into effect. It was a heartless move at around 11pm. I reject any logic that makes this sort of inhumanity acceptable.

  8. i wonder how successful this “texting your contact list” with the location of checkpoints? maybe we should all do it and try to beat their fucked up system. However, like spokker said, being poor is not an excuse for drinking and driving.

    One day we will no longer be a minority, and i promise them that we will give them the exact same treatment they have been giving us!! =)

  9. “I once talked to a family with 3 kids and a baby that had just had their car impounded because they didn’t have proof of insurance, back when that first started going into effect. It was a heartless move at around 11pm. I reject any logic that makes this sort of inhumanity acceptable.”

    If she was driving around without liability insurance and hurt or killed someone she would be fucked even more. If she got involved in an accident, whether she is at fault or not, she would automatically lose her license for a year. Also, what happens if she hits somebody, badly injures them, panics because she didn’t have insurance and leaves the scene of the accident without rendering aid?

    How do we ensure that drivers will be held liable for their actions if we make concessions for every person who cannot afford insurance?

    If she had insurance and just lost her proof, the police could have checked it electronically with the DMV. Even if you have proof of insurance they do that anyway because the old scam was that you carry around your insurance card even though you canceled the policy the second you got the card.

    At the end of the day, driving is a privilege and not a right.

  10. \”One day we will no longer be a minority, and i promise them that we will give them the exact same treatment they have been giving us!! =)\”

    No, by then you\’ll just be considered \”white\”.

  11. I agree like anyone else that cops are a pain in the ass but there are there for a reason. You can be cynic about it but if your not willing to do anything about it maybe you should keep your comments to your self.

    Most of the time the reason people are treated abusively or is disrespectful manner is because we don’t speak up. And when and if you do, there is a right way and a wrong way going about it. By that I mean that we as a community, in general terms, are not organized or educated in a way where we can fully and equally voice our civic concerns to the people making the decisions.

    I say this because Mexicans/Hispanics in General have a mistrust in government/police. Some of it for obvious reasons.

    So if we as a community want to move on we need to get over this mentallity that we are not “Punished and Enslaved”. Because if you think that you are “Punish and Enslaved” over a police sobriety check and book fair then you already are.

  12. Actually I’m not being cynical or making light of an afront made by the police to deliberately harass these people of color. But after checking the “latino/Hispanic” box and the subsequent question be “what race do you identify with more closely” and 97% of those who checked the “latino” box then check the “white” box it seems that “latinos” are well on their way to following the American tradition of “becoming white” perhaps in a few generations.
    So when “rolo” made the comment that ‘they will be treated as they have treated us’ sometime in the white-as-minority future my comment was one of honest prediction made on an historical basis of the path of the “immigrant” or lower classes with the exclusion of the Native American and those who identify with them and African American and those who identify with them as well.
    Indians are now considered “white”.
    Middle Eastern/Persian is now considered “white”.
    North Africans are now considered “white”.
    Why wouldn’t a people who larger already consider themselves “white” or at least partially “white” by way of the Spanish or any other fantastic European amalgamation not be considered “white” in the future as they move up the socio-economic ladder?

  13. In response to Fallopia Simms comment….

    I can see how by legal definition Persian/Iranians can be considered white but by racial and ethnic identity these groups of people identify themselves into a whole different racial/ethnic identity. In contrast when you look and see how these people are treated it doesn’t seem so… how do say “white”.
    So this whole race box checking thing is just what it is, a box to sort people out into.

    …. read more on this issue here

    Just to Chime in about about the Book fair/money issue. Los Angeles was a” ‘Guest of Honor’ at the Guadalajara International Book Fair (La Feria Internacional del Libro or FIL); the first time this honor has been bestowed upon a City” it is the “…second largest book fair in the world” . Aside from that…”Los Angeles (showcased) over 450 of its top talented artists who exemplify the City’s dynamic and diverse literary, artistic and cultural traditions.” So this mayor or any mayor would have had to show face at the event.

    And about the money as far as I can tell the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) payed the bill on this one not the city. I know it would be great to use 2.1 mill on art programs, books, or restoring murals here in LA but unfortunately grants don’t work that way, this was money specifically set up for this event. And the reason its 2.1 million is because a show case 450 LA writers, visual and performartists were sent and set up for a 9 day event.

    So yea for a city being in a ression spending 2.1 mill sounds like a lot but you gotta remember NEA got the bill not LA. But aside from that there’s was a lot of negative feed back in the media, obviously cause of the moot point of the $/ression issue but if you read between the lines you can tell that these people don’t seeing their dollars turned into pesos… especially for a spanish speaking book fair in Mexico. (El Random Hero so why you hate Mexicans? Why you so racist? LOL…. I kid)

    …La Feria Internacional del Libro (The International Book Fair)

    … stuff about it on the news


    …Reading between the lines, negative media coverage of fair, just read the comments (EL Random Hero this one is for you… I mean it with good intentions)


    …how much was spent on trip… $8,600 from mayors office according to this article doesn’t mention show case of 450 artist used to represent LA
    … grant

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