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to Table of Contents
January 11, 2007
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can
change the world; indeed it's the only thing that ever has.”
Margaret Mead, American cultural anthropologist, 1901 - 1978
In This Issue
1. What to Do When the Police Do Not Come
2. The Eleventh Commandment, Part 1
4. Fun Fact
5. About Montebello E-News and “My Montebello”
Online Community Lesson
What to Do When the Police Do Not Come?
The adults among us might recall the King riot of the early Nineties, when
the Los Angeles Police Department held back in some places, leaving it to
residents and shop owners to defend themselves. All of us should remember
that police were absent in parts of New Orleans last year in the aftermath
of Hurricane Katrina.
Can’t happen here? There is an extensive personal account of it
happening on September 15, 2006, in a nearby community. The account is
long and revealing, so it has been excerpted, modified, and proofread
The party started early, so my ninety year-old sick mother and I thought
it would end early also. Wrong!!!
By 11:00 PM my mom had a nasty headache and was very tense because she
could not go to sleep. All the noise of the music and the yelling and
screaming of the multitude of people up and down the street, the
firecrackers, as well as the loud music coming from the cars that kept
coming and clogging the street traffic, and the blowing of horns made it
impossible for any one to sleep.
By 11:30 PM everyone [outside] was drunk, people were all over the
neighborhood yards smoking drugs and drinking and making a mess by leaving
cans and bottles all over the place. They put bottles next to our cars
tires and the mob of people kept growing as the night got later, instead
of ending the party.
I called the [police station] and reported the noise and the drunkenness
on the neighborhood yards, but the lady officer that answered the phone
sounded very uncaring, even annoyed, by my call, saying that there was an
emergency and the entire force was busy with that, but as soon as they had
some one available she would send a unit to look into this.
My house has two gates. A wooden gate on the north side of the house whose
walk-way goes by the bathroom and my mom's bedroom window. Well, my poor
mother got the scare of her life when two guys opened the wooden gate,
came into our yard and started to urinate right outside her bedroom
window. She was so scared that she could not scream; instead she clenched
her teeth so tight that she broke the molar that holds her partial. She
now has to have that dental work done, but since that night her blood
pressure has been too high for the dentist to work on her teeth. So she
has another appointment at the dentist this coming Thursday and we hope
the work can be done at that time.
As I said, my first phone call to the police dept. was around 11:30 PM
that night. We waited and waited and waited some more but no one would
come. My mom started to complain that she felt dizzy and her head was
pounding with pain. I called the police dept. again about 12:45 AM and the
same lady answered the phone. By this time she sounded really annoyed.
She said no one was available yet due to the emergency of earlier (the
emergency was a stolen car, I found out much later). About 1:00 AM I had
to call the police department again and the same lady answered the phone,
and this time she was outright rude! I was crying on the phone because by
this time the so-called party had deteriorated to the point of fighting.
There were several fights going on at the same time, and one of them was
taking place right at my driveway….
This person learned that the party host had some relation with the police
department. Did this person pursue a complaint? No, because he feared
retaliation of some sort from the department.
If you answer the multiple-choice questions below and e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org,
with “E-News answers” in the subject field, you will be credited
toward a “certificate of recognition in community affairs” to be
awarded in 2007 by a local nonprofit organization.
1. What is the lesson here?
(a) Nothing works perfectly and we must accept that.
(b) We must have a backup plan for every emergency.
(c) More police service necessitates more budget for the police
(d) The less dependent we are on others, the better for us.
2. What is the best action which you could take?
(a) Train and participate in our police department’s citizen patrol.
(b) Join neighbors in organizing and equipping your neighborhood for an
(c) Join others in asking the city council to pass an ordinance requiring
a bond and / or insurance if the number of partygoers exceeds a certain
number; if there is no coverage and there is an incident, the fine will be
three times the amount of physical damage and mental anguish to partygoers
and neighbors, whether or not the police come.
(d) Join neighbors in creating a neighborhood council and agree upon rules
of “neighborly conduct”.
(e) Join others in setting up an independent, community-wide oversight
committee to which suggestions and complaints would come and from which
reports and initiatives would issue.
The Eleventh Commandment, Part 1:
Should We Ask Mel Brooks?
Translation from Russian: Measure seven times, cut once.
the Mel Brooks comedy in which Moses comes down from Mount Sinai with
fifteen commandments, but when one tablet breaks, he proclaims the Ten
Commandments? Seriously, there are rules to live by to save us time and
money, to lessen the pain and confusion. One such rule is “We shall not
pass judgment or take action without confirming the information which has
incited or attracted us.”
Do you know how valuable this is? Extremely valuable. This applies to the
unexpected letter coming to the house, with an announcement about a
lottery winning. Or to the chain e-mail telling us that Microsoft will pay
us to forward the chain e-mail. Or the nauseating election-campaign
advertisement warning us that some candidate is a wolf in sheep’s
clothing or some proposition a Trojan Horse. Yes, this includes any
contract which we sign, any warranty which we buy, any trinket or bauble
which a salesman brings into our office and offers for a dime on the
dollar. This includes any magic bullet for health, any get-rich-quick
program, any solicitation for charity from a telemarketer. And, as if we
were about to walk through a minefield, this includes anyone asking us for
private information like a Social Security number, offering us a reward if
we help by first giving him money or giving us groundbreaking news in a
And there is a corollary to this commandment: the greater the consequence
of our judgment or more irreversible our action, the more time we must
take and more reluctant we must be to decide or do anything without the
confirmation. Better to do nothing than the wrong thing, unless a
person’s life be on the line and we must decide or act quickly.
Here is the rub. How to confirm information without spending any money and
without taking much time? Whom can we trust for a quick, reliable
First, it would be good—actually, prudent—for each of us to be
self-reliant with regard to confirmation of information. This means that
we should take care of ourselves, decide for ourselves. But that is not
realistic for most people, because they do not have the time or skill to
confirm information. Is there a safe alternative?
Yes, we could have a person in our lives to act as the guardian. Like a
lawyer, but without any negative connotation or vision of sugarplums
dancing in his head. The guardian would take the time to identify and
connect with sources of confirmation, then give us the confirmation or
rejection of information. The guardian should be somebody close to us, a
family member or a long-time friend; however, not somebody famous and
remote, like a President, spiritual leader, head of a consumer
organization or movie star.
This is not something to muse upon for a couple of minutes and then follow
nonchalantly with a discussion about professional football or
after-holiday sales. So, what concrete step can we take now to have a
guardian now, as scam artists, hucksters, and propagandists do not stop
until after the damage has been done?
FOR EVERYONE. Meeting of the Montebello Planning Commission, Tuesday,
January 16, 2007, 7 PM, at city hall. More information: 323.887.1200.
FOR EVERYONE. Meeting of the Montebello City Council, Wednesday, January
24, 2007, 7:30 PM, at city hall. If you wish to speak, come before 7:30
and fill a card. If you have much to say, type, copy, and pass out your
speech, as there is a time limit for speakers. More information:
FOR YOUTH, FAMILIES, RETIREES. Sign up! The Montebello-Commerce YMCA has
programs for children of all ages. Karate lessons for ages 5 through 17,
swimming lessons for ages 6 months through adult, and tumbling lessons for
ages 5 through 7. Sign up by walk-in only, 2000 West Beverly Boulevard.
Children must be accompanied by parent or legal guardian. M - F, 5:30 AM -
10 PM; Saturday, 7 AM - 5 PM; Sunday, 9 AM - 2 PM. 323.887.9622
FOR FAMILIES AND RETIREES. Healthy Cooking for Busy Families. LIVE Cooking
Demo only $3. Get a chance to taste the dishes. All participants will
receive the complete recipe. Three Chances to see the Demo: February 24 @
10:00 am, Wednesday, February 28 @ 9:30 am or Wednesday, February 28 @
6:30 pm. For more information, call the Montebello-Commerce YMCA at (323)
FOR EVERYONE. Take the 60-day challenge. You're only 60 days away from a
healthier you! Become a member at the Montebello-Commerce YMCA and a
counselor will help you set up a customized lifestyle program. Look good
and feel good as you make good on your new year's resolution! For more
information, call (323) 887-9622.
Each king in a deck of playing cards represents a great king from history:
Spades - King David
Hearts - Charlemagne
Clubs -Alexander the Great
Diamonds - Julius Caesar
About Montebello E-News and “My Montebello”
about this newsletter, Montebello E-News, and the accompanying, growing
Web site, “My Montebello”, visit www.mymontebello.com. Also, you will
find instructions and contact information for submitting announcements for
publication in this newsletter.