“By their fruits ye shall know them” (Matthew 7:20), and Rome’s fruits are growing quite significantly in the USA, as Latin America moves north. As we read at http://www.laweekly.com/general/features/the-town-the-law-forgot/15731/?page=1 :
An L.A. ’burb is mired in gangs, cartels and south-of-the-border-style politics
…Cudahy resembles a Mexican border town more than it does a Los Angeles suburb.
Entrenched gangs and Mexican drug trafficking have trapped working-class legal
and illegal immigrants in a cycle of violence and fear, in a city where less
than a quarter of the 28,000 residents are eligible to vote. An uneducated city
council, a deeply troubled police force imported from Maywood two towns over,
and the raw power of the 18th Street Gang — a complex criminal organization
with a knack for setting up business fronts and obscuring underground drug
activity — make Cudahy residents seem like hostages in their own city.
By most accounts, Cudahy City Council members — two retired union managers, an insurance salesman, a waitress and a grocer — do not run the city as they were elected to do. Rather, they defer to City Manager Perez, a former janitor who is known to favor revenue traps such as DUI and driver’s license checkpoints over aggressive tactics that make gangs and drug dealers less comfortable.
In 2001, the Los Angeles District Attorney’s
Office convened a grand jury to investigate whether Perez violated criminal
conflict-of-interest laws. The probe stemmed from his actions as a city
councilman, when, after voting for an ordinance that lifted a one-year waiting
period between holding political office and appointed office, Perez stepped
down from the council and was promptly appointed city manager, the city’s
highest-paying job. According to prosecutors’ memos and letters obtained by the
L.A. Weekly, the D.A.’s office was forced to drop the investigation
after concluding that it “could not prove a criminal violation” of state laws
“beyond a reasonable doubt.”
Known as a ruthless political boss, Perez is not running for city council in the upcoming March 6 election, but he is deserving of scrutiny. After all, he calls the shots in Cudahy.
Perez shrugs at allegations of foul play on the campaign trail, or any possibility that his minions could be involved. “I’ve talked with Mendoza,” he says of death threats that knocked the would-be candidate out of the running. “He apologized for talking bad about me.”…
Neither the DEA nor the FBI has ever established a connection between city officials and business fronts in the United States’ $65 billion illegal-drug market. Beyond the street crime, behind the scenes, groups finance border tunnels and run other drug-trafficking gateways that have helped make Southern California the highest-intensity drug-distribution center in the United States…
In contrast to the vulnerability of the
average Cudahy resident, business owners who operate questionable businesses
get velvet-glove treatment from politicians that would be considered scandalous
in the city of Los Angeles. In Cudahy, the Potrero Club is one of several
magnets for crime and is frequented by gangsters, but it is nevertheless
embraced by Cudahy authorities. A notorious nightspot that parents warn their
children to stay away from, the Potrero Club has a long record of being the
scene of thefts, assaults and drug activity.
Officials in Cudahy openly promote this crime magnet, however, holding fund-raisers for the Cudahy Youth Foundation there and even using it as an annual gathering spot for a children’s Christmas pageant. Cudahy has sunk so low that each year at Christmastime, Perez and the city council parade around town on the back of a tow truck and toss candy to the children, with the procession ending in a toy giveaway at the Potrero Club, whose owners in the past have displayed photos not of Hollywood movie stars but of famous Mexican drug traffickers…