My job with COLAB is to serve as a government watchdog. Accordingly, I can assure you that the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors consists of highly educated and experienced politicians.
But they are also notoriously woke — and that spells trouble for common sense, logical priorities and public safety.
Relatedly, our supervisors are content viewing everything through a lens of race, aka critical race theory, which means they have become color blind in a bad way. Specifically, by primarily looking at the color of people in only one way, they have become blind to other issues and factors of causation having to do with our criminal justice system.
Sadly, they are not alone. They are aided in this disservice by way of the county public defender, who would rather every criminal be diverted from jail, and the chief probation officer, who has turned a blind eye to organized crime in our communities.
Accordingly, yet another report presented to the supervisors purports to indicate that the number of people of color who are “justice-involved” individuals is indicative of something systematically wrong as it pertains to how people of color are disproportionately involved in the system. However, these public servants are surely looking through the wrong end of the microscope.
For instance, a recent Grand Jury report indicates the increased criminality among juveniles is ascribed to the lack of consequences due to diminished law enforcement, yet some supervisors, namely Gregg Hart and Das Williams, are calling for further reductions in our jail capacity. Why? Well, according to the dopes at the Santa Barbara County Action Network, going to jail is traumatic to criminals! Who knew?
To their credit, at least, all five supervisors withstood some of the demands by these most extreme decarceration activists who wanted to cut the sheriff’s budget by a whopping $26 million. Nevertheless, something is still lost on these policy and decision makers.
North County, which has the highest felonious crime rates, also happens to have the largest number of gang members, more than 2,000 and counting. And yes, as inconvenient as it is for this discussion, most of them are people of color.
The ultimate question not being asked? Is there a pathology in our communities that is attracting a disproportionate number of children of color into a life of crime?
Don’t ask our chief probation officer to answer that question. That department, as reported by the grand jury, stated that “the leadership at Santa Barbara County Probation has declared that they no longer deal with gangs; they instead deal with high risk youth.” Somebody, somewhere, please say out loud, “You have got to be kidding.” Anyone, please.
Today’s youth street gangs only exist via their association, cooperation and subordination with major criminal enterprises such as MS13, who compete against, and war with, other organized crime syndicates for the allegiance of the same.
Ignoring the organized criminal element of local gangs and the racial composition of the same in any analysis means the study is not worth the paper it is written on. There is a reason there are now nearly weekly stabbings, shootings and murders on the streets of Lompoc and Santa Maria, resulting in a disproportionate number of people of color in our jails.
Maybe our county supes should go on a ride-along with city cops and leave their rose-colored glasses at home as a solution to their woke blindness.
I am of the opinion that family cohesion, good-paying jobs, youth activities, better schools including tech schools and more cops on the streets, not to mention a faith community that ventures out from its spiritual ghetto, rather than defunding our public safety departments and ignoring the crime syndicates who are driving this bus, are the way to go.
Andy Caldwell is the COLAB executive director and host of “The Andy Caldwell Show,” airing 3 to 5 p.m. weekdays on KZSB AM 1290, the News-Press radio station.