Santa Barbara, California is famously close to paradise. The cool Pacific waters and sun-warmed south-facing beaches endow the small city with the quintessence of the Mediterranean climate.
Rich Americans began flocking to Santa Barbara in the late 19th Century, and, in contrast to today's plutocrats, they had excellent taste in architecture. The rebuilding of Santa Barbara's State Street in the Spanish Mission style after the 1925 earthquake was the aesthetic peak of white Californians' long Hispanophilic phase. Today, State Street is arguably the most pleasant downtown avenue to stroll in the country.
Or it was, until last Thursday afternoon, when California's growing Latino gang wars boiled over onto State Street, with a 14-year-old junior high school student stabbing a 15-year-old to death outside of Saks Fifth Avenue.
Steve Chawkins of the Los Angeles Times reported on March 16, 2007:
"SANTA BARBARA — Residents and tourists here were stunned Thursday in the wake of a daylight gang brawl that left a 15-year-old boy stabbed to death, a 14-year-old charged with his murder and downtown's main commercial strip shut down for more than eight hours.
"'Everyone's saying, 'This isn't supposed to happen in Santa Barbara,'' said Police Chief Cam Sanchez. 'Well, it isn't supposed to happen anywhere.'
"Killed was 15-year-old Luis Angel Linares, a student at El Puente Community School [VDARE.COM note: This is a school for juvenile delinquents] who was known to his friends as Nacho. Bleeding after being stabbed, he staggered into the parking lot behind Saks Fifth Avenue on State Street before being rushed to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead. His alleged killer, whose name was not released because of his age, attended Santa Barbara Junior High School….
"With the fight surging across State Street, dozens of police officers and sheriff's deputies converged on the scene from their departments' headquarters just blocks away."
Gang warfare has also been on the upswing in nearby Los Angeles, with gang-related crimes rising 14 percent in 2006. Especially hard hit has been LA's formerly middle class suburb, the San Fernando Valley, with a 44 percent increase.
We should have seen it coming. Gang graffiti, which had blanketed virtually every wall in the Southland during the horrific murder wave of the late 1980s and early 1990s, had been largely scrubbed out by 2000. In 2005, though, the "taggers" started to overwhelm the eradication effort. Today, graffiti is everywhere again in LA.
The LA Times reported, "Los Angeles cleanup crews removed 27 million square feet of graffiti last year, up from 21 million square feet in 2005". But they are clearly losing the battle. The capability of gang members to deface has grown faster than the public's ability to erase. [Trying to paint taggers into a corner By Amanda Covarrubias, March 11, 2007]
A teacher in heavily Hispanic Santa Ana tells me that his students, boys and girls, spend much of their time in his math classes practicing their tagging calligraphy in their notebooks, devising ever more elaborate ways to scrawl their nicknames and gang symbols on walls after school.
In turn, the proliferation of gang tags shows potential criminals that the forces of law and order are losing, which they interpret to mean it's getting safer to commit all sorts of crimes.
The last upsurge in Southern California gang activity proved to be a national disaster because the entertainment industry glamorized LA hoodlums across the country.
In the mid-1980s, a potent new formulation of cocaine called crack became popular in the slums of Los Angeles County. In 1988, the first gangsta rap album, NWA's Straight Outta Compton, began to spread the South Central crack dealer's code nationwide. Soon, all across America, gangsta rap fans formed crack-dealing gangs called either Bloods or Crips in emulation of LA County's most notorious black gangs. They began blasting away at each other, causing the national homicide rate to peak from 1990-1994.
LA's legendary black gangs, like its black community in general, are in decline, inundated by Latin American immigrants and their progeny. Man for man, the black gangstas are still plenty scary, but the Hispanic "gang-affiliated members" now badly outnumber them. Blacks are leaving Los Angeles, with the South a particularly popular destination.
So why is gang war breaking out in Southern California now? There doesn't appear to be a new drug like crack in the 1980s.
Instead, the latest killings seem to be demography-driven. There are just more Hispanic teens today than in past decades, so there are more Hispanic gang-bangers.
It's not widely understood, but the 1986 federal amnesty for illegal immigrants set off a baby boom among unskilled Hispanics in California that began in 1988 and lasted into the late 1990s, with consequences for gang activity that have just recently become palpable.
Demographers Laura E. Hill and Hans P. Johnson of the Public Policy Institute of California wrote in 2002:
"Between 1987 and 1991, total fertility rates for foreign-born Hispanics [in California] increased from 3.2 to 4.4 [expected babies per woman over her lifetime]. … Why did total fertility rates increase so dramatically for Hispanic immigrants? First, the composition of the Hispanic immigrant population in California changed as a result of the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) of 1986. In California alone, 1.6 million unauthorized immigrants applied for amnesty (legal immigrant status) under this act. The vast majority were young men, and many were agricultural workers who settled permanently in the United States. Previous research indicates that many of those granted amnesty were joined later by spouses and relatives in the United States... As a result, many young adult Hispanic women came to California during the late 1980s. ("Understanding the Future of Californians' Fertility: The Role of Immigrants").
This ex-illegal immigrant baby boom created an indigestible population pig-in-a-python that overwhelmed California's public schools in the 1990s, with many having to shift to disruptive year round schedules. The LA Unified School District alone has budgeted $19 billion for construction to accommodate the immigration-driven growth in student numbers.
(Indeed, a bipartisan commission appointed by Gov. Schwarzenegger estimated last week that to bring the public school students of California up to the 2014 requirement for universal proficiency mandated by the federal No Child Left Behind law might cost $1.5 trillion—or just about the entire annual output of the California economy. So, let me be the first to say it: A trillion here, a trillion there, and pretty soon you are talking about real money.)
Today, California's amnesty baby boom generation is between ages 10 and 19, entering their prime gang violence years.
For California, the good news (of the been-down-so-long-it-looks-like-up-to-me ilk) is that the state has become so overcrowded that the high cost of living and relatively low wages are driving immigrants and their gang-oriented kids out of the state.
Families are fleeing California for more affordable regions. Much of the colossally expensive new school construction is turning out to be unneeded because elementary school enrollment is now falling.
California is now exporting its illegal immigration problem—gang wars, overcrowded schools, declining standards of living, and the like—to the other 49 states.
Good luck, America. You'll need it.
Yet in Washington D.C., the big names in both the Republican and Democratic Party are plotting another amnesty for illegal immigrants. This one would unleash a second baby boom among unskilled ex-illegal immigrants—but this one would be perhaps three times bigger.
If the voters knew about this, they would never accept what their betters are cooking up for them. But nobody except VDARE.COM is pointing out that amnesty means a baby boom among the uneducated, gang-prone foreigners in our midst.
Talking about such unpleasantries is just not done.
That's why we're in this mess.