Dick Cesaroni | Gangsters in Our Backyards

Letters to the Editor
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Long before the city of Santa Clarita was a city, there was the old Saugus Rehabilitation Center, owned and operated by the city of Los Angeles as a rehab center for alcoholics. 

It was a beautiful place located at the top of the hill where the SCV Water Agency stands today. It was well maintained by the residents who were sent there to dry up by the courts. 

Then on a day in the 1970s as I recall, it closed and stood dormant for quite some time. 

Then the government stepped in and gave a whole bunch of money to a group of slick-talking persons in shiny suits driving high-end cars, who said they wanted to help the poor inner-city kids. 

The old rehab center, when it closed, left all their buildings, barracks and admin office in place. So, these slick-talking hombres went in and turned the old Saugus Rehab Center into a spa and resort for the inner-city kids of Los Angeles. 

They spruced the place up, even adding a swimming pool for the inner-city kids. 

They sold themselves to the community of Saugus as do-gooders for the poor kids who needed a break from the dismal life of the hood of Los Angeles. 

After they spruced it up (at taxpayers expense), the kids started arriving by the busloads. It wasn’t long after that, as soon as the lights went out and the kids were to retire for the night, many of them just walked down the hill into the Saugus community, crossing over Bouquet Canyon Road. 

They stared at the old Thrifty Mart supermarket where Goodwill stands today. 

The poor kids from the inner city started with shoplifting and that led to strong-arm robberies and then to residential and business burglaries and assaults. 

A lot of housewives did their shopping later in the evening because it was less crowded, and it WAS SAFE to do so. 

Well, in a very little matter of time the area was rampant with a crime wave. Customers, especially the housewives, became the victims of strong-arm and armed robberies by these poor kids from the inner city. 

I know this to be true because I was working in law enforcement at the time out of the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station and my family and I were living in Saugus (and still do) during this time. 

The overseers of this rehab place went out of their way to cover for the kids who scampered back to the barracks after their crimes. 

The crime got so bad that there were husbands driving their wives to the market, then remaining outside to offer their wives protection from these poor inner-city gangsters. It was almost a vigilante-type atmosphere. 

Then it wasn’t much longer after this time period that the money ran out and so did the shiny suits and big cars. So much for the caring for the inner-city kids. 

Fast forward to today, where a state-appointed commission with a “community shared” controversial plan to realign the justice system, which would place all of L.A. County’s juvenile offenders in local camps just up Bouquet Canyon right in the midst of a thriving AND WELL-ESTABLISHED COMMUNITY. 

Literally right across the street (Bouquet Canyon Road) from this community. 

And I do not believe that these juvenile offenders are poor inner-city kids who need a spa and resort-type surrounding. 

I imagine that they are hard-core gangsters that District Attorney George Gascón wants to dump in our community. 

Remember that former representative of the Santa Clarita community, then-Assemblywoman Christy Smith (D), voted for and supported Senate Bill 823 as “an educational lens” for the gangsters in the 38th District. 

Remember the inner-city kids that they wanted to “rehab” back in the ’70s and the program failed miserably. Well, these are hard-core gangsters. You figure it out. 

I appeal to the L.A. County Board of Supervisors and to the City Council of the city of Santa Clarita to strongly voice your opposition to this program. 

I also appeal to the community of Saugus to do the same. Contact the Board of Supervisors and the City Council and voice your disapproval of this move. 

Direct your opposition to: Kathryn Barger, supervisor for the 5th District. E-mail: [email protected] Phone: 213-974-5555.

One taxpayer’s opinion. 

Dick Cesaroni 

Saugus 

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