You make the call.
Here's the situation--parts of the 21st Ward in north St. Louis are some of the most violent neighborhoods in the area. A few weeks ago there was a spike in the violence. Homicides. Shootings.
There's a new push on to clean up the neighborhood. A few weeks ago, the alderman and the state representative met with some of the residents. Many are current or former gang members. They said they wanted jobs. The alderman is now pushing to hire perhaps 30 to 40 people for temporary jobs renovating parts of O'Fallon Park in north St. Louis.
Should gang members get priority on the jobs? If I have a kid who makes straight A's in school and is looking for a summer job should he get the job? Should it be those who live in the neighborhood? Should it be restricted to a certain geographic area? The alderman says he's hoping those from the neighborhood who take the jobs will have a sense of pride in their work. A sense of ownership. That is desperately needed there. What's unfortunate is many of these gang members have the personalities and qualities that would make a good leader in other fields. They choose to be gang members.
But this is not just a case of handing over things to people who may be less than deserving. The alderman says this is a carrot & stick approach. Besides the jobs there are also plans in the works to install cameras around the district to cut down on the crime. Lawmakers are also working closely with police and the courts to try to make sure that scofflaws are caught and are off the streets for long periods.
Should those involved with gangs get priority on the jobs?