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Sacramento Approves Program to Pay Gang Members for Peace

City Council in Sacramento, Calif. / Twitter
• September 5, 2017 1:07 pm

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The City Council in Sacramento, Calif. last week unanimously approved the controversial  "Advance Peace" program, through which the city offers cash stipends to gang members who remain peaceful.

The 9-0 council vote came after a violent weekend in California's state capital during which a 49-year-old father was gunned down at Meadowview Park, Fox40 reported.

The victim, Ernie Cadena, was in the "wrong place at the wrong time" when he was shot and killed by a man believed to be a gang member.

"It was his only day off from work, and he just came to the wrong place at the wrong time,"said Aliseah Cadena, the victim's daughter "He was a wonderful father, and he was a soon-to-be father. And I wish I could have him back."

Four others were shot along with Ernie Cadena, but he was the only fatality.

The homicide prompted Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg (D.) to push for a quick vote on the Advance Peace program.

The program offers gang members cash stipends to graduate from college and not engage in violence. The city of Sacramento will have to pay half the program's costs, $1.5 million, out of its general fund.

Councilwoman Angelique Ashby has criticized the Advance Peace program's language and often clashed with Steinberg prior to the vote.

"In multiple places in the resolution, we say it's a four-year contract, in the contract, we call it a three-year contract, those are key critical terms, they don't agree," she said.

Ultimately, all members of the council got on board with the program, which "claims success" in dropping crime rates in Richmond, Fox40 noted.

But some of Ernie Cadena's friends do not know how the vote is going to change anything in the city. One friend, Allen Brown, called approving the program "senseless."

"How's the vote going to change anything? It's up to the community to change. You know what I mean? It's just senseless," Brown said.

The City Council vote occurred the same night of a candlelight vigil for Cadena. City staff are now reworking the language of the program's contract.

Published under: California, Violence