Governor names anti-gang czar

As part of the California Gang Reduction, Intervention and Prevention Program (CalGRIP) which he unveiled in Oakland in May, Gov. Schwarzenegger today appointed a former prosecutor to serve as the state’s anti-gang czar; named an anti-gang advisory panel; and released $2.8 million to fight gang violence.

Paul Seave will coordinate anti-gang programs and grants at all state agencies, serve as the state contact for local governments and community organizations and collect, evaluate and promote local best practices, the governor’s office said; he’ll also track all federal anti-gang funding and grants.

Seave already had been a federal prosecutor for 13 years by the time he started his tenure as U.S. Attorney for California’s Eastern District from 1997 to 2001. From 2001 to 2005 he was a special assistant attorney general and director of the California Attorney General’s Crime and Violence Prevention Center; the governor appointed him in 2005 as chief counsel for the State Board of Education. The Democrat’s new post doesn’t require Senate confirmation and pays $128,004.

(From left: Schwarzenegger, CHP Commissioner Mike Brown and Paul Seave. Photo Credit: William Foster, Office of Governor Schwarzenegger.)

The CalGRIP Advisory Committee members named today are:

  • Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer
  • Sacramento Sheriff’s Department Lt. Harvey Woo
  • Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent David L. Brewer III
  • Hope Matters president Jack Calhoun of McLean, Va., a leader of 13-city California City Gang Prevention Network
  • Electronic Recyclers CEO John Shegerian, Fresno
  • Advancement Project CEO Connie Rice, Los Angeles
  • Calvary Hill Community Church Senior Pastor the Rev. Dr. Joseph Bryant Jr., San Francisco
  • Overcoming Gangs founding member Darryl Charles, San Diego
  • A Time For Grieving mothers’ support group founder Deborah Aguilar, Salinas
  • San Bernardino High School Principal Sandra Rodriguez
  • That list includes nobody from the East Bay, where gang links were suspected in several homicides this past weekend. Schwarzenegger last month committed California Highway Patrol officers to patrol in Oakland in response to a recent spike in homicides and a request from Mayor Ron Dellums.

    And the Governor today directed the release of $2.8 million in discretionary Workforce Investment Act funds for local government to expand job training for at-risk and gang-involved youth and gang members. The plan is for local programs to match these state funds, for a $5.6 million total impact in 2007-08. The governor said CalGRIP next year will redirect $11.5 million in uncommitted funds, for a total impact of $23 million.

    Profiles of the appointees, after the jump…

    Paul Seave , State Director, Gang and Youth Violence Policy, Office of the Governor

    After working as a federal prosecutor for 13 years, Seave served as United States Attorney for the Eastern District of California between 1997 and 2001. In addition to directing an office of 65 attorneys, he chaired the executive committee of the Central Valley High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area, served as co-chair of the Greater Sacramento Area Hate Crimes Task Force, and founded Project HELP: Sacramento Mobilizing Against Substance Abuse. Seave’s office prosecuted more than 20 Stockton gang members as part of a multi-agency collaborative that reduced that city’s gang homicide rate by 75%. From 2001 to 2005, Seave was a Special Assistant Attorney General and Director of the California Attorney General’s Crime and Violence Prevention Center. His staff of 40 focused on such areas as domestic violence, gang violence, and elder abuse. In 2005, Governor Schwarzenegger named Seave to the position of Chief Counsel for the State Board of Education, where he served until his current appointment as Director of Gang and Youth Violence Policy, Office of the Governor. Seave received his bachelor’s degree in history from Princeton University, and his law degree cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania Law School.

    Deborah Aguilar, Founder, “A Time For Grieving”

    Deborah Aguilar is the founder of “A Time For Grieving,” a support group for Salinas mothers who have lost children due to violent crimes. After her son Stephen was killed in 2002 while driving home from a convenience store, Aguilar began efforts to unite mothers against gang violence so they could find ways to cope with tragedy and fight back to protect their communities. She and other mothers in the group continue to hold candlelight vigils and organize public rallies to raise awareness about violent crime in the area. Aguilar is also currently working with Salinas Mayor Dennis Donohue on the mayor’s anti-gang initiatives.

    David L. Brewer III, Superintendent, Los Angeles Unified School District

    Brewer was unanimously selected by the LAUSD board to become its superintendent in October of 2006. Brewer’s experience in managing large-scale educational operations began in the U.S. Navy, where he served as the Vice Chief of Naval Education and Training Command. Brewer organized contracts for the U.S. Navy with 11 institutions of higher-learning, which have provided bachelor and associate degrees to over 300,000 military personnel. As Superintendent of the LAUSD, Brewer oversees the second-largest school district in the United States and a $ 7.5 billion budget. Brewer also heads the David and Mildred Brewer Foundation, a philanthropic organization which provides scholarships to African American students. Brewer received a B.S. in Biology from Prairie View A&M University in Texas. He received an M.A. in National Security and Strategic Studies from the Naval War College in Newport, RI.

    Reverend Dr. Joseph Bryant, Jr., Senior Pastor, Calvary Hill Community Church, San Francisco

    Pastor Bryant is the Senior Pastor of Calvary Hill Community Church in San Francisco, and is the Director of Church Life for the San Francisco Peninsula Baptist Association (an organization affiliated with 65 churches). Pastor Bryant oversees Calvary Hill’s community outreach programs, which offer job training, GED programs, hip-hop workshops and after-school activities. After graduating from UC Santa Cruz, Bryant worked for nine years in various capacities for the San Francisco Unified School District. In May 2003, Rev. Bryant received his Master’s of Theological Studies (MTS) from the Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary. In April 2004, he was confirmed with an honorary Doctorate of Divinity degree from the Saint Thomas Christian College.

    Jack Calhoun, President, Hope Matters; Leader, 13-California City Gang Prevention Network

    Jack Calhoun worked toward founding the National Crime Prevention Council and served as its CEO for 20 years. He also managed the 4,500-member Crime Prevention Coalition of America. In 1979, President Carter named Calhoun to be the U.S. Commissioner of the Administration for Children, Youth and Families, where he worked on violence-prevention strategies. Over the past two decades, Calhoun has lectured around the world, and his expertise on violence-prevention has been featured on programs such as the “Today Show” and “Larry King Live.” As a current leader of the 13-California City Gang Prevention Network, Calhoun helps to coordinate anti-gang strategies among federal, state and local governments. Calhoun holds a B.A. from Brown University, a Master’s in Theology from the Episcopal Divinity School, and a Master’s in Public Administration from the Kennedy School at Harvard University.

    Darryl Charles, Founding Member of “Overcoming Gangs,” San Diego

    Darryl Charles owns several small businesses in San Diego; he has been involved in teen mentoring programs throughout Southern California which provide inner-city adolescents positive examples of African American men in their community. Charles also offers employment opportunities and internships to local at risk families and gang-involved youth. Charles is a member of Black Men United, providing services to at risk families, the local community and disengaged youth (ages 18-24). As one of the founding members of “Overcoming Gangs,” Charles focused on highlighting the ways in which young people from troubled backgrounds can overcome challenges to become successful entrepreneurs and professionals. Charles serves on San Diego’s delegation to the 13-cities Gang Advisory Network.

    Jerry Dyer, Fresno Chief of Police

    Prior to becoming police chief in 2001, Dyer supervised several high-profile units, including SWAT and the “Major Narcotics Unit.” During Chief Dyer’s tenure, Fresno experienced five consecutive years of crime decreases, culminating in a 35-year low in crime in 2006. Dyer’s anti-gang efforts during this period also resulted in over 2,500 gang-related arrests. Chief Dyer has been extensively involved the Mayor’s Gang Prevention Initiative (MGPI). Under Dyer, the Fresno Police Department has also developed a program which assists gang-affiliated individuals to dissolve former ties to local gangs. Dyer currently serves as the first Vice President of the California Police Chief’s Association and will assume the role of president in 2008. Chief Dyer has nearly three decades of law enforcement experience. Dyer received a B.S. in Criminology from Cal State Fresno; a Master’s Degree in Management from California Polytechnic University in Pomona; and is a graduate of the California Command College (where he was voted, “Most Inspirational Student” by his peers.)

    Connie Rice, CEO, The Advancement Project, Los Angeles

    Constance (Connie) L. Rice is CEO of the Advancement Project in Los Angeles, an organization that works to reform local government to improve services for low income residents. The Advancement Project recently completed a comprehensive study of Los Angeles’ gang problem, including 13 recommendations for ending gang violence, and presented the study to the Los Angeles City Council for consideration. Ms. Rice is a civil rights activist and was previously Co-Director of the Los Angeles office of the NAACP Legal Defense & Education Fund. Ms. Rice provides commentary for NPR on issues of civil rights, gang violence, and other legal issues. She has an AB in government from Harvard (1978) and law degree from New York University (1984).

    Sandra Rodriguez, Principal, San Bernardino High School

    Sandra Rodriguez has been a school administrator at San Bernardino High School (SBHS) for five years; she assumed her role as principal in March of 2006. Since becoming a school administrator, Rodriguez has contributed to a drastic reduction in the amount of on-campus violence. (She has been directly responsible for the Safety and Security of San Bernardino High School for over one year). Rodriguez has also been involved in after-school programs for most of her career in education. While working in a youth violence program known as Kids against Crime, she cooperated with law enforcement agencies and helped victims of crime in the local community. Since taking over as principal, Rodriguez has additionally created a number of student programs designed to curb the level of juvenile delinquency at SBHS and in the surrounding community. Rodriguez graduated from California Baptist University in 1999. She holds two master’s degrees; one in Special Education (2000) and another in School Administration (2002), both of which are from Azusa Pacific University.

    John Shegerian, CEO, Electronic Recyclers, Fresno

    John S. Shegerian is the Co-Founder, Chairman, and CEO of Electronic Recyclers, Inc., (ERI), the largest recycler of electronics (such as unwanted televisions, computers and monitors) in the State of California. He has co-founded and served in leadership positions on several business ventures, including FinancialAid.com, Addicted.com and Homeboy Industries. Mr. Shegerian’s willingness to hire former gang members to staff his businesses has helped reintegrate many of these individuals back into society. Mr. Shegerian serves on the California Commission for Jobs and Economic Growth, as an Ambassador of Education at California State University at Fresno, and on the Board of the Boys and Girls Club of Fresno. Shegerian is a graduate of New York University.

    Harvey Woo, Lieutenant, Sacramento Sheriff’s Department

    Woo has worked in law enforcement for 19 years, serving the various unincorporated communities in Sacramento. As a lieutenant in the Sacramento Sheriff’s Office, Woo was the Central Division Assistant Commander for the 2005 Asian Homicide-Gang Task Force. Woo had worked as a detective in the Gang Suppression Unit and served as an expert instructor on street gang validation and investigation. Woo has experience managing Patrol Operations and Corrections Operations of the Sacramento Sheriff’s Office, overseeing a staff of nearly 300 and a budget of over $38 million. Woo was recently reassigned from Corrections to serve as the Assistant Commander of the Northeast Patrol Division. Woo is also on the Board of Directors of the Asian Peace Officer Association. Harvey Woo holds a B.S. in Criminal Justice from Cal State Sacramento.

    Josh Richman

    Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

    • pastor william hemingway

      To the Governor, i’m also a former gang member from East Los Angeles, and like to express to offer some mediation to not just the gangs but to both law enforcement as well. I’ve been working with gang members for over twenty five years and prison gang members,and asking the government to give more resources to Christian faith based churches. Funds to help remove gang tattoo’s and new computer classes, job preparation in interview skills. How would i go about that to get more information?