(Los Alamitos, 1/15/2013) Today we welcome a new contributor. Actually two new contributors, Dave and Rebecca Lara. They are Rossmoor residents who are perhaps best known for their leadership of the Rossmoor Predator Management Team, now consisting of over 1,500 Rossmoor and Los Al neighbors!
I’ve been posting info from them for years, and excited about having them as regular authors. Coyotes and criminals, & other predators are just one of many concerns shared by all residents of the 9070 zip code. And those are just a few of the varied topics I expect the Laras to share their perspective on in the weeks ahead, as their post for this week reveals:
by Dave & Rebecca Lara: Recently, two Orange County news stories received national attention.
The first involved an African-American family in Yorba Linda who had to flee Orange County due to racial motivated crimes against them. The couple were both peace officers in Los Angeles County and felt they had to flee for the safety of their family.
The second story involves acid bombs placed on the front lawn of an African-American Family who had recently moved into Rossmoor. One of the bombs actually exploded while the resident was on the phone reporting the bombs to the Orange County Sheriff.
Readers’ comments on resulting news stories ranged from outrage to “these are just teenage pranks” and” minorities are always calling everything ‘hate crimes’.” A frequent sentiment was that minorities are too sensitive and pull out the race card any chance they get.
Being a Hispanic couple who have lived in Orange County’s Rossmoor for over 30 years, we would like to relay the following two stories:
“A More Comfortable Neighborhood”
Thirty years ago while house hunting in Rossmoor, a real estate agent approached me [David Lara] at an open house. He stopped me in the living room, walked us outside, and said “let me show you some homes that you would feel more comfortable in”.
I was driven by this agent to homes in Westminster, but none of them interested us. The agent then said, “Let me show you two more homes that I know you would feel comfortable in. One of the homes is very close to the Catholic Church.”
He then drove me again to another neighborhood which was in Los Alamitos. Again, showing no interest, I questioned the Realtor why he was not showing me a home in Rossmoor.
He stated that Rossmoor homes are expensive and we couldn’t afford a home in Rossmoor. However, he never asked my financial status or ability to purchase home. Was I too sensitive to the words “comfortable neighborhood”?
“Why Don’t You Go Walk Your Dogs In Your Own Neighborhood?”
Maybe you’re thinking that was 30 years ago. Ten years ago, my wife went to Rush Park to walk our dogs. Upon seeing owners with their loose dogs, she requested if they would put their dogs on a leash so our dogs could also enjoy the park.
In response, one dog owner yelled at her, “Why don’t you go walk your dogs in your own neighborhood? Los Alamitos has a lot of parks!”
Not being a shy person, my wife returned the dogs home and then returned to the park. She walked up to the individual questioning how he thought he knew where she lived and why he didn’t think she lived in Rossmoor?
Her purpose was to make him responsible for his line and manner of questioning . He stammered for a quick response but could only come back with “Well, I have never seen you here before.” Do you think he asks this question to every resident he has never seen before? Perhaps Rebecca may have been too sensitive to the words “your own neighborhood?”
Recent Acid Bombs
In discussing the recent acid bomb crime among residents, it was interesting to note that if I asked an ethnic minority member of Rossmoor, they would recant their own racial experiences while living here.
Residents who were not minority members believed that no racism existed in Rossmoor or even Orange County.
Public officials first label the acid bombs incidents as mere “pranks.” Pranks that could burn skin, blind or cause death if swallowed ! The dictionary definition of ”prank” is “malicious mischief.” A prank is not a felony, but, per the California Penal Code, acid bombs are.
Public officials further stated that the acid bombs were probably placed in our community by “outsiders”. After all, no one in Rossmoor would commit a crime(?)
These same public officials had to eat their own words when they described the attempted murder of a female by a knife-welding suspect who probably was a gang member that lived in Long Beach. Not surprising to those in law enforcement, the suspect lived within Rossmoor just 3 blocks from where the attack occurred.
Yes, criminals do live in Rossmoor and racial incidents do occur. Wes, an Asian-American Rossmoor Resident stated that he fights racism by introducing himself and his family to new residents in his community. He invites them to his home and then introduces them to their new neighbors.
Wes says it has taken a few years but today he has the greatest neighbors and would never move out of Rossmoor. Perhaps empathy should be the new word we all look up in dealing with victims of racism?
It’s hard to rationalize when American soldiers fight wars away from home to maintain our freedom, yet when crimes against American ethnic groups are committed here at home, we look the other way.
No matter what the ethnicity we have to start talking about these issues and not in a manner of history but a matter of current events.
It’s not just an ethnic issue, it’s an American Issue!