Monday, February 9, 2009

Outta Bizness

Finally some good news! - Graffiti cleanup agency goes out of businessJanuary 2nd, 2009
Los Padrinos Youth Services paid off its graffiti cleanup crews and went out of business Tuesday as San Bernardino city officials prepare to hire their own city workers to take on the work.
“For me, I can make it, but I worry about some of these kids,” said Padrinos Youth Leader Joseph Lujan, a recovering drug addict who has worked for the social service agency since 2001.
“When this program was running, there was hope for them. Now, some of them are asking, ‘What do I do now?’ ”
For 16 years, Los Padrinos was San Bernardino’s contractor for graffiti cleanup, hiring recovering addicts, reformed criminals and teens considered at risk of gang membership.
But City Council members approved funding Dec. 15 to hire a city cleanup crew, in part because they weren’t satisfied with Los Padrinos’ work.
Officials said they tried to help the agency stay in business with a $250,000 contract to staff city cleanup days, pick up abandoned furniture and perform similar tasks.That’s less than half the annual funding received by the agency up to now, and Executive Director Max Alonso said the proposed contract would have stuck Los Padrinos with a loss of nearly $12,000 per month.
On Tuesday, Alonso distributed the agency’s tools, trailers and vans to work crew leaders, who said they still hope to continue cleanup assignments as a reconstituted agency.
Mayoral Chief of Staff Jim Morris said he has met with Padrinos workers to offer some advice on establishing a nonprofit.
Now, it’s up to them to take the initiative, Morris said.

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