Thursday, March 1, 2007

Council Hears From Drown Street Residents

UPDATE: After the attempted murder charge was changed to assault with a deadly weapon, Jimmy Villalpando was released after posting $90,000 bail. He failed to show up in court, as promised, and a $250,000 warrant has been issued for his arrest.

The drive-by-shooting on the 300 block of Drown Street a week ago generated a mixed response from Ojai residents at Tuesday night’s City Council meeting.
While one Drown Street resident said that she hadn’t slept well since, others in the neighborhood considered the shooting to be an isolated incident and did not feel threatened.
Ojai Police Chief Bruce Norris explained that suspect Jimmy Villalpando was an Oak View resident and a transplant from the Ventura area, with some reported gang ties in Ventura, and was currently being detained on $90,000 bail.
Read more


Anonymous said...

in regards to the incident, this is not the first time this has happened on this street and with the individual who got shot? he was in trouble a while back. I recall the name of injured and several months ago or over a year he was stabbed?what does this tell you about it?

Anonymous said...

I agree. This has been an ever growing problem in the East Oak-Drown-Fulton Street area for the past few years.

Law enforcement are trying to do the best job they can with little support for what really needs to happen....drop the kumbayah crap and tell limp-wristed loud mouths like Leary to go pound sand. He can go preach his twisted view of reality in the 'Nard....where he'll probably last about 2 seconds.

We need to let our police and our council know that we won't tolerate this crap.

We don't want or need to hear a bunch of absurd psycho-babel concerning some poor gang member's childhood. Excuses need to end, including the ever prevalent Race-Card. Patience is running out.

The only thing required for evil to prevail, is for good men to do nothing.

Long Time Ojai Resident said...

Many comments have been made about "illegal aliens" living in our community...

Here's one more aspect to consider before passing judgement: Many (if not most) of those living here illegally are not necessarily "standing on street corners" and working for cash. Many have social security cards (albeit illegally obtained) and pay into "the system" just like you and me in the form of payroll and social security taxes that are withheld from their paychecks. They are here psuedo- legally (or illegally - however one chooses to look at it). Many don't file with the IRS (for obvious reasons) so the refund that they would normally be entitled to stays in the government's coffer. The government at every level tolerates this (looks the other way, if you will) in varying degrees because this secondary labor force serves a purpose without which our economy would take a huge hit. Five bucks for an orange, anyone?

Yes, gang-related activity and crime should not be tolerated, but as Evan and Rob attest to, more in-depth understanding and compassion should be shown with regards to figuring out the "root" of the problem. It's easy to make snap judgements and cruel remarks - harder to really dig into an issue and look at it from all sides.

Most of the people living this reality in this community are some of the hardest working people around. They are law abiding, good citizens and are just trying to create a decent life for themselves and take care of their families. When they are insulted or looked down upon, they hurt every bit as much as you would in the same situation.

It is obvious from these many posts (and over at the Ojai Post) that people with different perspectives and different walks of life are reading what is written. I urge people to choose their words carefully. Words can hurt; they can "cut like a knife" and one can be unintentionally compounding the problem without even realizing it.

Anonymous said...

The $5.00 an orange comment is the same as if you don't want illegal aliens here your a racist. If we stop the illegal border crossings there will still be labor to pick the crops with a legal worker program.
Because they want to make a better life does not justify breaking the law. I would have a better life (financially) if I broke the law,but I don,t. O.K. look at it from all sides, crossed the border illegally,looking
from the right side,broke our law.
from the left side,broke our law from the front,broke our law.
from the back,broke our law.
Get in line like everybody else who want's wants to come here.....

Anonymous said...

I had to sign off for a minute before I finished the previous comment. I think one solution worth considering is what Canada does. When an employer want's workers he goes to a list of available workers,provides up front air fare to and from Canada,and a set wage.
This is for the worker ONLY, when the job is done the worker goes home. That's not all the finer points but you get the idea.This sounds good to me, if someone wants to immigrate here that's a different,go thru the process. No matter why someone comes here illegally it is breaking the law and breaking the law means you are a criminal....criminal entrants into the country should be deported.

LTOR said...

Hi Anonymous,

Thanks for responding. My intention in writing wasn’t necessarily to debate the complexities of immigration. I simply wanted to make the following points:

1) There is an economical and practical need for this secondary labor force. I think, judging from your response, you are in agreement. You make a good point; perhaps a legal guest-worker program is a viable solution.

2) Not every one of these people is siphoning off resources as some like to claim. Many pay taxes and have never seen the inside of an emergency room.

3) And despite their legal status, their dignity is just as important as yours or mine. With all due respect, it is easy to say “Well, since I don’t break the law, why should they”. We live in a country where (for the most part) there is enough to go around and opportunities to sustain a decent standard of living are fairly abundant. Not always so in third-world countries and other parts of the world. In the words of Bono in that Band Aid song from the eighties – just “thank God it’s them instead of you”.

I'm not trying to condone illegal immigration. Just urging some out there to think things through a little bit more and perhaps try to "put yourself in another's shoes" before making judgments.

Anonymous said...

I just heard the shooter was released on bail. Does he still have a gun?

Anonymous said...

Great coverage on an important issue! Keep it up!

Rob Clement said...

To anonymous number two,

The disgust, anger, and hatred founded in your statement is exactly the type of insidious disease that creates the problem addressed. I can understand if you don't feel like singing kumbayah, holding hands, and picking flowers in the face of danger. The fool sits idly by while vermin threaten his grain. But to attack Dennis Leary, calling him limp wristed, and calling his view of reality twisted, in addition to wishing his demise in Oxnard, you prove yourself as no better then those you hate.

You are at your root level of fight or flight reactionary disciplines. This is fine, as you at least realize there is an immediate and present danger. You are correct to say evil prevails where we allow it. But what breeds evil? Kumbayah?

Law enforcement does need our help, for without citizen participation there is no law. I ask you what makes a great society? Do you believe that ranting on about what you will and will not tolerate is a step to achieving greatness?

We, as humans, always fall short of greatness in our inability to act. And what are we to do? So easy is it to simply complain about what others are or aren't doing we defeat ourselves.

As for what to do I can offer only suggestions, ideas that to an angry and frightened mind sound only like the weak buzz of fairy wings. But to you number two I must insist on daring you to participate.

Bitching to City Council will do one thing for you. It will make you feel better about yourself for a short time, filling you with a sense of pride that you at least did something. This is a trap. You have done nothing.

To DO something is to go forward into the world around you and make a positive change. Not just in your immediate circles, where you feel safe. This is cowardice. I mean when you're at Vallerjo and several kids with skin several shades browner then your own walk around the corner and you get the sick feeling in your gut as your muscles clamp and your armpits stink with the rancor of primordial fear because your dead sure they could hurt you, in this time I challenge you to say hello.

That is a change. That is bravery. That is DOING something to address the problem.

Men (and women thank God) like Dennis Leary, those who do not fear their name to be drug through the sewers by the tongues of lesser men are the brave. Limp-wristed are those who hide behind anonymous titles and balk and jeer at those who try. I do not offer a challenge to you, anonymous two, to share your name. But I do raise you this: put aside your self-righteous attitude for five minutes, no really, five minutes, at home where you feel safe, and quiet yourself. Stop seething for one moment and receive your own words as if someone where saying them to you. How does that feel? What do you want to do about it? Does it make you angry? More so then you are now?

Anonymous said...

Rob, that was not right. A#2 has a point, whether you are hearing it or not. Your premise that A#2’s attitude “creates the problem addressed,” is unsupportable. One gang member shot another, and it wasn’t because of people with A#2’s attitude. Which, by the way, includes fear is of behavior, not brown skin. Gang members behave differently than my dentist, or my boss, or my next door neighbors, who all have brown skin. Gang members are predators; saying “hello” to them is drawing attention that will show you to be weak and a potential victim for them to exploit. And you played the very race card A#2 mentioned, which only changes the subject from the original point. Gang and criminal behavior make Ojai crappy; not brown people. Everybody knows this in 2007.

Your post accuses A#2 of being self-righteous, but winds up being a lecture to somebody that you know is basically decent and will not harm you. That is why you feel comfortable signing your name, and asserting your moral superiority. I challenge you to write something to Jimmy Villapondo who is out on bail, or gang members in general, and tell them to stop tagging, criming, assaulting, intimidating others, and sign your name. Do it in the OVN, where somebody might see it, instead of a blog that five people read.

I am not signing my name, because I am afraid of gang members that have already shown themselves willing to use deadly violence, and the inability of the police to protect me and my family.

Anonymous said...

To the person just above this post.

Anonymous said...

Just noticed the news item that said the shooter failed to appear on 3/1 and a warrant was issued. Was this not covered in the OVN? Why not? Seems the OVN should have had a reporter at the arraignment, or at least followed up on it. There have been 3 issues of the OVN printed since he missed his 3/1 court date. Hmmmm.

Anonymous SPK said...

Anonymous says to anonymous anonymously that they hate gang members and decent people like Leary.

Anonymous beats his chest anonymously.

LTOR warns anonymous to try to remember to be nice.

Anonymous calls names and blames everything on immigration.

Rob gets a little pissed and tells anonymous to cool it!

Anonymous jumps on high horse and actually uses crime as a verb (of the genitive variety).

Anonymous thinks he's at a masquarade opera.

Anonymous implies a conspiracy involving the OVN and apparently a gang fugitive.

It's all far too anonymous for me.

Anonymous said...

Is he still on the loose? Does anyone have his photo?

Anonymous said...

Another issue of the Ojai News comes and goes and still no word to let the public know that the alleged shooter is still on the loose...a fugitive after not showing up for his first court date. How quickly we forget the biggest crime to happen in our sleepy little burg in quite some time. Is bail a good idea?

Anonymous said...

So much for the D.A.'s commitment to fighting gangs and crime in general.

?If the DA were shot at for what ever reason, and not even hit, do you think it would be called an assault?

?Don't you feel safer now?

Anonymous said...

Has anyone stopped their fear of gangs long enough to consider the facts a little deeper. This guy Villalpando rides around with a friend in an SUV and shoots a guy in the chest on Drown. That much we know, but does this really fit the standard drive by model? Villalpando is apparently 24 years old. A little long in the tooth for the standard model. Then there's the matter of the very low bail amount and the lessor charge. Ventura County is known as a very conservative, "throw the book at 'em" type court system. It seems very strange to me that Villalpando would be treated so kindly with the lessor charge and the within reach bail amount. Why would the VC prosecutor be so lenient on a guy who just rode down Drown St. in Ojai in broad daylight and shot somebody TWICE. I have a theory, and you "what are we going to do about all the mexican gangbangers" types are not going to like it because it involves your beloved law enforcement system. It is very likely that Villalpando was some sort of informant for some federal/state/county agency. Think about it. Why else would they allow him such a small bail amount and not charge him with attempted murder. It would also help explain why this guy felt so emboldened that he could shoot someone in broad daylight on the streets of Ojai. Further, his subsequent disappearance to Mexico is highly suspicious. My pet theory is that he was a snitch for someone like the DEA or the FBI or even the VC Gang Unit which led him to decided that he was beyond reproach he shot someone. He was given a lessor charge and allowed bail. Not to help him to make a defense, but to get him out of the reach of the court so he wouldn't testify. It wouldn't look too good that he was working with law enforcement.

Lenny Roberts said...

Pretty amazing speculation about the DEA, etc. and Villalpando being in Mexico. I think maybe the D.A. felt that if a jury did not believe the attempted murder charge, the suspect could skate. Consider that the reduced charges may be easier to prove with the same sentence of 30 years.

Anonymous said...

I think the D.A. simply wanted to make his job easier.

I wonder still, if he had been the one shot twice, or someone in his family, if his colleagues would simply say "Oh this is a clear case of assault with a deadly weapon, there is no way the shooter meant to kill". NOT.

To reduce the charge so readily, to hand out a get of jail card-90,000 dollar bail, shows indifference to the people, shows a lack of purpose for his position and shows to us the Ventura County has neither a plan nor the wherewithal to fight for us, be it gang activity or not.

I'm not totally discounting the two post above, but merely I find my self cynical concerning this matter and some of the other crime stories in Ventura/Ojai over the years.

Hopefully they will catch him, have the attempted murder charge reinstated, and publicly spank the D.A. for being off track, again.

evan said...

just to clear up, for myself:
now we want to punish the punishers for failing to punish the criminals "properly"?

this whole punishment business seems kind of messy to me...time for something else?

Dana said...

Well Evan, I've been thinking how to respond to your question. What makes it difficult for me is that on the face of your comment, I agree. Punishment, period, is messy.

?How many people would like to be the one to dole it out, to a person they know not, for a trespass/transgression they witnessed not, so society can reclaim/maintain an accepted behavior among it's members?

It is easy to arm chair what should be done as I did.
But I spoke/speak as one who is frustrated by hearing how the Ventura Officials talk the talk concerning crime then let this guy walk.
I speak as one who has been held up at gun point not once, but twice, with a shot fired in one of those incidences after I deflected the gun.

(sounds so trivial now, when I think of those in Iraq/Afghanistan, including some of my relatives)

I speak as one who grew up in Ojai, on Drown Street, where the only violence was adolescent boys doing what they do worse, proving themselves. One day you show your brawn, only to be brained the next.

Some of those I fought with are dead now. But I'm sure they held no ill will for me as I didn't for them. Some are still in Ojai, and we are civil to each other, not because it is expected, but because that was the Ojai we knew. We grew up, not in spite of each other, but because of each other. We made choices and were to some degree, held in check by one or another.

Now in Ojai, their is an element that knows not the ways of old Ojai. They carry guns. ?Do you carry a gun, or anyone reading this? These people stand beside you, YOU, at the gas station, at the market, at the park, even in the movie house, and at church.

?Wasn't there a shooting at Saint Thomas Church in M.O. several months ago, during an event for kids, maybe a wedding?

You also mentioned-time for something else.
Well Evan, again you make my life difficult. For I agree with you. Whether we agree on tactics, I don't know.

What I do know, Ojai is not made up of only people such as those who frequent this blog, or The Ojai Post, people, who seem to be inspired, to live a life grand and share their path. Indeed, there are people, in Ojai, who WILL, with out a second thought, take that grand life away from you, as we saw on drown. Fortunately, the victim lived, only to have his assailant, made free by the D.A..

Thanks Evan, for keeping me honest, I only wish you show me how to be as brief as you were.


evan said...


thanks for sharing your thoughts and experiences...i hope everyone agrees that this is what community blogging is for.

i'm very intrigued that our points of agreement are a struggle for you in some ways. i hear some pain and fear that is still in you, and you surprise me a little with an energy that seems to tell me to "be afraid; amoral animals with guns are all around you". i do not carry a gun and never would not help me to feel safe at all.

i am glad that you feel safe enough here to share your past and present concerns.

dana said...

The struggle for me is that though I agree with you on that "this whole punishment business seems kind of messy to me", referring to my admonishment of the D.A. of Ventura, is I can't help believe he should be held accountable, for actions that led to the release of the highly likely assailant.

I'm not the D.A. nor am I a vigilante, I too don't carry a gun.
I leave it to those who were elected or appointed to follow their words with actions, befitting their position's purpose. His actions let an entire community down.

I'm sure Bruce Norris isn't happy about this, to see his work go to waste. Now he has to clean up after the D.A..

As for fear and pain, it comes out when I think of what those on Drown, who went through that experience, as well my recount of some of my experiences. I know nearly all those there, so it's personal for me.

About amoral animals with guns (by the way, I liked how you put that),I wasn't trying to create a paranoia, or for that matter, reveal one, I wanted to point out that one of the new realities in Ojai is as I described and I don't think anyone can argue that.

I'm sure that those on Drown walk freely without fear now, but I'm sure that they carry an awareness of what is possible, for they seen for themselves, a piece of Ojai's new reality.