Last summer, a popular Latino-themed Southern California-based publication, Tu Ciudad, ran an article (by Dennis Romero) on the growing tensions between the Black and Latino communities in the low to medium-class neighborhoods of Los Angeles, California. To Southern California residents, this problem is nothing new, seeing that in the last few years, numerous incidents have been reported on the local news that prove an obvious problem.

According to the article, much of the problem is stemming from overall growing pains in these neighborhoods. In L.A.’s historical past, the ‘hoods of different races were clearly divided, but more recently over the last couple decades, more immigrants than ever before, from Central America and Mexico, have been moving into the traditionally Black-inhabited communities. According to some Blacks, critical of their new neighbors, they are unhappy with the Latinos who speak little English (in an official English-spoken country), while many create eyesores of raising clotheslines in their front yards and hang their laundry, parking their cars (and doing maintenance work on them) on their front lawns, and taking away jobs for less pay.

On the flipside of that, Latinos blame many Blacks for the destruction of their privately owned businesses and property during the riots of ’92 and, in addition, sadly much of their hatred has been passed down in forms of general racial discrimination through generation after generation, often lasting through third and fourth generations of immigrants. Within the Harbor Area of L.A., many Latino street gangs have added fuel to the fire by instigating trouble between the two races. Verbal taunts, physical assaults and even hits have been made not only on Black gang members, but even on the average Black citizen simply because of their skin color. Officer Melody Hainline of the LAPD said that basically it’s a flat-out war from South L.A. to the Harbor Area.

Last year, numerous Southern California high schools had incidents of fighting and even rioting-such as one such incident at a school in South L.A. involving 100 Black and Latino students. Parents, obviously concerned, called for the schools to have increased security and added social programs in an effort to help. One school psychologist urged parents to be more involved with their kids’ life in general and to make sure that they teach their kids anti-hate behavior. The fact is, she says, is that we’re going to be living together regardless, so why not do it peacefully and recognize and respect each others’ cultures?

Famous political and religious icons have begun conferences and organizations to help bring the racial relationships back together. People like Rev. Jesse Jackson, Rev. Al Sharpton and newly-elected L.A. mayor Antonio Villaraigosa have taken part within the community speaking to individuals about the need for young Blacks and Latinos to work together. These icons have pointed out to people that the media has been largely to blame for exploiting the negative stories when it comes to local Black and Latino relations, rather than on the positive ones.

But, if there’s one medium that they or the media forgot to mention, it’s the ever-growing color-blind automotive genre of lowriding. For decades now, this Latino and Black-based lifestyle has grown into a multi-million dollar industry found worldwide with followers from Europe, Japan, Australia, and in the North, Central and South Americas, and has put faces behind the wheels of custom cars that are Black, Brown, White and everything in between. The L.A. area has always been a trend-setting mecca, in particularly for lowriders. Even to this day, any local car show or park get-together proves that what has or is happening in the dangerous streets can be set aside for this one mutual love of car customizing.

Car clubs like Majestics, Devotions, Rollerz Only and Uce, as well as many others, have to be commended for bringing about their multi-ethnic organizations together. Just about every member of those clubs see each other as blood brothers and get along just fine, as if there were no tomorrow. It’s hopefully within their families that their love can be passed along to the kids, like the ones fighting each other in the SoCal high schools. For those students, it’s assumed that the hate must be coming from within their households. It’s important that adults do not pass this unnecessary racism down to kids, especially since the results are always bad. There was one thing that the infamous Rodney King said after the ’92 L.A. riots began that made logical sense: “Can’t we all just get along?” It’s not that hard… keep ridin’!

Gta Topo 10New statistics reveal the hottest cities for auto theft-are you in one of them?Although nationally auto theft decreased by 2.6-percent this past year, California still ranked as number one. Of the top 10 cities ranked for grand theft auto nationwide, seven were in California! According to findings by the NICB (National Insurance Crime Bureau), the communities of Las Vegas, Nevada; Phoenix-Mesa, Arizona; and Seattle-Everett-Bellevue, Washington; round out the top 10 hottest GTA cities. Previous “hot spots” Detroit, Michigan, and Miami, Florida, fell out of this most recent top 10 list.

1. Modesto, CA2. Stockton-Lodi, CA3. Las Vegas, NV4. Phoenix-Mesa, AZ5. Sacramento, CA6. Oakland, CA7. Visalia-Tulare-Porterville, CA8. San Diego, CA9. Fresno, CA10. Seattle-Bellevue-Everett, WA

According to Hot Spots, NICB’s annual report on auto theft rates, NICB reviewed data supplied by the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) for each of the nation’s 336 metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs). MSAs are designated by the Office of Management and Budget and may include areas surrounding a specific city. For example, the number one Hot Spot in the current report is Modesto, California. The Modesto MSA, however, includes data not only from the city of Modesto, but the entire county of Stanislaus in which Modesto is located. The rate is determined by the number of vehicle theft offenses per 100,000 inhabitants using Census 2000 population figures.

Increase the chances of your vehicle not being stolen by using common sense tactics such as removing your keys from the ignition, locking your doors and closing your window, parking in well-lit areas, and using warning and security devices. Anyone with information concerning auto theft and insurance fraud can report it anonymously by calling toll-free 1-800-TEL-NICB (1-800-835-6422) or by visiting the NICB Web site at www.nicb.org.

No Spin ZoneNew York law tries to ban spinner rims!Recently, legislation came up to New York state’s lawmakers that would prohibit the sale and use of motor vehicles equipped with spinner hubcaps or spinner add-ons for custom rims. If it had gone through and a driver with these types of spinner rims or hubcaps would have been cited, he or she would have to face a fine of up to $750! Even those selling these rims could be faced with a fine of $150 for each violation that they are convicted of.

Before the NY legislature adjourned for the year, the bill was killed. The measure ignored the fact that custom wheels are not prohibited by federal law and that the spinners have no proven effect on motor vehicle safety. Similar bills have been made, and also killed, in the states of Iowa and Virginia. It’s possible that the bill can come up again in 2006. In the meantime, keep spinning, Big Apple cruisers.

Calling All Car ClubsEnter to win Eagle One’s Golden Rule Award.Eagle One has announced the availability of entry forms for its annual Golden Rule Awards. A total of $7,000 in cash donations and products for fund-raising purposes will be awarded to car clubs in four regions judged to have conducted the most outstanding community service program in their region during 2005. Previous winners include La Gente C.C.-Imperial Valley.

Entry forms are available and can be downloaded at www.eagleone.com or by calling (818) 501-1445. Deadline for entries will be December 23, 2005. Cash donations of $1,000 each by Eagle One and associate sponsor Valvoline will provide $500 contributions to a favorite charity or charities of each of the four winning clubs. Winners and runners-up will also receive a generous supply of Eagle One’s Bucket-Free Car Wash, as well as many other car care products, and Valvoline MaxLife motor oil for fund-raising purposes. Winners will be notified by January 30, 2006.