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Bush Enters Troubled L.A. Area in 2-Day Anti-Drug Campaign

Times Political Writer

On 111th Street in South-Central Los Angeles, amid the city’s infamous drug and gang battlefields, Vice President George Bush on Tuesday politely explained his drop-by visit to the home of a local family.

“We won’t, ah. I didn’t want, ah, really just, ah. We were in the neighborhood . . . " he said to residents Josephine, 52, and James, 73, Batiste.

Indeed, with a medium-sized army of bodyguards at his side and five minivans full of reporters to record each step, Bush happened into the troubled city neighborhood because it was a good backdrop for a showy two-day campaign against drugs.

Accompanied by Police Chief Daryl F. Gates, Bush arrived in Los Angeles in the afternoon and drove straight to Locke High School. Here, 180 officers of the LAPD’s anti-gang task force answered roll call.

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‘Peace and Order’

“We’re going to place these little S.O.B.'s in jail where they belong and bring peace and order to this community,” Gates said, explaining the aim of the police department’s approach to gangs.

Bush called his visit “not political” and paid his respects to the massed officers.

“These narcotics traffickers and street gangs are a marriage made in hell,” the vice president said.

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Bush and Gates then walked across the street to the small but nicely kept home of the Batistes. They have lived in the house for more than 30 years and have spoken out in support of the massive show of police force.

“We need it very bad,” Batiste said.

Unbesieged Block

Perhaps Bush was slightly disappointed to hear the couple then say that neither drugs nor gangs were a problem on their block. It seemed as pleasant and unbesieged as middle-class urban living can be. Still, the couple told of trouble lurking only blocks away.

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“The chief tells me sometimes he goes in there with these battering rams (assaulting crack houses), and people are out there cheering and saying, ‘Thank God,’ ” Bush remarked.

Batiste, a retired security officer, told Gates: “I’ll pray for you.”


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