In the fight against gang warfare, even political archenemies can be allies.
Such was the case Monday for veteran Supervisor Kenneth Hahn and fellow board member Mike Antonovich, who were honored by an anti-gang program in Southwest Los Angeles for donating funds to help pay for a new six-bed shelter and a boxing gym to help the area’s youth.
Chilton Alphonse, founder and executive director of the Community Youth Sports and Arts Foundation, was so appreciative of the two supervisors’ support that he named the new facilities in the 4800 block of South Crenshaw Boulevard “Kenny’s Place” and “Mike’s Community Gym” after the two political antagonists.
‘Been There for Us’
“They’ve been there for us when we’ve needed help,” Alphonse explained. “Who would have thought of that?”
Certainly not most of the 100 guests, including such notables as City Councilwoman Ruth Galanter, City Atty. James K. Hahn, state Sen. Diane Watson (D-Los Angeles), actor Stan Shaw and boxing greats Mando Ramos and Carlos Palomino.
The 68-year-old Hahn, a liberal Democrat who was first elected to the board in 1954, has tangled over numerous social and growth issues with Antonovich, 48, since the boyish-looking conservative Republican defeated incumbent Baxter Ward in 1980 and won reelection in 1984.
But the two have agreed to support Alphonse’s program to fight gangs by contributing discretionary anti-gang funds in their budgets. With the help of Hahn, in whose 2nd District the foundation is located, it has received more than $100,000 from the county since it was formed in 1986.
And Antonovich’s office recently contributed $40,000, Alphonse said.
Antonovich--who is facing Ward again in next Tuesday’s election--did not attend the dedication ceremonies.
‘A Good Program’
“That’s OK about Mike,” the wheelchair-bound Hahn said. “This is a good program.”
Gary Shiohama, Antonovich’s assistant chief deputy, added: “We didn’t want to take away any of Kenny’s thunder on this.”