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'Enough is enough,' citizen says to Modesto council about gangs

Fallout from three recent fatal shootings surfaced at Tuesday's Modesto City Council meeting with one man imploring the city to crack down on gangs, and Mayor Jim Ridenour urging residents to work with police in deterring crime.

"Enough is enough is enough," said west Modesto resident Bishop Bergstrom.

"We want those caught for the 2-year-old who was innocently shot," he said, referring to the April 25 wounding of 22-month-old Josue Becerra. "We want you to take back the city from these gangs."

Ridenour said the city has increased police patrols to respond to the three killings in south and west Modesto over the past month. He encouraged people to call in anonymous tips to the Police Department at 521-4636.

"We are doing a lot of things," he said. "We're holding meetings. We're trying to get out to the families, because that's where it's going to stop and end -- with the families."

Two other speakers pushed for a community-based strategy aimed at suppressing violence.

"We're not going to arrest ourselves out of this problem," said John Ervin, director of community affairs for Modesto City Schools.

"This is our community and it doesn't belong to anyone else," said Jeremiah Williams, a business owner and former City Council candidate.

Williams helped organize a May 24 march against violence that will together community groups and government agencies. It is scheduled to start at 11 a.m. in front of the county courthouse on I Street.

In addition, the council met in closed session to discuss:

An update to a 2005 wage discrimination lawsuit filed by Jo Ann Bertolotti and Leslie Curtin, two city Finance Department supervisors who claimed the city underpaid them

An update to the city's contract negotiations with the Modesto City Employees Association, a 440-member union

City Council members are expected to attend a forum on gang violence tonight at Modesto High School. Law enforcement agencies plan to bring resources for parents. It begins at 7 p.m.

Bee staff writer Adam Ashton can be reached at aashton@modbee.com or 578-2366.

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