Facing opposition for re-election, the Santa Clara County district attorney on Thursday announced a slew of community grants in East San Jose, ranging from park improvements to youth intervention programs.
District Attorney Jeff Rosen chose Hillview Park to announce $50,000 in annual grants to 13 community groups, and criminals are paying for it. It's part of his "Bend the Arc" program of criminal justice reforms after George Floyd's murder.
"Comes from money that criminals made from selling drugs, from stealing cars, from robbing people’s homes," Rosen said. "It's really the dirty proceeds of criminal activity."
One grant will help Hillview Park plant trees, so residents can have some shade when they bring their families out. Other grants address the growing concern of youth violence.
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"We have weapons, drugs, alcohol, prostitution issues at our skate park," Plata Arroyo Neighborhood Association President Danny Garza said.
Garza said he's been battling the difficult issues for years, while fighting the criminal justice system at the same time. He was glad to see Rosen in his backyard on Thursday.
"I’m glad that the district attorney is here -- not arresting us but helping us, not putting us in jail but putting us in contact with opportunities," Garza said.
Activists said they don't care that Rosen is in a fight for re-election, not when they're fighting bigger battles in their own neighborhoods.
"It really came down to who’s going to help us moving forward," NAACP President Bob Nunez said.
Neighbors said it was good to see police officers in East San Jose handing out ice cream Thursday instead of tickets.
"I think things are starting to change," Garza said. "We’ve made enough noise. We’ve been heard."