Gangs the big issue at State of the City luncheon - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Gangs the big issue at State of the City luncheon

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YAKIMA, Wash. -- Yakima City Council gives an update on the state of the city. The hot topic, what's being done to stop gangs. They say more communities are getting on board with anti-gang legislation.

"We gotta stop being fluffy about this," said one businessman at the Chamber of Commerce Luncheon.

The business community looked for answers following the state of the city address. What's being done about gangs and is it enough?

"I mean when you have young people killing each other, I mean how can you say you're doing enough until its over, until we can stop it," said Kathy Coffey, council member, City of Yakima.

The council recently returned from an Association of Washington Cities convention where now more and more communities are realizing they have also have gang problems.

"You can see that they're beginning to understand. We provided them with our gang free initiative and there was a real hunger for more information," said Coffey.

Anti-gang legislation failed last session, but council members say new support from other cities and law enforcement is encouraging.

"So all the lawmen across the state finally get it, they're on board," said Dave Ettl, council member, City of Yakima.

The Safe Streets Program, announced in May, is also getting close to bringing federal help to Yakima. Operations should begin this month.

Council members also say that the American Civil Liberties Union is helping with anti-gang legislation this time around, which may help get the legislation passed.

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