South El Monte is a small city in San Gabriel Valley, Los Angeles County, California. It has a small population, estimated in 2018 at just barely reaching 21,000. It is a young city, having been chartered only after the Second World War in 1958, though already home to Mexican and Asian immigrants since the California Gold Rush in the late 19th century.
With this history, it goes without saying that racial segregation was a big challenge in the city’s earlier years. Gang violence was rampant, as South El Monte is one of the “territories” claimed by the criminal gang El Monte Flores or EMF. The gang claimed to have over 3,000 members since its formation in 1950, all ensuring that “tributes” to the Mexican mafia were regularly paid. They were also linked to various criminal activities in the city, which includes drugs and weapons trafficking, identity theft, and money laundering.
However, with community participation and dedication, the city was able to overcome, even winning the All-America City Award from the National Civic League in 1975. The Award is annually given to cities that were able to achieve crime reduction, youth engagement, and general improvement of the economic and social status of its communities.
South El Monte landed in the news in 2016 when a bribery scandal led to the resignation of then city mayor Luis Aguinaga. Current pro tem Mayor Manuel Acosta replaced him and under his term, the South El Monte city government now has in place a three-year plan to combat homelessness, which is noted as a general trend in Los Angeles County. The plan incorporates education, community engagement, employment, and affordable shelter options.
Education is cited as one of the biggest factors in crime reduction. South El Monte High School provides good intermediate education. The best universities in the area are El Monte Educational Center, University of the West, and the Pasadena City College Rosemead.
If you are looking to study law, you may search among accredited law schools in California. The nearest ones to South El Monte are:
- University of California Gould School of Law;
- Southwestern Law School;
- Loyola Law School Los Angeles;
- Glendale University College of Law; and the
- Pacific Coast University School of Law.
If you are looking to obtain free legal advice, you may visit the Neighborhood Legal Services of Los Angeles County. The NLSLA attorneys specialize in Housing, Health, Economic Security, and Access to Justice. Feel free to call their legal assistance team at (800) 433-6251. An affiliated Self-help Resource Center is also open from 8:00 to 4:00 PM, Mondays to Thursdays and half-day on Fridays, at 300 E. Walnut St., Pasadena.
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