STOCKTON - Stockton City Council member Moses Zapien hopes to accomplish what no one has been able to in the last 30 or 40 years - fix the problems of Wilson Way.
Zapien is starting an effort titled the Wilson Way Neighborhood Initiative. He hopes through better neighborhood involvement and strong help from police, Wilson Way's problem with prostitution and graffiti can be solved.
Zapien, Stockton police and other supporters will gather Saturday morning and tour the Wilson Way neighborhood to hear complaints and concerns from residents and business people.
"It's kind of crazy with a lot of prostitutes around," high school student Yuliana Flores said. "It's not somewhere you want to grow up in."
"It's very bad. There are 5, 6, 8 people on the corner waiting to be picked up," Genova Bakery's Tim Canevari said. "It's a problem that never goes away. If it goes away for a day or two, then it's right back with the same people."
A big part of the Wilson Way Neighborhood Initiative is to offer services to women working the streets and to help them make healthier and safer career choices.
Dozens of police sweeps have been aimed at prostitution through the years. With this initiative, police are promising a stronger presence.
"It's time for us not to be in the office," Stockton Police Officer Joe Silva said. "We have to be out there, visible, and not just with enforcement, but education in helping businesses and residents and getting to know them."
By Tim Daly, firstname.lastname@example.org