L.A. Street Legal is comprised of a group of auto and motorcycle enthusiast who want to have a safe and controlled environment in the Los Angeles area to enjoy motorsports. One of the goals of the project is to help reduce illegal street racing in the Los Angeles area. Another is to educate young drivers about the responsibilities of owning, maintaining, and safely operating a vehicle. A third is to channel our youths enthusiasm for wheels and motors into marketable skills.
Project Street legal was founded in 2012 by Donald Galaz (National and International Brotherhood of Street Racers), Phil Bowdoin (LAFD, SoCal Challengers), Scott Graham (LASD, LASD Motorsports) and Nate Jones (Nate Jones Tire Co., Long Beach Grand Prix, USS Iowa). Together, they formed a pact to inform local politicians and community leaders about the need to create a dedicated area for motorsport activities that will help reduce the rising fatalities and accidents on the freeways and streets of Los Angeles County.
We went into this project with eyes wide open. Nothing stated as opposition to a track on Terminal Island is new, or news, to us. We've heard it all before. BTW, so did Big Willie Robinson of the National and International Brotherhood of Street Racers. Remember Mayor Sam Yorty's attitude towards motorsports in Los Angeles in the early 60's? His attitude caused Big Willie to support Tom Bradley for Mayor. A little history - "Big Willie became a big supporter of Bradley for one reason. His group loved to do organized drag racing in South Central Los Angeles. But, the overwhelmingly White police force would harass them and arrest them. Willie figured if Bradley were elected, his car club would be left alone." (http://tinyurl.com/pun7jd9) It took two tries before Bradley became Mayor, it didn't happen overnight. Was Big Willie able to walk into every meeting and ask for a track and get it? As we all know, the answer to that question is no. Long term goals, strategy and tactics were used. Not comparing ourselves to Big Willie, and wouldn't even try, but we feel that he laid out a road map for anyone willing to take on the challenge of getting a track in Los Angeles. The scenery may have changed, but the map to a track on Terminal Island is the same. We will continue to follow the map, however long it takes. Thanks for your support. Stay safe. Keep it legal. #LAStreetLegal.
Below is an excerpt from the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Community Oriented Policing Services dated December 9, 2004.
9. Creating or encouraging racers' legal alternatives, such as relocating to a legal racing area. Several cities and counties have successfully addressed their illegal street racing problem by creating, either on their own or in collaboration with other organizations, a legal racing venue. This is intended to divert people to a safer racing environment, which allows racers to experience some of the positive aspects of legal drag racing–the fun, camaraderie, and excitement. Police can either align with an existing national program (for example, Beat the Heat, Racers Against Street Racing, the National Hot Rod Association) that encourages safe, legal, on-track racing, or implement their own local program. Participant rules should be in place, such as racers must possess a valid driver's license and vehicle insurance, submit to vehicle safety inspections, and refrain from any use of alcohol at the event. http://www.cops.usdoj.gov/pdf/pop/e10042575.pdf
Providing a legal alternative is listed as one of the responses to the problem that do work. Not only does it work, but it is the most cost effective in terms of dollars and lives. You don't have to fight the crime if it's not being committed.
Taking a long term comprehensive approach to the problem here in Los Angeles (something we don't see our local politicians doing at the moment), we feel that we can help reduce illegal street racing long term through K-12 hands-on education. Education that is mostly ignored now days. Education that you may want for your kids. Education that has a benefit to society as a whole.
The program parallels the thoughts found in the paper:
Hands and Minds: Why Engineering Is the Glue Holding STEM Together
David D. Thornburg, PhD Executive Director, Thornburg Center for Space Exploration
(science, technology, engineering and mathematics)
A few excerpts:
-- One of the challenges in this approach is that academic schools have a focus on science and mathematics, while, historically, career and technical education (CTE) settings have focused on technology and engineering. Rarely have the two focus points come together. This is changing, though, now that CTE schools are mandated to provide a fully integrated academic program along with traditional CTE courses. These institutions are in a good position to integrate all four subjects. But these integrated programs are typically in high schools, leaving the K-8 students to the mercy of a curriculum that generally keeps science and math in their perspective stovepipes, and largely ignores the subjects of technology and, especially, engineering.
-- Shops, on the other hand, are virtually non-existent in our elementary and middle schools. Students rarely have a place on campus to tinker with tools – to build devices of their own design – to learn how to make stuff with their hands. This, to me, is tragic. While we may think with our minds, we express our ideas and our creativity through the artifacts we build. A student who does a paper or Powerpoint report on electricity may get an “A” for a beautiful presentation, but this same student may not know how to connect a motor to a battery and a switch. The only way to find out if students actually know how to build things is for them to build things, and our K-8 schools are tragically under-equipped for this task.
--The committee believes the “siloed” teaching of STEM subjects has impeded efforts to increase student interest and improve performance in science and mathematics. It also inhibits the development of technological and scientific literacy, which are essential to informed citizens in the 21st century. The committee believes that increasing the visibility of technology and, especially, engineering in STEM education in ways that address the interconnections in STEM teaching and learning could be extremely important. Ideally, all K–12 students in the United States should have the option of experiencing some form of formal engineering studies. We are a long way from that situation now.
-- This situation can be changed, and changed easily. K-12 engineering classes do not need to be watered down versions of college courses. They can evolve from experiences where students are free to tinker and build things of their own. While the shop classes of the past have largely been reduced to shadows of their former selves, a new kind of shop can can be developed in which the students not only learn to use their hands to fabricate things, they learn how to design the very things they are fabricating. This aspect differs from the shop class of old where students were taught how to fabricate things designed by others. Through the design/fabrication process, students not only learn the proper use of tools, they learn how to apply their science, math and technology skills in the development of an artifact of their own design.
The premise is simple. Better students make better community members. Since "we" are the city, it's up to "us" to work toward viable, cost effective, long term solutions to street racing/sideshows/takeovers.
Stay safe. Keep it legal.
The area of land we are striving to construct into a motorsport facility is inside the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad loop on Terminal Island at 750 Eldridge Street. The coal storage facility was removed in 2004 and the land is vacant, and has been for years. There are approximately 70 acres of land inside this loop which can be used for an eighth mile drag strip, autocross area as well as room for educational purposes. Everything needed to support a facility can be modular and portable. Access to the loop is through a permanent tunnel which is located at the lower southwest end off of Ferry Street.
Terminal Island is right next to the Vincent Thomas Bridge that connects Terminal Island with San Pedro.
Brotherhood Raceway on Terminal Island was founded and managed by "Big" Willie Robinson and the National and International Brotherhood of Street Racers along with the Los Angeles Police Department to help eliminate illegal street racing and gang violence in the Los Angeles area.
The track opened on Terminal Island in San Pedro, California in 1977. The track opened and closed 11 times, for various reasons, until 1994 when the Port of Los Angeles took over the lease and ultimately made the area into a coal storage/transport facility.
During those years, Big Willie made numerous neworking connections with members of the Los Angeles City Council and members of the Los Angeles Harbor Commission.
Following are links to those vintage days of Big Willie Robinson and the Brotherhood Raceway.