I cannot believe the density in the San Gabriel Valley,” Gary Cliser says as he looks toward the mountains from a country club terrace. “The smog isn’t as bad as it was in the ’50s, though.” The brassy fits and starts of Saturday afternoon band practice drift across the fairway from South Hills High School.
The walls of Father Gregory Boyle’s office at Homeboy Industries are encrusted with family photos. Somewhere there’s a snapshot of his 88-year-old mother, Kay, though she’s all but lost among the scores of young men with shaved heads and gang tattoos. The Jesuit priest has welcomed generations of these gang members like prodigal sons into Homeboy, which he launched 25 years ago and has built into the most successful gang rehabilitation and reentry program in the world.