Grandmas are being asked to help battle gangs. Mayor Dennis Donohue and Monterey Bishop Richard Garcia want to recruit "abuelitas," Spanish for grandmothers, to help steer youngsters away from gang life.

"My own grandmother, my mother's mother, Guadalupe, was a very influential person in my life," Garcia said. "Speaking to inmates in prison, I found that to be true in their own lives."

A meeting next week will give grandmothers a chance to discuss what prevention approaches have worked in their families.

Donohue and Garcia said grandmothers are pivotal figures in the lives of youngsters.

"I'd like to point out that a couple of moms won the Nobel (Peace) Prize in Northern Ireland, so the notion that moms can't help is not true," the mayor said.

The partnership is part of the gang prevention program Community Safety Alliance. The alliance plays an advisory role in how the city of Salinas spends $1 million for crime-prevention programs this year.