union-tribune-logoSAN DIEGO — A panel of experts said Friday that San Diego needs more leaders to emerge from its poor, more ethnically diverse neighborhoods for the city to avoid the kind of social unrest afflicting Ferguson, Mo., in recent weeks.

None of the experts said riots and protests were imminent, but they stressed that San Diego needs new leaders to help bridge the city’s sharp divisions in ethnicity and wealth.

Their comments came during a large breakfast gathering in southeast San Diego that was the first event sponsored by RISE San Diego, a nonprofit launched recently by former City Councilman Tony Young and co-founded by former City Council candidate Dwayne Crenshaw to help develop “urban leaders.”

People with potential to fill that role often struggle with an “us versus them” mentality, frustration that no one listens to them, and the more convenient option of developing their leadership skills in a gang, the experts said.

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