“No’’ on Prop 57.
That might become the official position of the Santa Clarita City Council.
The council’s Legislative Committee is scheduled to discuss a recommendation Tuesday afternoon that the full council adopt an “oppose” position to Proposition 57 – the state-wide ballot measure that would hasten the release of some non-violent offenders from prisons.
If approved by the Legislative Committee, the recommendation could go before the full council on Oct. 25 – the body’s last meeting before the Nov. 8 election, when voters will decide on 17 statewide ballots measures and two county propositions. (http://www.signalscv.com/2016/10/05/nov-8-ballot-measures-roundup/)
Officially called the “California Parole for Non-Violent Criminals and Juvenile Court Trial Requirements Initiative,’’ Prop 57 is another means the state would use to comply with a 2009 federal court order to reduce prison populations.
If passed, Prop 57 would increase parole and good-behavior opportunities for those convicted of non-violent crimes – and make an estimated 7,000 prisoners state-wide immediately eligible for release.
It would also enable judges, rather than prosecutors, to determine if young accused offenders would be tried as juveniles or adults.
Gov. Jerry Brown, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and L.A. Police Chief Charlie Beck are prominent supporters of Prop 57, along with the California Democratic Party. The California Republican Party is opposed.
George Hofstetter, president of the Association of Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs, is among the law-enforcement officers opposed, saying the “poorly drafted measure” contains loopholes that will allow some violent offenders to go free, according to ballotpedia.org.
Among Santa Clarita-area candidates on the Nov. 8 ballot, support and opposition varies.
In the 38th Assembly race, Republican Dante Acosta (a Santa Clarita City Council member) is opposed to Prop 57. Democrat Christy Smith could not be reached by Monday night.
GOP-er Tom Lackey in the 36th Assembly race opposes Prop 57. Democrat Steve Fox could not be reached either.
And in the 21st Senate race, Republican Scott Wilk and Democrat Johnathon Ervin both oppose Prop 57.
Add Santa Clarita Council member TimBen Boydston — a member of the council’s Legislative Committee that will tackle the matter Tuesday — to the opponents’ list, perhaps as a forerunner for the full council.
“We’ve had a huge spike in crime because of some of the actions taken at the state level,” said Boydston.
In particular, Boydston was referring to 2012’s Prop 36 and 2014’s Prop 47. Prop 36 took some of the teeth out of 1994’s “Three Strikes Law” by allowing some prisoners to become eligible to petition for reduced sentences if their “third strike” was not a violent offense. Prop 47 reduced certain non-violent felonies – primarily property crimes – to misdemeanors.
Boydston said Prop 57 would further erode the effectiveness of the “Three Strikes” law — which, he said, “drove crime to one of the lowest rates in modern history on a per capita basis.”
“I am inclined to err on the side of caution when it comes to making this adjustment to our law,” he said.
Mayor Bob Kellar, the other member of the City’s Council’s Legislative Committee, told The Signal he wanted to attend Tuesday’s committee meeting before taking a public stance on how the full council should proceed.
Both Boydston and Kellar are running for re-election on Nov. 8.