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Push-Back From Councilwoman Pearce And Allied Policy Groups Against Councilmembers Mungo/Price April 17 Council Agendized Proposal To Support Ballot Measure To Revise Portions Of AB 109 And Props 47 & 57


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(April 16, 2018, 12:40 p.m.) -- Second district Councilwoman Jeannine Pearce has joined with a number of allied LB policy groups (listed below) in opposing an April 17 City Council agenda item brought by Councilmembers Stacy Mungo and Suzie Price that seeks to put the City on record supporting the "Reducing Crime and Keeping California Safe Act of 2018.," a petition initiated measure currently gathering signatures (deadline: July 3) to revise portions of AB 109 (Sac'to enacted state prison "realignment"), Proposition 47 (voter enacted Nov. 2014, reduced certain felonies to misdemeanors.)

An April 16 release [lists as contact James Suazo, who happens to be Associate Director "Building Healthy Communities Long Beach"], indicates that "Community members with the Long Beach Coalition for Safety and Justice" urge rejection of the Mungo-Price agenda item. The release lists as opponents: Councilwoman Pearce; Tanu Ah You, Project ALOFA & All of Us or None & Long Beach Coalition for Safety and Justice; Amber Rose Howard, Californians United for a Responsible Budget & All of Us or None; Jose Osuna, Restore Ink & All of Us or None; Dale Lendrum, CSULB Rising Scholars; and Pastor Misi Tagaloa, Greater Long Beach Interfaith Community Organization.

The release states, "This City Council agenda item is a step in the wrong direction and a dismissal of the many community members who have received a second chance and changed their lives because of justice reform measures like Propositions 47 and 57," said Tanu Ah You of Project ALOFA and member of the Long Beach Coalition for Safety and Justice. "It's important that we double down on justice reform and continue to reduce our reliance on costly and ineffective incarceration. We have spent billions of taxpayer dollars every year on incarceration, failing to address the root causes of crime like mental health and addiction. This agenda item is a step in the wrong direction and inconsistent with our Long Beach values of fairness and inclusion."

In agendizing the item, Councilmembers Mungo and Price wrote in pertinent part (details below): "To address the unintended consequences of recent state laws and further protect public safety and the safety of the visitors, businesses and residents of the City of Long Beach, it is recommended that the Mayor and City Council direct the City Attorney to draft a resolution for Council consideration in support of the Reducing Crime and Keeping California Safe Act of 2018." A quick internet search shows a number of smaller cities have enacted similar resolutions, but it appears that Long Beach would be the largest CA city to date to do so.

[Scroll down for further.]


Councilwoman Pearce is currently the target of a signature-gathering effort seeking her recall. Councilmembers Mungo and Uranga fell short of majorities in multi-candidate April races and now face June 2018 runoffs. Councilmembers Price, Gonzalez, Vice Mayor Richardson and Mayor Garcia are safely re-elected to second terms. Along with incumbents Supernaw, Andrews and Austin, they'll decide what happens on Tuesday night.

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In their agendizing memo, the Councilmembers Mungo and Price write:

BACKGROUND

In an effort to reduce the prison population, increase parole options and lower penalties for drug possession and consumption, several legislative and voter approved initiatives have been adopted over the last several years, including AB 109 and Propositions 47 and 57.

However, along with those changes have come a slew of unintended consequences that have undermined public safety and have had a significant negative economic impact on business. Some examples include:

  • Changes to parole laws allowed the early release of dangerous criminals by the law's failure to define certain crimes as "violent." These changes allowed individuals convicted of sex trafficking of children, rape of an unconscious person, felony assault with a deadly weapon, battery on a police officer or firefighter, and felony domestic violence to be considered "nonviolent offenders."
  • Violent offenders are also being allowed to remain free in our communities even when they commit new crimes and violate the terms of their post release community supervision, like the gang member charged with the murder of Whittier Police Officer, Keith Boyer.
  • Individuals who steal repeatedly face few consequences, regardless of their criminal record or how many times they steal. As a result, between 2014 and 2016, California had the 2nd highest increase in theft and property crimes in the United States, while most states have seen a steady decline. According to the California Department of Justice, the value of property stolen in 2015 was $2.5 billion with an increase of 13 percent since 2014, the largest single-year increase in at least ten years.
  • Such thefts are often committed to support drug habits, yet the recent changes to California law have reduced judges' ability to order individuals convicted of repeated theft crimes into effective drug treatment programs.
  • Recent changes to California law unintentionally eliminated DNA collection for theft and drug crimes. Collecting DNA from criminals is essential to solving violent crimes. Over 450 violent crimes including murder, rape and robbery have gone unsolved because DNA is being collected from fewer criminals. DNA collected in 2015 from a convicted child molester solved the rape-murders of two six-year-old boys that occurred three decades ago in Los Angeles County. DNA collected in 2016 from an individual caught driving a stolen car solved the 2012 San Francisco Bay Area rape/murder of an 83-year-old woman.

Sponsor

Sponsor

As a result, public safety leaders, law enforcement agencies, state and local officials and business leaders have come together to address the flaws and unintended consequences of AB 109 and Propositions 4 7 and 57 through a new initiative called the Reducing Crime and Keeping California Safe Act of 2018.

The Reducing Crime and Keeping California Safe Act of 2018 [full text here] proposes several "fixes" for these unintended consequences, including:

  • Expands the list of violent crimes for which early release is not an option.
    • Under current law, rape of an unconscious person, trafficking a child for sex, assault of a peace officer, felony domestic violence and other similar crimes are not classified as "violent felonies," making criminals convicted of these crimes eligible for early release.

  • Reinstates DNA collection for certain crimes that were reduced to misdemeanors as part of Proposition 47.
    • Multiple studies have shown that DNA collected from theft and drug crimes has helped solve other violent crimes, including robbery, rape and murder.
    • Since passage of Prop. 47, cold case hits have dropped over 2,000, with more than 450 of those hits connected to violent crimes.
    • This measure does not affect existing legal safeguards that protect the privacy of individuals by allowing for the removal of their DNA profile if they are not charged with a crime, are acquitted or are found innocent.

Sponsor

Sponsor

  • Revises the theft threshold by adding a felony for serial theft when a person is caught for the 3rd time stealing with a value of $250.
    • Prop. 4 7 changed the dollar threshold for theft to be considered a felony, from $450 to $950, resulting in increased thefts statewide--grocery store operators around the state have seen unprecedented increases in the amount of losses associated with shoplifting in their stores, with some reporting up to 150% increases in these losses from 2012 to present, with the largest jumps occurring since 2014.

  • Sponsor

  • This measure reforms the law so felons who violate the terms of their release can be brought back to court and held accountable for such violations.
    • Nothing in this act is intended to create additional "strike" offenses which would increase the state prison population, nor is it intended to affect the ability of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to award educational and merit credits; rather, it allows the Board of Parole Hearings to consider an inmate's entire criminal history when deciding parole, not just his most recent commitment offense; and requires a mandatory hearing to determine whether parole should be revoked for any parolee who violates the terms of his parole for the third time.
    • AB 109 bases parole solely on an offender's commitment offense, resulting in the release of inmates with serious and violent criminal histories.
    • Moreover, parolees who repeatedly violate the terms of their parole currently face few consequences, allowing them to remain on the street

    RECOMMENDATION

    To address the unintended consequences of recent state laws and further protect public safety and the safety of the visitors, businesses and residents of the City of Long Beach, it is recommended that the Mayor and City Council direct the City Attorney to draft a resolution for Council consideration in support of the Reducing Crime and Keeping California Safe Act of 2018.

    FISCAL IMPACT

    There is no fiscal impact.

  • The petition-initiated measure began collecting signatures in January. Councilmembers Mungo and Price filed paperwork with the City Clerk's office before noon April 9 to put their item agendizing support for the measure on the April 17 Council agenda. On April 10, 3rd dist. voters re-elected Price with roughly 75%+ votes and sent Councilwoman Mungo into a runoff with roughly 48%+ votes.

    For over a year and a half (considerably before the petition-initiative drive), Councilwoman Price, an OC Deputy DA, has cited aspects of the three current laws as contributing factors to homeless-related issues and neighborhood impacting crime. At a September 2016 public meeting organized by her office (with Police Chief Luna also speaking), Councilwoman Price detailed at length (without notes) her views on problems with the status quo (LBREPORT.com coverage includes audio here.) On March 25, 2018, coiciding with a "Spring Into Spring" concert presented by her office, Price offered event attendees an opportunity to sign initiative petitions for the "Reducing Crime and Keeping CA Safe Act."

    Councilwoman Mungo (whose campaign website says she "currently works for the County of Los Angeles" without further details but says she "has held leadership roles in the Chief Executive Office, the Department of Human Resources, the Department of Animal Care and Control, the Assessorís Office and the Fire Department") has previously mentioned AB 109/Props 47 & 57 as problematic but until now in less prominent ways than Price. An April 10 release from her office says, "The Reducing Crime and Keeping California Safe Act of 2018 provides for several critical reforms including the prevention of early release of violent offenders, holding serial thieves accountable, reinstating DNA collection, and repairing the stateís broken parole system."

    The ballot measure committee now collecting petition signatures for the "Reducing Crime and Keeping CA Safe Act" has received significant funding from the Association for L.A. County Deputy Sheriffs as well as the Los Angeles Police Protective League...and incumbent Mungo (now facing a June runoff to retain her Council seat) is an L.A. County Reserve Deputy Sheriff.


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