United for No Injustice, Oppression or Neglect
California Attorneys for Criminal Justice Gail Jones, Director www.cacj.org (Please visit their website for more reasons to oppose Prop 83)
The Editorial Board of the Los Angeles Times Urges a NO Vote for Prop 83 http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/la-ed-jessica02oct02,0,448481.story?coll=la-opinion-leftrail
Senator Don Perata Assemblymember Mark Leno Libertarian Party of California http://www.ca.lp.org/voteguide_nov06.shtml
San Francisco for Democracy Opposes Prop 83 - Vote NO
Editorial Board of Sacramento Bee Opposes Prop 83 - Vote NO http://www.sacbee.com
Editorial Board of Modesto Bee Opposes Prop 83 - Vote NO http://www.modbee.com
Editorial Board of Fresno Bee Opposes Prop 83 - Vote NO http://www.fresnobee.com/opinion/story/12826131p-13511738c.html
Editorial Board of San Jose Mercury News Opposes Prop 83 -
California Coalition Against Sexual Assault Strongly Opposes Prop
83 - Vote NO
Editorial Board of the Orange County Register Opposes Prop 83 - Vote
San Francisco Tenants Union Opposes Prop 83 - Vote NO
Progressive Jewish Alliance Opposes Prop 83 - Vote NO
Friends Committee on Legislation Opposes Prop 83 - Vote NO
Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice (CJCJ) Opposes Prop
83 - Vote NO
Orange County Green Party Opposes Prop 83 - Vote NO http://www.ocgreens.org/
Left and Free http://www.leftandfree.com/index.php?itemid=1363No Prop 83
Editorial Board of San Francisco Bay Guardian
Proposition 83 - PENALTIES FOR SEX OFFENDERS – NO
This is one of the more cynical election-year moves we've seen in a while — and we've seen a lot. Proposition 83 is supposed to be about tougher penalties for sex offenders; it's actually about attempting to embarrass Democrats in a close-fought November contest.
Editorial Board of the Ventura County Star - Vote NO on Prop 83
Editorial Board of the Gilroy Dispatch - Vote NO on Jessica's Law
The Willow Glen Libertarian Alliance, San Jose, CA, http://www.wgla.org/Politics/initiatives2006nov/
Editorial Board of The Reporter, Vacaville www.thereporter.com
Senator Don Perata
Assemblymember Mark Leno
Libertarian Party of San Diego
Board of Directors of Progressive Christians Uniting recommends the
following positions for the November 7th ballot initiatives. Proposition
83: Punishment, residence restrictions, and monitoring of sex offenders:
California Coalition on Sexual Offending
Editorial Board of the San Francisco Chronicle
Editorial Board of Santa Cruz Sentinel
Wellstone Democratic Renewal Club of East Bay
this is important - Power Pac urging a NO Vote on Prop 83
Prop 83 “Draconian addition to California's already tough sex-offender
laws Couched in the guise of public safety, Prop 83 is a draconian measure
that would fail California just as similar measures have failed states
in other parts of the country.
Board of Directors
Reporting by the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism
Opponents of Proposition 83 Speak Out
Proposition 83 - which has 70 percent voter support - will require that sex offenders serve harsher mandatory prison sentences on par with those given to murderers, wear a GPS tracking device for life, and live at least 2,000 feet away from schools or parks, making many urban areas of the state off-limits. Legal experts believe the proposed law violates several constitutional rights and are predicting immediate court challenges if passed, which could delay implementation of the law for years.
"This is definitely a [Supreme] Court-worthy issue," said Erin Murphy, a University of California at Berkeley law professor.
The main question is whether or not the law is intended to "regulate" sex offenders' actions or "punish" them. If Proposition 83's requirements are deemed punishment, said Murphy, they could violate a number of constitutional amendments, including equal protection, the right to free association, and cruel and unusual punishment.
There is also debate about whether or not the law is intended to apply to sex offenders like Goldenflame who have already served their prison terms. If it does, the law may violate rights that protect people from being punished twice for the same crime.
The residency restriction, in particular, raises red flags.
"Banishment is one of the first areas where the Supreme Court held that a punishment could be unconstitutional," said Elisabeth Semel, a law professor at UC-Berkeley. "The question now is about whether or not these restrictions are so severe that they amount to banishment; is [the proposition] banishment masquerading as public safety?"
Staff for State Senator George Runner who authored the bill with his wife, Assemblywoman Sharon Runner, deny that the law would banish sex offenders or apply to those already living in their communities.
"We're not going to draft something that's unconstitutional," said Becky Warren, spokesperson for Proposition 83 and Sen. Runner. "We believe that all of these provisions will stand up to the constitutional test."
Goldenflame, who got his law degree in 1985 before serving five years in prison for molesting his 3 year-old daughter, believes he has at least seven years of court delays before he would be forced out of his Geary Street apartment. Though it may be too late to turn the tide of voter support, Goldenflame, 69, hopes his own efforts raising awareness of Proposition 83's downfalls will lead to its ultimate repeal by judges.
"This law will not make children safer," he said, a view shared by a number of defense attorneys.
An outspoken supporter of Megan's Law, the 1996 state law that created the online registry of sex offenders' addresses and photos, Goldenflame vehemently opposes Proposition 83, also known as Jessica's Law. He even sent a letter to Attorney General Bill Lockyer suggesting a colony for sex offenders at a former military base as an alternative to the measure.
The law will make molesters more likely to kill their victims, Goldenflame said, since revised prison sentences are the same for murder. GPS tracking, which he calls "a bad joke," will be too broadly applied, scattering law enforcement efforts away from higher risk offenders.
The worst, and most likely consequence is that sex offenders will move onto the streets rather than register in permitted neighborhoods, according to California Attorneys for Criminal Justice, an alliance of defense lawyers. This is what happened in Iowa, when the legislature passed a similar residential restriction in 2001. Law enforcement is struggling to keep track of sex offenders, more than a third of which have left the state or just stopped registering with police.
"We are spending a lot of time enforcing a law that does not enhance public safety," said Corwin Ritchie, executive director of the Iowa County Attorneys Association. "We are unconvinced that there's any connection between where an offender lives and where he or she might re-offend."
Attorneys in Iowa and Georgia are working to repeal their residency restriction laws. California lawyers are already preparing cases to challenge Proposition 83 if it passes, but will not speak to the press for fear of jeopardizing their legal strategies.
UC-Berkeley's Murphy is not optimistic. She believes the law has a good chance of withstanding the potential court challenges.
"The courts thus far seem unwilling to really scrutinize the legislative
restrictions on freedom, so long as they are labeled safety-based ‘regulatory'
measures rather than criminal punishments," she said. "Hopefully, though,
as these ‘regulations' become more oppressive, that will change."
Los Angeles CityBeat
Sex Offender Shuffle
~ By KATHERINE HORN ~
ver the last decade, politicians and child advocates nationwide have
been relentless in their pursuit of the sex offender. Proposition 83 ups
the ante yet again, but opponents say it would be super-costly and not
necessarily increase the effectiveness of measures already in place.
The question, of course, is whether it could prevent such tragedies from occurring. A main component of Proposition 83 is that it will ban registered sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet of any school or park. This plan is “absolutely absurd,” according to Niki Delson, a licensed clinical social worker with the California Coalition on Sexual Offending. “Where an offender lives is unrelated to where he molests a child,” she explained.
Delson also believes that the residency restrictions will force thousands of sex offenders out of urban centers and into rural California. “Not one politician has given a suggestion of where the sex offenders should live,” she says.
Becky Warren, spokesperson for the Yes on 83 campaign, says the statute wouldn’t have this effect. “California has already had residency restrictions for sex offenders in place for decades without that happening,” she says, adding that Proposition 83 is just a “natural extension” of existing restrictions that will create safety zones for children around parks and schools.
The new law would also enact lifetime GPS monitoring of all felony sex offenders. “GPS tracking is the key,” says Moran. “That’s what will make the convicted sex offenders wary of re-offending.”
Suzanne Brown-McBride, executive director of the California Coalition Against Sexual Assault, is opposed to Proposition 83 and feels that GPS tracking is not all it’s cracked up to be. First of all, says Brown-McBride, the chore of charging the GPS unoit is left up to the offender. Second, the GPS unit won’t work in some buildings and dense urban areas. But most importantly, she says, “When it’s all said and done, watching a dot on a screen is not supervising a sex offender.”
Steve Szalay, executive director of the California State Sheriff’s Association, is in favor of the new law but admits that it may be financially prohibitive, saying, “How much is it going to cost and who’s going to pay for it over time?”
Warren points out that sex offenders’ paychecks would be used to help cover their own GPS monitoring. She also notes that President George W. Bush recently promised federal money to states with GPS tracking systems.
Delson is not convinced, saying “the proposition is a vindictive piece of legislation based on fear instead of factual information.”
Proposition 83 Sex Offenders, Sexually Violent Predators, Punishment,
Residence, Restrictions and Monitoring
Whaaaaa? How could we be against stronger penalties for sex offenders? We’re not. It’s just that all of the good points of Prop 83 were signed into law when Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger put his signature to a bunch of laws that increased sentences for child rape to 25-years-to-life, made possession of child pornography a felony instead of a misdemeanor, and extended parole for violent sex felons to 10 years. Done. So, that part of 83 would just echo what’s already in effect. It’s the other parts of Prop 83 that are less attractive: there’s the bit about registered sex offenders wearing electronic monitoring devices for life, which not only sounds a bit Minority Report-ish, it’s also disconcerting that no distinction is made between the severity of the sex crime—some registered sex offenders’ crimes run along the lines of streaking. Even more disturbing is the provision that prohibits sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet of schools, parks and other locations where kids are likely to be present. Yeah, none of us wants our kids near child molesters. But this means there would be virtually no city in the state where these people could live, and they’ll be forced out into rural areas—don’t our sainted farmers have it bad enough, what with the spinach scare and the cow flatulence?—or simply driven underground. It’s not that we’re against getting tough on sex offenders, it’s that we just did. Piling it on doesn’t make good policy.
Daniel Weintraub: Proposition 83 might make us less safe, not more
California once had a reputation as the trend-setting state, the place where new ideas germinated, blossomed and then spread to the rest of the nation. But with Proposition 83, known as "Jessica's Law," on the Nov. 7 ballot, California would be a follower, not the leader, in the regulation of convicted sex offenders.
Iowa has been there, done that. And now the state's prosecutors are saying that their law has not made the people of Iowa any safer. Criminal prosecutors are not known for being soft on crime. Perhaps we should listen to them.
Proposition 83 would ban convicted sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet of a school or park. The rationale: These are places where children congregate, and we don't want creeps preying on our kids. Makes sense so far.
But there's a big problem with the idea. It turns out that in most cities, there is almost no place to live that is not within 2,000 feet of a school or a park.
Such a restriction would thus leave these offenders with two options once they do their time and get out of prison: They can live in a rural area or they can live illegally in town, unregistered and under the radar.
Corwin Ritchie, executive director of the Iowa County Attorneys Association, says his state's criminal prosecutors are calling for the repeal of a similar law because it is doing more harm than good.
"It was well intentioned and it sells well," Ritchie says of the residency ban. "It gives you the impression of providing safety. But when you look at the evidence, it's really not going to provide the protection that people would like."
In Iowa, the law has forced those ex-convicts who want to play by the rules to live in outlying areas. There, they are generally far from family and friends who might help them lead a normal life, and away from counseling that could help them work through their problems. Proposition 83 would likely prove to be even more restrictive because it invites local governments to add their own geographic bans. That could start a bidding war to see who can push these offenders farthest from the center of their city.
"You may in fact be isolating an individual for whom isolation might aggravate the possibility of reoffending," Ritchie said.
The other problem, perhaps a worse one, is that many of those released simply disappear into the population because they cannot register as a sex offender and live legally in most urban areas.
The Iowa prosecutors say local law enforcement officials have found that more offenders are homeless or move without notifying authorities of their new address. They're still living in town. But now they're doing so without telling anyone where they are. That anonymity generally makes them more dangerous to children, not less.
Supporters of Proposition 83 have come up with a wrinkle to solve that problem: technology. The measure would require felony sex offenders who must register after being released from prison to also wear a GPS tracking device -- for the rest of their lives. Law enforcement could then track their every movement, and if they took the thing off, we'd know that, too.
Yet the mass use of GPS tracking is another way to give us a false sense of security. It's not as if a staff of cops or even technicians will be sitting in a room somewhere, following tens of thousands of released offenders on an electronic map day and night. The data would be collected and reviewed later, with most of it probably never seen by anybody.
But if the imagined benefits from the residency requirement and the GPS tracking are illusory, one unintended side effect of those rules is very real. In Iowa, prosecutors say, they have seen a reduction in confessions.
Suspected sex offenders are less willing to admit their guilt if they know they face these kinds of restrictions even after leaving prison. And without a confession, it's harder to win a conviction in murky cases involving the testimony of children.
All of this is simply a huge distraction to let politicians look as if they are making us safer when in fact they are doing nothing at all, or perhaps even making us less safe. Ritchie notes that about 90 percent of sex offenses against children come not from strangers prowling streets and parks, but from family members, friends or caretakers with whom parents have knowingly left their child. Residency restrictions will have little or no effect on those cases.
"We keep burying that fact from the public at large," he says.
Are there better ideas? Well, California already has a residency ban that applies to sex offenders convicted of crimes against children, and even uses GPS tracking in selected cases. Doing more to keep truly dangerous sex offenders behind bars -- where they don't need to be monitored with GPS -- would be better. And educating parents to be mindful of the people with whom they leave their children would probably be the most effective deterrent of all.
Prison union chief: Jessica's law a "bad idea;" Angelides' message
"hasn't taken hold."
After his organization gave $25,000 to the campaign for Prop. 83, or Jessica's Law, the head of the state prison guards union now says he plans to vote against the initiative.
Speaking at a Capitol hearing on the mess that is California's prison system, Mike Jimenez had some pretty harsh words for an initiative that will have a direct effect on his membership. Jimenez said he thought the portion of the initiative that would prohibit sex offenders from living near schools or parks would create a wave of homeless sex offenders that will be harder to account keep track of.
He also suggested that the state was not ready to implement another aspect of the initiative that would require many sex offenders to wear Global Positioning Satellite devices for the rest of their lives. The state's parole system -- parolee agents are members of the prison guards union -- has been using GPS systems, but only in pilot programs.
After the hearing, Jimenez said his group gave money to the campaign while they were gathering signatures but had hoped the initiative would trigger a debate in the Legislature about prison reform that never really happened. He now believes that parole agents are going to be stuck trying to find places for sex offenders to live after the law passes and that the initiative would not make children safer as its promoters contend.
"It's a bad idea," he said.
The union has typically helped support any initiative that toughened criminal sentences. They were very active in 2004 in defeating an initiative that would have weakened the state's three strikes law.
Jimenez seems to be in the minority on this one -- Jessica's Law looks like slam dunk on election day, according to every poll taken this year.
By the way, in yet another bit of bad news for gubernatorial candidate Phil Angelides, Jimenez said his group may use about $3 million worth of advertising time they have reserved leading up to the election on down ballot races instead of for Angelides.
He said the union, which has endorsed Angelides and has been a big player in past gubernatorial races, is looking at other options because Angelides' "message hasn't taken hold" and it might be more valuable to spend the money on a tighter race. The move isn't all that surprising; the union had already released some of the ad time it had reserved.
"Californians' seem to be smitten with this governor," Jimenez noted.
Posted By: Mark Martin (Email) | October 26 2006 at 05:29 PM
| Comments (1) : Post Comment
Not so. Opposition to Prop 83 includes
* Los Angeles County DA Steve Cooley, their top prosecutor, states “It’s a false promise based upon a false premise.”
* San Diego County District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis said that the retroactive punishments are probably unconstitutional and will be unenforceable.
* Assemblyman Mark Leno, who chairs the Assembly Public Safety Committee, says the initiative is all about politics, not policy.
* Senate leader Don Perata, D-Oakland says it was "thrown together without sufficient care."
* San Mateo County District Attorney Jim Fox.
* California Attorneys for Criminal Justice
* Northern California Democrats
* Libertarian Party
* Rural Law Enforcement
* CALCASA Opposition Statement
* Union Organizations *more SEIU
* Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice
* Iowa Prosecutors’ group has come out against its state’s similar residency restrictions after finding they backfired by forcing sex offenders underground.
* The Sacramento Bee Voter Guide endorsements "It provides a false sense of security"
* San Jose Mercury News
* Oakland Tribune "More problems than solutions"
* San Francisco Chronicle Folly of 'Jessica's Law'
Orange County Register "Provisions of 'Jessica's Law' initiative are contained in legislation already enacted"
* Contra Costa Times "Prop. 83...is unnecessary, and even dangerous for our communities"
* LA Times "Offending the law"
* LA Daily News "it is to protect politicians, not kids"
* Valley News "revenge laws vs. justice"
* Santa Rosa Press Democrat "more risks than rewards"
* The Daily Democrat Calls it "costly and ineffective"
* The North County Times "Jessica's Law far too broad; No on Prop 83"
* Modesto Bee 83 “will be costly and could be harmful to our region”
* Santa Cruz Sentinel "It should be rejected by voters"
* Fresno Bee
* Ventura County Star "costs outweigh value"
* Stockton Record "Let's find a better way to protect our children"
* San Francisco Bay Guardian "actually about attempting to embarrass Democrats"
* San Luis Obispo Tribune
* Vacaville Reporter "won't make kids safer"
* Press Enterprise
* Whittier Daily News
* Santa Barbara Independent "costly, unnecessary, and disturbingly harsh"
* Marin Independent Journal "sounds good on the surface....doesn't accomplish much"
* Ontario Daily Bulletin "measure contains major flaws that should pre-empt its passage"
* Porterville Recorder" there's simply no need for Prop. 83"
* Monterey County Herald
* Argus Fremont "....more problems than solutions"
* Chico Enterprise Record
* American Chronicle
* Mercury Sun-Star Merced "...see through this deception and vote "no" on Proposition 83."
* many other papers have written editorials opposing Proposition 83.
* The California Majority Report
Posted By: cuassociates (an alias) | October 27 2006 at 09:46 AM
Our View: Prop. 83 too costly and ineffective
Sex offenders who prey on children are every parent's nightmare, and understandably so. Unfortunately, the fear they evoke makes them the bogeyman of choice for pandering politicians. What better targets for candidates in search of an easy issue to demagogue?
Proposition 83 is a case in point. Despite Proposition 83's title -- the Sex Offenders, Sexually Violent Predators, Punishment, Residence Restrictions and Monitoring Initiative Statute -- it would do nothing to protect children, and it would raise serious concerns for many rural and suburban areas of the Valley.
The proposition would increase sentences, require lifelong monitoring for some offenders and further restrict where registered sex offenders could live.
If approved, it would cost hundreds of millions of dollars -- money that would be better spent on child care programs, expanding health care for poor families or improving educational opportunities.
Extremely dangerous sexual predators, including repeat rapists and criminals who sexually assault children 14 years and younger, already face sentences of 15 or 25 years to life in prison. Longer sentences for less dangerous offenders -- possessors of child pornography, for example -- will only further crowd already overcrowded prisons and drive up out-of-control prison costs.
The initiative imposes lifelong monitoring for registered felony sex offenders by requiring the use of global positioning systems, or GPS. In the Proposition 83 campaign, supporters invoke the name of Jessica Lunsford, the 9-year-old Florida girl who was kidnapped, assaulted and buried alive by a registered sex offender. But nothing in this initiative would prevent those intent upon harming children from removing their GPS devices and committing crimes.
Moreover, the proposition requires not just the monitoring of child molesters but all felony sex offenders released from prison. Opponents note correctly that this would mean monitoring at a high cost tens of thousands of ex-prisoners who don't pose any serious risk, leaving fewer resources available for high-risk offenders who need to be watched. The Legislative Analyst's Office pegs the cost of such monitoring at "about $100 million annually after 10 years" and growing substantially after that. The initiative is not clear about who would pay the extra hundreds of millions of dollars -- the state, which has a deficit, or financially strapped local governments.
Finally, the measure mandates tougher restrictions on where all registered sex offenders may live. Currently, a small percentage, mostly those who have committed crimes against children, cannot reside within 1,320 feet of a school. This initiative would expand it to all registered sex offenders, add parks to the restriction and expand the radius to 2,000 feet.
In other states, such laws have backfired, pushing sex offenders into sparsely populated rural and suburban neighborhoods where law enforcement is thin and where counseling, psychiatric and other social services that many mentally disordered offenders need are in short supply or nonexistent. The same is likely to happen in California.
Proposition 83 is costly and counterproductive. Sadly, politicians who
know better are afraid to tell voters the truth. Voters should see through
this deception and vote "no" on Proposition 83.
Posted on 10/25/06 00:30:00
Proposition 83 is more problems than solutions
PROPOSITION 83 is one of those ballot measures that on its face is easy
to support. But the deeper you go into the topic addressed by Jessica's
Law, the more problems you encounter.
Who doesn't want to keep sexual predators out of their neighborhoods and track them, at least for a time, after they're released? We already have laws on the books that do both.
What Proposition 83 does is expand those restrictions to a point where they become expensive and impractical.
Iowa is one of the first states to have a similar law and it is now contemplating replacing it for the following reasons:
-Prosecutors have found there is no correlation between child safety and felon-free zones, partly because less than 10 percent of sexual abuse of children is done by strangers. Most — 90 percent — is done by a relative or acquaintance.
-The 2,000-foot restriction makes Des Moines virtually off-limits to sex offenders because of where schools, parks, etc. are located. Our sister publication, the San Jose Mercury News, recently published a map showing the same would happen here.
It's also true of other medium-to-large California cities. The result is to push sex felons out into more suburban and rural areas, where it's harder for them to find jobs and housing, and law enforcement has fewer resources with which to police them. It also forces more sex offenders to go underground and skip registering, which is already a problem in California.
Another negative is found in the Legislative Analyst Office's review of Proposition 83: implementing it is going to be expensive — costing us as much as an additional half-billion dollars in just a few years.
We now have 1,000 paroled sex offenders in California required to wear satellite tracking devices. But we would have 90,000 such people who must enroll in the sex-felon registry and wear such devices under Proposition 83. GPS trackers and the need for more parole officers could boost costs by $100 million within 10 years — and more after that.
More sex offenders would go to prison and stay there longer, increasing the cost to our prison system by millions of dollars. More also would undergo Sexually Violent Predator evaluations and incarceration, which the LAO said could cost us $100 million more per year for mental hospitals. More hospitals and prisons may have to be built.
Court and county jail costs also increase by millions of dollars. And, critics note, the most dangerous sex offenders, those who unlikely to abide by the law, would be least deterred.
Some misdemeanor charges would become felonies and those convicted would have to live under the law's physical proximity and GPS restrictions for the rest of their lives.
Rather than passing this Draconian measure, the Legislature needs to select the parts of this measure that are necessary — and make them law.
Vote no on Proposition 83.
Coming soon to a town near you
SYLMAR - After learning that 25 registered sex offenders were living
in a local motel, Sylmar residents took to the streets, protesting with
handmade signs and booming megaphones until state officials relocated the
Now, some say a proposed measure on the Nov. 7 ballot would create similar clusters of sex offenders in communities around California.
Proposition 83 - also known as Jessica's Law - would prohibit registered sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet of schools, parks and similar locations. With communities now striving to make themselves as family-friendly as possible, officials say offenders will find themselves limited to increasingly small areas.
"What we'll see is that remote communities will see a lot more sex offenders, because they won't be able to live in Beverly Hills and around Los Angeles," said Bob Stern, head of the Center for Governmental Studies. "Palmdale, Lancaster and the outskirts will feel the effects."
Already, Lancaster houses 284 sex offenders, more than twice as many as any San Fernando Valley community except Van Nuys, according to the state's Megan's Law Web site, Palmdale has 164.
And Sylmar, where 25 offenders were housed at the Super 8 Motel, has 127.
"Why are they here in Sylmar? Why are they not in Beverly Hills?" asked resident Luis Aceves, one of those whose protest last month prompted officials to relocate the offenders from the Roxford Street motel.
Under current law, paroled sex offenders cannot live within a quarter-mile or 1,320 feet of schools, while high-risk offenders can't live within a half-mile, or 2,640 feet. All parolees must be returned to the county where they last lived before prison.
Supporters of Jessica's Law say the measure would make children safer by expanding the buffer zone to 2,000 feet and adding parks and other locales specified by local governments.
The measure - dubbed Jessica's Law after Jessica Lunsford, who was kidnapped and killed in 2005 by a convicted sex offender in Florida - is supported by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and his Democratic opponent, Phil Angelides.
The initiative also would increase penalties for sex offenders and require electronic monitoring for life.
Experts expect the measure to pass easily because the issue ranks high with voters and faces no political opposition.
But Stern predicted outlying desert and central areas would feel its unintended consequences because of residency requirements that would make it difficult for sex offenders to live in urban or suburban areas where schools and parks are plentiful.
Buffer zone maps prepared by the state Office of Demographics show large swaths of land marked off in red that reflect the measure's 2,000-foot residency restrictions. They wipe out much of the urban centers of Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego, but still leave small pockets for sex offenders to live.
Rural areas of the state appear wide open.
The disproportionate number of parolees living in the Antelope Valley is already a concern, said Sgt. Michael Willoughby of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department's Lancaster station.
"It's something we're concerned about. We are watching to see what the cities do," he said.
"We don't need any more sex offenders living in an area that's already disproportionately populated with sex offenders."
California is home to nearly 100,000 registered sex offenders. About 9,000 are on parole, with up to 2,500 of them considered high-risk, said Bill Sessa, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation spokesman.
Martin O'Neal, regional administrator for the department, which oversees adult parolees, said temporary housing - like the Sylmar motel - is frequently used because of the lack of other legal locations in Los Angeles County.
O'Neal said the offenders were living at the Super 8 because they all had previously lived in Sylmar and had nowhere else to go after being paroled.
"It was sort of the best of both worlds, given the fact that nobody wants sex offenders living next door to them," he said. "Since they're everywhere in our community, the safest way to house them is where we know where they're at."
But to residents living near the motel, officials couldn't relocate the paroled sex offenders fast enough.
Still outraged, residents are calling for laws that would require paroled sex offenders to be distributed more evenly among all cities in California's 58 counties so no community has to bear the load more than another.
Their cries directly oppose what Proposition 83 would do.
"The big thing with me and with us is to keep that number down," said Louis Perry, public service chairman on the Sylmar Neighborhood Council. "You look at some cities, and there is one (offender). Some have eight. What is wrong there?"
Even if Proposition 83 fails at the polls, Schwarzenegger signed a series of bills in September that increase prison terms for many sex offenders and also prohibit them from loitering at parks and schools.
The bills also require high-risk offenders on parole to be tracked with electronic devices. About 500 are already monitored through Global Positioning Satellite systems, and the state has set aside $13 million to track 2,000 more in the next two years, Sessa said.
Still, Perry said, residents are most fearful of another case like that of Polly Klaas, the 12-year-old who was kidnapped at knifepoint in 1993 during a slumber party at her Petaluma, Calif., home.
Her body was found two months later. Richard Allen Davis, a previously convicted sex offender, was later convicted of her murder and sentenced to death.
Such cases make headlines and fuel fears of abductions by strangers. But experts say those are rare.
About 60 percent of boys and 80 percent of girls who are molested are abused by someone they know, according to the Center For Sex Offender Management, a national project that supports state and local jurisdictions in sex-offender management.
Relatives, friends, baby sitters, soccer coaches - people in positions of authority over children - are more likely than strangers to commit sexual assaults, according to the center. But those stories go largely unheard.
In fact, over a three-year period, only 5.3 percent of sex offenders were rearrested for another sex crime, according to the U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics. The agency also found that sex offenders are less likely than other criminals to be rearrested for any offense.
But those statistics can't override the waves of panic that have swept across the nation, said Niki Delson, a Humboldt County-based therapist for sex offenders and victims and education chairwoman for the California Coalition on Sexual Offending.
"The way our society is moving is that we want to banish sex offenders," Delson said. "That's where we are culturally, which is not at all based on research in terms of what makes us safer."
Delson said Proposition 83 and similar measures make people feel safer but will ultimately have little impact. Determined predators will live 2,001 feet away from schools and will still find ways to get near children, she said.
The best way to prevent them from reoffending is to bring them back to society, where they can get jobs and resume their lives. At the same time, she said, people should carefully watch them and meet with public officials to learn what they can do to protect their families.
Historically, though, societies have banished people they fear, such as lepers and people with typhoid. Ireland deported criminals during the 1700s to Australia. Sex offenders, it appears, are falling into a similar pattern.
"It's frightening, because it's based on political rhetoric and fear," Delson said. "That kind of fear is political capital. That's very saddening."
The public frenzy that followed the "confession" of John Mark Karr in the JonBen t Ramsey case shows that sex offenders remain a sensationalized topic, said Bernardo Attias, a communications professor at California State University, Northridge.
Although the impending legislation addresses concerns about safety, it also punishes sex offenders after they are released rather than addressing the issue of rehabilitation.
"I think we need to take a closer look about why we are doing this in the first place," Attias said. "If there truly are safety concerns, maybe we should look at how we are sentencing them rather than looking at them after they're out of prison."
As residents come to grips with sex offenders, O'Neal finds that many believe all registrants are child molesters, which isn't true. But the registry doesn't distinguish between their crimes and leaves room for interpretation.
Perry said it would help if registered sex offenders were ranked by risk level so people will know who is a concern in the neighborhood and who is not.
"You really have to weigh it out. They have to get a grading system, like restaurants have," Perry said. "That will change all of this."
Bigger buffer zone
Marked in red
Waves of panic
Only two state propositions are worth passing
California voters are faced with a bevy of bond measures and state propositions that could have a profound impact on the state's economy, but with no clear return.
Indeed, the consequences of some are so ambiguous, and the ramifications so far ranging, that we hesitate to put our stamp of approval on most of them.
While some of the measures have good intentions, they would, because of weak design or unforeseen side effects, end up falling short of the desired outcome. While some might benefit from a trip back to the drawing board, most should be thrown on the cutting-room floor.
Take Proposition 83, the sex offenders measure better known as Jessica's Law. While it's hard to argue with the desire to deal harshly with child predators, this measure contains major flaws that should pre-empt its passage typical of so many contrived initiatives that pile up in front of voters.
And Proposition 90, which ostensibly aims to deal with the excesses of the Supreme Court's infamous Kelo decision on eminent domain, goes overboard in hamstringing government's legitimate authority over land-use decisions.
Here's our take on why voters should frown on all of the following propositions:
Proposition 83: Seeks to increase penalties for violent and habitual
sex offenders and child molesters at a cost of potentially $200 million
annually within 10 years. But in a state that's already shipping prisoners
out of state, adding exponentially to the prison population could cripple
the state budget. And requiring lifetime GPS monitoring of everyone convicted
of a sex offense could snare a lot of first-time offenders convicted of
Posted on Fri, Oct. 20, 2006
Vote no on Prop. 83
A FEW MONTHS AGO, we would have been jumping up and down in support of Proposition 83, which is designed to protect us all from sexual predators. But, for once, our legislators seem to have done their job pretty well on this subject and may have obviated the need for this proposition.
The presence of Prop. 83 on the ballot has served the useful purpose of motivating the Legislature to take some action of its own during its last session.
Last month, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed SB 1128 and SB 1178, which do most of the things that Prop. 83 would do, with less cost to the state.
We like that Prop. 83 would more appropriately punish spousal rape and the use of date-rape drugs. Also, it toughens punishments for child pornography. All of that is good, but much of it is contained in the new law.
However, Prop. 83 has some troubling aspects that we worry will cause major unintended consequences.
First, there is the cost to the state. Make no mistake, Prop. 83 will add to the cost of the recently passed legislation tremendously. Taxpayers can count on paying plenty in the form of additional prisons and mental hospitals. The Legislative Analyst said the cost is uncertain, but that it is sure to be in the several-hundred-million-dollar range.
In addition, there would be the cost of supplying and monitoring the GPS network. The proposition allows the state to recover costs from the offender to help pay for this system. That is a nice idea, but how many offenders just getting out of prison will have funds to pay for GPS?
Another major consequence of Prop. 83 -- which we hope was unintended -- is that paroled sex offenders will be pushed out of urban areas and toward suburban and rural settings.
The current law says that a paroled sex offender must live more than 1,360 feet away from a school. The most recently passed law adds loitering statutes that include schools and places where youths congregate. Prop. 83 would extend limits on where offenders could live to 2,000 feet and it would add parks to the mix.
The practical effect of that change is to virtually eliminate urban areas, such as San Francisco, as a place to house paroled sex offenders.
Also, under the recently passed laws, paroled sex offenders are required to wear GPS tracking until they are off parole. Prop. 83 would require GPS for life, even after the offender is off parole. We have deep concerns about the constitutionality of that aspect.
We have always taken tough stands on matters of criminal justice, but we can urge a no vote on Prop. 83 in good conscience because the Legislature did its job. High-risk sex offenders in California already are facing a much tougher penal system.
Prop. 83, right now, is unnecessary, and even dangerous for our communities.
Vote no on Prop. 83.
If you would like to have your name added to this page, please email email@example.com and get active in smoking out this horrible bill which is the next war on the people designed to keep the prisons stocked. Take a look at the law enforcement labor union donations given to Sharon Runner, running for Assembly in the Lancaster area.
CCPOA Pac and even $3500 from the Guard Assault Task Force who President Charles Hughes was fired for his role in the death of a prisoner. Don't be sucked into the hysteria and political fear mongering. This same group pushing Prop 83 are the ones who forced Prop 14 which cast children into prisons with adults. These are the children who are being raped, not to mention the foster kids taken from too many families whose parents are in prison for non violent and minor crimes. This is a machine causing all this destruction, a voting machine of law enforcement, possibly only because other people aren't voting and are being manipulated by it. Vote NO on 83.
Jessica's Law - No Way!
Jessica's Law - Articles