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You Know I'm Right | Commentary by Betty Arenson
| Friday, Oct 17, 2014

bettyarensonThere are several reasons why our society is so out of whack with common sense that leads to rules whereby the good people are the ones paying the majority of the bills.

One big reason is that voters render themselves ignorant of the “pro” and “con” facts and do not do diligent research. This, followed by lack of controls that allow illegitimate voters to cast ballots and, far too often, eligible voters do not get themselves to the polls. But I digress. Back to the No. 1 problem: ignorance.

Be suspicious of a feel-good name. In this case it’s Proposition 47, dearly titled “Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act.”

A major Los Angeles newspaper began an Oct. 12 article as follows: “One in five California criminals could get a break under proposed new sentencing law before voters this fall, but the measure is unlikely to produce big benefits for schools and communities, as its name suggests.”

Here’s a summary of how Proposition 47 was explained:

* Presently, common California crimes of possession of drugs and stolen property, petty theft, shoplifting, forgery and writing bad checks are potentially felonies that carry penalties of up to three years. Proposition 47 makes them misdemeanors with a maximum of one year.

* The above-mentioned crimes number 58,000 of the 212,000 California convictions in 2012. Analysts predict 40,000 will drop to misdemeanors.

* Proposition 47 allows each crime to be a misdemeanor regardless of the number of times the criminal has committed them.

Steal a gun? No problem. Proposition 47 keeps that theft as a misdemeanor unless the value of the gun is over $950. Evidently the proponents are stuck-on-stupid, thinking the crime is all about the gun’s value as a piece of property. Obviously the danger is what crime is to follow with that stolen weapon. But that consequence be damned; not incarcerating the felon will save the state some money.

Proposition 47 is driven largely by:

* wealthy Democratic groups;

* “the state’s largest unions and community activist groups”;

* individuals including George Soros and his Open Society Policy Center; Reed Hastings of Netflix fame, and Rapper Jay Z. Somewhere in there is gone-to-the dark-side Newt Gingrich;

* Lenore Anderson, who heads both the “Yes” campaign and Californians for Safety and Justice, claims to be addressing the “over-reliance” on prisons and incarceration;

* a belief that it’s a “social justice cause” per Community Coalition of Los Angeles as “we have been punishing crimes of poverty.”

Proponents claim Proposition 47:

* provides “sensible and modest sentencing reforms”;

* will “not use prison beds for the ‘petty crimes, for these low-level crimes’”;

* releasing criminals, including career criminals, will “eventually” save the state $100 million to $300 million.

* one quarter of the “savings” would go to the Department of Education;

* the majority of the money would go toward a state jail commission (another bureaucracy in the making?) as grants “for mental health, substance abuse and diversion programs”;

* a whopping 10 percent to a state victim compensation fund (note: There is no identifying name given).

As for the latter — what a sham. The “victims” get some inane, non-guaranteed bread crumbs of 10 percent while taxpayers, who pay with and beyond the victims for jails, court time, law enforcement, etc., get a big, fat zero.

Proposition 47 and its proponents conveniently failed to account for the increased costs of courts handling the soon-to-come sentencing appeals and the fact that many criminals will end up off of the state’s dole and back to the counties for jail time wherein they’ll be released even earlier because of alleged overcrowding. The article cites that 2,000 inmates are released each month in L.A. County after serving as little as 15 percent of their sentences.

The repeat arrests, court time, transportation to court appearances, law enforcement, defense attorneys, etc., will generate massive costs to taxpayers. Moreover, those mentions exclude the costs to society in property, insurance, safety features, time and effort in recovering from losses, lack of peace of mind and yes, bodily injury.

A career prosecutor (“not authorized to speak publicly”) said, “career criminals are arguably more of a threat to the public than your one-time serious felon.”

As for Proposition 47,  the so-called “Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act,” how safe do you and your family believe you’ll be if it passes?

Say “no” to the liberal Democratic majority in California. The safety and security of our homes, our possessions and most of all our families are at stake.

 

Betty Arenson has lived in the SCV since 1968 and describes herself as a conservative who’s concerned about progressives’ politics and their impacts on the country, her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She says she is unashamed to own a gun or a Bible, couldn’t care less about the color of the president’s skin, and demands that he uphold his oath to protect and follow the Constitution of the United States in its entirety.

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4 Comments

  1. Jones says:

    I am voting NO to this prop 47. It looks good on paper, but that’s it..

  2. scott edeburn says:

    Fine, stealing guns should be a felony but why should shoplifting? 3yrs in prison for some 18yr old girl that wanted a pair of jeans and decided to take it because she couldn’t afford it seems pretty unreasonable to me. A misdemeanor will still scare her straight. How about a mom that writes a few bad checks because she runs out of money? Should she be facing 3 yrs in jail, lose her kids? How about some teenage boy that decides to try a drug? He should be in jail for 3yrs? No. He should be scolded and put into a treatment facility if needed.

  3. Dave Edeburn Dave Edeburn says:

    Fine, stealing guns should be a felony but why should shoplifting? 3yrs in prison for some 18yr old girl that wanted a pair of jeans and decided to take it because she couldn’t afford it seems pretty unreasonable to me. A misdemeanor will still scare her straight. How about a mom that writes a few bad checks because she runs out of money? Should she be facing 3 yrs in jail, lose her kids? How about some teenage boy that decides to try a drug? He should be in jail for 3yrs? No. He should be scolded and put into a treatment facility if needed.

  4. Scott Ervin Scott Ervin says:

    Nice article. Definitely convinced me to vote yes.
    #derp

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