Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Not Every City Surrendered Its Sex Offender Ordinance

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As you may recall from previous articles, in December of 2013 the City of Sierra Madre quietly surrendered its Sex Offender Ordinance in Court to an organization called California Reform Sex Offender Laws.

The CA RSOL is a group of folks that likes to believe registered sex offenders are victims of civil rights discrimination, and therefore a special class of individuals that needs to be liberated from the tyranny of having to live with the full consequences of their horrific crimes. We covered this topic in depth on December 7th in an article we called "A Couple Of Things City Attorney Teresa Highsmith Forgot To Tell You About The Demise Of Sierra Madre's Sex Offender Ordinance." You can link to it by clicking here.

Many other cities have surrendered their sex offender ordinances in Court as well, and Sierra Madre is hardly alone in this regard. Apparently when each of these localities weighed the potential legal costs of defending their ordinances, as opposed to what such legislation was designed to protect children from, these cities went with the money every time. I guess they figured they had more important things to spend it on. Like SCAG and SGVCOG dues. Or, in our case, $37,000 a year municipal employee health care plans.

Sierra Madre's City Attorney, Teresa Highsmith, writing for a wonky League of California Cities publication called Western City, actually does advise other cities to follow the same path she enabled behind the scenes here. Which is speedy surrender, done without a fight. The article is called "The Better Part of Valor: Amending Local Sex Offender Ordinances," and you can access it here.

This is what Teresa recommends:

A series of lawsuits against California cities has brought the issue of sex offenders in the community back to many city agendas and local public meetings. Two recent decisions by the California Court of Appeal and a case pending before the California Supreme Court effectively limit cities’ ability to enforce local ordinances regulating registered sex offenders who live in their jurisdictions. Few city officials or residents favor the idea of repealing an ordinance intended to protect children from predators, but many cities with such ordinances are being forced to do just that as a result of legal challenges. By moving quickly and carefully, city councils can address the appellate rulings and avoid paying for the privilege of repealing their ordinances.

Like Sierra Madre, this has pretty much been the practice of nearly every city in California that had a Sex Offender Ordinance. Rather than fight to preserve something they had once believed in enough to enact, each of them bailed out tout suite when challenged in court by the CA RSOL organization.

There is a notable exception however, and that is the City of Carson. The following article, originally published last September, is from a newspaper called The Daily Breeze. It can be linked to here.

Carson vows to ‘go to war’ to keep sex offender restrictions Carson’s political leaders are prepared to throw the city’s weight — and its bank account — behind a legal and legislative battle to maintain control over where sex offenders are allowed to visit and live in the city.

Council members voted 5-0 on Tuesday night to direct staff to push for state legislation that would protect the city’s ability to ban sex offenders from visiting day-care centers, libraries and other areas where children gather, and to restrict where sex offenders may live in relation to areas visited by kids.

The California Supreme Court this year let stand a lower court ruling invalidating local laws aimed at restricting the movement of sex offenders, saying the state has authority on this issue. As a result, roughly 75 municipalities that adopted local restrictions have since been removing them from their codes to avoid lawsuits.

But not in Carson. “We have to go to war,” Councilwoman Lula Davis-Holmes said. “And, when we step out, we want (other cities) to join us in this fight because this is going to be a big fight. We want to keep this at the forefront.”

Carson wants to maintain its provisions that registered sex offenders must remain 300 feet away from identified “child-safety zones,” such as day-care centers, libraries, swimming pools and commercial establishments that have a children’s playground or school bus stop. State law only prevents them from loitering at parks and schools.

The city also doesn’t allow sex offenders to live together in a hotel or motel room, or to live within 2,000 feet of a school or park, or within 300 feet of a child-care center. Jessica’s Law requires that they live at least 2,000 feet from schools and parks.

There is another Southern California jurisdiction that has resisted the CA RSOL's efforts to make child molesting politically correct, and that is San Bernardino County. In an article called "Pair seeks repeal of sex-offender laws in California," the San Bernardino Sun shared this information (link):

San Bernardino County ... has no intention of repealing or amending its ordinance, which not only imposes strict residency and presence restrictions for sex offenders, but also prohibits them from having their porch lights on between 5 p.m. and midnight on Halloween night, passing out candy to children or decorating their homes.

“I’m going to stand strong for the children. I think their rights are far more worth salvaging than those of individuals who abuse them and ruin their lives,” said San Bernardino County Supervisor Gary Ovitt, who played a pivotal role in the shaping and evolving of the county’s sex-offender ordinance over the years.

You have to wonder what it must be like to live in a place with the kinds of strong political leadership needed to stand up and fight for something this important. You know, a city that would make the protection of its children as high a priority as, let's say, raising utility taxes or water rates?

I guess we'll never really know.

http://sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

43 comments:

  1. Thank you Tattler for keeping this important issue front and center.
    You'd think the child predators had moved out of Sierra Madre for all the attention they've been getting, as though the danger is any different now than it was a few months ago.

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  2. If it wasn't for this blog nobody would have ever known that Sierra Madre's sex offender ordinance was no longer being enforced. It was done in secret, and had the City Attorney not been forced to talk about it by The Tattler, nothing would have ever been said.

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  3. Unfortunately we have to have this reminder. The kids are out of school. Keep your eyes open for AWest and Matheson - and their cameras.

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  4. Gotta wonder if we'd changed the City Attorney firm a few years ago. Would we be with the Carsons of the world instead of making Sierra Madre a haven for sex offenders?

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  5. We need a new City Attorney. The incumbent is merely a fringe political activist using our dear City as a pawn in advancing her perverted agenda. She is incompetent to protect us from predators of any sort be they Developers or other pond scum.

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    1. 8:53, we've been needing a new firm for years. Bart Doyle was instrumental in putting in this patsy firm - they've been bilking us for millions in fees.

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    2. Colantuono & Whomever surrendered on One Carter in 2005, and the Sex Offender Ordinance now. What good are these people

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  6. Let's first acknowledge the truth that is consistently ignored, or failed to be grasped, by so many in favor of these laws and is the reason why they fail to pass constitutional muster. These laws are designed to keep all sex offenders away from children, but only some convicted sex offenders are pedophiles. Also only a very small percentage of all child molestations are committed by strangers to the victim. The crimes are almost always committed by a person in a trust relationship, usually a family member: uncle, grandpa, stepfather, mom's boyfriend, coach, teacher, troop leader, teacher. These laws do nothing to stop the most likely scenario, and since a registration is a lifetime requirement, a man who 50 years ago grabbed a woman's buttocks or breast in a bar, cannot take his grandkids to park in Sierra Madre today under the proposed law under because he is deemed to be an unreasonable threat to children.

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    1. Works for me. Don't grab women in bars and you don't have a problem.

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    2. Ah yes. The exceptions are now the rule. Let's just throw out hundreds of years of human experience and focus on a small handful of outliers.

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    3. 10:07 - it could be worse. If they were black they'd have been shot.

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    4. 10:07 sounds like that attorney that wants these pieces of you-know-what to be able to free range anywhere in CA. Reprehensible.

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    5. So 10:07, what's your deal? Do you have some kind of automatic alert when a site has something about sex offender laws, and you jump on to do a bit of trolling?
      You are defending the indefensible.
      If you want to help, discover the cure to rehabilitate sex offenders.

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    6. 10:19, what an ignorant and unsubstantiated statement you made. An obvious reference to the recent media cases, and the same type of despicable rhetoric that Sharpton made that led to the two NY cops getting executed. Don't forget that the Black population only comprises 13% of the U.S. population, but represent 58% of the prison inmates. To add to that, 7 out of 10 adult, black males have been in jail at least once in their adult lives. These statistics speak strongly against the theory of "victimization" and targets of "profiling".

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    7. Being a stranger to cable news I keep forgetting that this is Race War Christmas. You certainly do seem to be having a merry one. But let me ask you a question. How do you relate the senseless murder of two Policemen in New York by an armed black psychopath, and the murder of the young black man in Salt Lake City by a screwball white cop that Tony Brandenburg wrote so eloquently about? Do I need to put on tinfoil with clothes hanger antennae to properly make that connection? Can I sit your pathology out?

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  7. Carson and San Bernardino County are heavily Hispanic. Love of family and children seems to trump the concerns of the likes of the City Attorney of Sierra Madre.

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    1. Talk about political suicide. Sad that you can get away with it in Sierra Madre, though.

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    2. Carson and San Bernardino became dumping grounds for paroled sex offenders when the state passed a similar law about 10 years ago. In order to keep more and more coming in they made more restrictive laws. Taken to its logical extreme, as it happened, paroled sex offenders could not live anywhere under the law, we ended up with hundreds of paroled sex offenders sleeping in cars, hardly making us more safe.

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    3. All very good reasons for making sex offender convictions life sentences.

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    4. A guy comes home from war on leave gets drunk and grabs some butt cheek and we all should pay to imprison him for life. Is that what you say?

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    5. Sure. Let's bring veterans into a discussion about child molesters.

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    6. The response was to a post about imprisoning all sex offenders for life. No one mentioned child molesters.

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    7. So now you're making the rules here as well?

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    8. I think Sierra Madre should model itself after Carson and San Bernardino.

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    9. 1:23, "grabs some butt cheek"?
      Is there a person attached?

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    10. I think that is how our guest believes real manly men carry out their affairs.

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    11. I think the point is that some acts, although unacceptable, should not bar someone from a Sierra Madre Park 50 years later, and this would happen under the proposed Sierra Madre ordinance.

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    12. Why would you care?

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    13. Because my pledge of allegiance ends with "liberty and justice for all".

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    14. Except children.

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    15. Some kids' grandfather may have grabbed an ass in a bar 40 years ago and she could be punished by the law because grandpa can't visit her or take her to a park now.

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    16. Westminster paedophile ring: Police investigate murders of three boys
      http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/crime/11301225/Westminster-paedophile-ring-Police-investigate-murders-of-three-boys.html

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    17. Apparently there are reasons to believe its about more than park trips, 11:39.

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  8. What with a little more free time today and against my better judgement, I picked up a copy of the Mountain Views News, the paper that Henderson stole. Inside is another paper, International Daily. It's a Chinese publication translated into English. So now who's zooming who/m?

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    1. Susan never fails to work hard against the interests of the community whose money she takes.

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    2. International Daily, 870 Monterey Park Road, Monterey Park. It says it's 50 cents, but they're obviously giving it to us out of the goodness of their hearts.
      http://www.chinesetoday.com/

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    3. The only thing Susan cares about is money.

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    4. 11:38 its only been in the paper for about a year and it is great material to read and they have local and national news .I enjoy it

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    5. Maybe we should put the Mtn Views News inside the International Daily.

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  9. As the "by the numbers" chart at the top states, 90% of molestation are committed by someone the child knows. Seems to defeat the purpose of the ordinance.

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    1. Murders are most often committed by someone the victim knew as well. Does that mean the laws against murder need to go as well? Can we look forward to the California Reform Of Murder Laws soon?

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  10. According to FBI statistics, convicted child molesters have one of the latest recidivism rates of all.

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