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Sex offenders coming to a neighborhood like yours soon?

Local Commentary

Posted: March 8, 2008 2:42 a.m.
Updated: May 9, 2008 5:03 a.m.
 
TO: Residents of Santa Clarita Valley
FROM: The State of California, Department of Corrections and Parole Authority
RE: Released sex offenders may be coming to your neighborhood.

"We, the Department of Corrections for the State of California, have a really difficult job. We have thousands of paroled sex offenders coming out of prison and we have to place them in communities just like yours. After all, they have served their sentences (good-time notwithstanding). So we are not going to disclose to you details. We, the Department of Corrections, are going to do what is expeditious for us. And we are doing this very quietly so as not to attract any attention."

The above was not a direct quote from anyone in Corrections, but essentially it sums up the growing problem of paroled sex offenders in the community. I am presenting to you a fairly accurate accounting of the dilemma the state faces in placing paroled rapists and child molesters.

Sadly, the state could give a hoot what you think or how loudly you complain. They have a job to do, and to hell with the law-abiding public.

Amoral state, landlords
This arrogant attitude by the state was bluntly revealed when residents of the city of Long Beach awoke one morning two weeks ago and noticed a recently foreclosed-upon apartment building in the downtown area was no longer vacant. The tenants, all 16 of them, were all recently paroled sex offenders.

I know you are probably thinking, "Why are these criminals out on parole?" I am pondering the same question.

Residents of Altadena were similarly outraged when they learned six violent convicted rapists wound up in a halfway house in their community. Fifth District Supervisor Michael Antonovich was also outraged. He teamed up with Assemblyman Anthony Portantino, D-Pasadena, to compel the Department of Corrections to move all six sex offenders.

Quoting the Supervisor: "You don't give an arsonist matches and place them on parole." Right! You don't place sex offenders in neighborhoods with families and children. It is not the community's responsibility to absorb these sex offenders.

I am furious the state has entered into agreements with a whole new breed of real estate investor. These investors buy up foreclosed-upon apartment buildings and, unbeknownst to the community, bring these deviants into their newly owned buildings. The state is only too happy to foot the rental bill. Disgusting!
What kind of greed-driven low-life would knowingly enter into this kind of agreement? Please, put a spotlight on these amoral landlords.

Exactly where should the state place these sex offender parolees?

Mars works for me! In 2006, State Senator George Runner was instrumental in introducing Prop 83, aka Jessica's Law, and California overwhelmingly passed the law to protect children and families by restricting where paroled sex offenders could reside.

Current law states these predators must be 2,000 feet from all parks and 2,640 feet (one-half mile) from all schools. Local governments like Long Beach and Altadena have a great deal of say where these parolees eventually wind up. The city attorney in Long Beach has been instructed by the City Council to draft an ordinance restricting residence requirements of sex offenders in relation to licensed child-care facilities.

This past Tuesday, Supervisor Antonovich introduced a motion directing the County Counsel to provide the Board of Supervisors within two weeks with an analysis of Jessica's Law, an overview of sober living/group homes whose occupancy is six people or fewer, a summary of existing County Codes, and asked the County Council to recommend options, including the drafting of a similar ordinance to that of Long Beach.
The Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the motion.

What the city should do
I am extremely hopeful that the Santa Clarita City Council will immediately take the cue from Supervisor Antonovich and request the City Attorney to do the same.

Saving one victim from sexual trauma is worth any price, especially if that loved one is your child, wife, family member, or friend.

Roger Gitlin is a Santa Clarita resident, teacher and Minuteman. He can be reached at ragitlin@aol.com. His column reflects his own views, not necessarily those of The Signal.

 


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