Fair Game

By TOM JOHNSON

 

What to do about rising crime? DA Spitzer and State Senator introduce new bill in attempt to increase penalties

I have to be honest; I follow issues of crime in our community. If you do also, perhaps you’ve noticed that oftentimes there is an amount listed in crimes indicating if the theft was above or below a $950 threshold. That simply means that, say you go in somewhere to steal something and it has a value under $950 versus a value over $950, that amount will be a determining factor in what the potential sentence is.

Many, if not most of those times, the accused are let out of jail almost immediately. It’s frustrating for the community and frustrating for the police who have to continually deal with them.

Criminals have also figured this out as laws have changed over time. An example of this was Proposition 47 which the citizens of California passed back in 2014 making certain property crimes under $950 a misdemeanor. And, that proposition also removed a portion of law (Penal Code 666.1) that dealt with Serial Theft.

Unfortunately, the result since then has been more crime. And as you might imagine, if you’re a criminal you know that you can commit a transgression and be back on the streets sooner as a result in these types of changes. And without the “Serial Theft,” if you do it again, it’s simply not considered.

Enter a new Senate Bill 923, recently introduced by Senator Bob Archuleta (D-Pico Rivera) and Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer.

SB 923 would “specifically target enforcement efforts at repeat criminals who continue to steal after multiple prior convictions,” according to a release by the OCDA’s office. And it “would re-implement serial theft provisions prior to Prop 47 while leaving the $950 threshold as is.” It specifically targets enforcement efforts at repeat criminals who continue to steal after multiple prior convictions.

“The bill ensures that, beginning on a third offense, serial thieves are charged with between six months and three years’ imprisonment, ending the current practice of repeat offenders being released without jail time.

“Repeat offenders aren’t accidental criminals. They know they are breaking the law by stealing and they do it anyway because current law makes the risk far less than the reward,” said Spitzer. “There has to be a consequence for breaking the law and repeat offenders have to be subjected to those consequences.”

We need to keep an eye on this. It now sits with the Senate Rules Committee. It certainly seems like something has to change to stop these unrelenting criminals from continuing their assaults on businesses and individuals.

• • •

This Saturday, Jan. 27, is a special fundraising opportunity occurring at St. Andrews Presbyterian Church. Longtime Newport Beach resident Brian Horn, a friend to many, is organizing the Third Step Smokehouse as a pop-up on the church campus.

Through it, Brian and friends will present “Bubba’s,” a place to go by to pick up lunch – smoked pulled pork sandwiches prepared “Southeast Texas style,” according to Horn, who will be the grill master. The sandwiches will be served with homemade sides of coleslaw and potato salad.

Yum!

Here’s all you need to do: Stop by Saturday at St. Andrews (600 St. Andrews Road), purchase your lunch or lunches from 10:30 a.m. until the time that they sell out. Proceeds from the day will benefit recovery for substance abuse and mental health.

What is the connection to Third Step and St. Andrews? For people struggling with alcohol and/or substance abuse, the Third Step is one of the important principles in Twelve Steps of AA recovery and is instrumental in recovery.

It works like this: Step One asks a person to “admit they are powerless over alcohol – that their lives had become unmanageable”; Step Two asks one to acknowledge that they “came to believe that a Power greater than themselves could restore them to sanity”; and then, Step Three confirms that they “made a decision to turn their will and their lives over to the care of God as they understood Him.”

Brian and his team are trying to make a positive impact on this community…I hope you’ll consider joining him in this effort.

• • •

Received a note from the Corona del Mar Chamber of Commerce. It explained an upcoming “gelato flight tasting & ribbon cutting” on Tuesday, Jan. 30 from 4-6 p.m. Chamber President & CEO Linda Leonhard titles it – a special event invitation, “Do Yourself a Flavor.”

Here’s the scoop, so to speak: Chamber members, neighbors and community friends are invited for a fun and delicious event hosted by Peter and Gina Klebanoff, owners of the all new Gelato del Mar (3500 E. Coast Highway, CdM, near El Cholo)…it’s a “Gelato Flight Tasting” including the most decadent flavors and textures.

It closes, “No Charge/Bring a Friend.”

So, I figure you my readers are my friends…see you there!

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