Sen. George Runner and Assemblywoman Sharon Runner submit petitions for anti-gang act.
On Friday, the Runners began submitting signatures to various California counties to get their Safe Neighborhoods Act on the November ballot.
“We have received passionate responses from voters up and down the state for this ballot measure,” said Senator Runner, one of the authors of the measure, along with Mike Reynolds, father of “Three Strike” and San Bernardino County Supervisor Gary Ovitt.
“But we are not surprised by their enthusiasm; our constituents tell us all the time that they are fed up with gangs and the violence and destruction they bring to our neighborhoods.”
The Safe Neighborhoods Act: Stop Gang, Gun, and Street Crime, is a comprehensive measure that increases punishment for gang and street criminals; establishes sustainable funding for California law enforcement; pays for 21st century tools like GPS monitoring and central gang databases; prevents youths from heading down the wrong path, and protects victims and their families.
“Sheriff and police departments have done an admirable job in fighting gang crime, but they are pushed to the brink and crime rates associated with gangs are starting to rise,” Baca said. “We need to join forces and share resources if we are to bring crime rates down and keep our communities safe.”
The Safe Neighborhoods Act has been in circulation since late January and needs 435,000 valid petition signatures to qualify for the November ballot. The petitions, which are due next week, are being submitted to each county in the state this week for verification of signatures. Once the signatures have been verified by the county registrars, the Safe Neighborhoods Act will become a qualified proposal for the November ballot.
“We are confident that this measure will not only qualify but receive approval by the voters in November,” said Sharon Runner, who co-authored Jessica’s Law with Senator Runner in November 2006. “It's time to put serious efforts into saving our children from gang involvement, and it's time to send a strong message to street thugs that the good citizens of California have had it with their lawless and violent behavior.”
Reverend Peterson, Founder and President of the national nonprofit organization the Brotherhood Organization of a New Destiny (BOND), stated that a comprehensive law like the Safe Neighborhoods Act is long overdue.
“Children are dying every day on the streets of America because of gangs,” he said. “And yet to date California does not have a true statewide plan to deal with the growing crisis. We must change the way we handle gangs if we are to save our precious youth from dying.”
Some of the provisions of the Safe Neighborhoods Act would do the following:
Increase penalties for felons and gang members with guns;
Heighten penalties for criminal accomplices;
Prohibit bail for illegal aliens charged with violent or gang crimes;
Strengthen Section 8 Housing compliance;
Toughen laws for methamphetamine distribution and sales;
Protect witness testimony;
Punish smugglers of prison contraband;
Create a statewide gang registry;
Establish the “Use a gun and lose a car” law;
Create the Early Intervention & Rehabilitation Commission;
Allow counties (that are under federal court order to release jail inmates) to operate temporary jail facilities;
Impose felony penalties on serial graffiti offenders;
You can find out more on this at www.safeneighborhoodsact.com