The Silicon Valley Voice

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Milestones – Contain the Chaos! – Opinion

Publisher Miles Barber talks about the Safe Schools and Neighborhoods Act and urges people to write their representatives if they disagree with it.

Thanksgiving was terrific for the SF 49ers as they shot down the birds from Seattle 31 to 13. The team made it a great holiday for Bay Area 49ers fans. This week will be a major test for the team as they go against the Philadelphia Eagles. The last encounter against the Eagles was in last year’s playoffs when a freak hit against quarterback Brock Purdy put him out of commission for the season. This game just might be the precursor to the NFC Championship since both teams are in contention.

Now, while the 49ers are doing a lot of things right, our elected representatives seem to be oblivious to doing their jobs.

Our communities are helpless in dealing with a totally stupid law that raised the threshold of felony theft to $950. Small businesses are being hammered and are defenseless as their shelves are ransacked, their inventory taken and the police are legally handcuffed to stop the thieves.

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In addition, Santa Clara County elected, Turn Your Head and Laugh, Jeff Rosen, as District Attorney. Rosen has spent more money trying to incarcerate Councilman Anthony Becker than putting crooks in jail.

The combination of a run amuck District Attorney and the existing law of felony-free theft under $950 is a marriage made in hell.

Face it folks, we as voters made a mistake and didn’t read the fine print in the Safe Schools and Neighborhoods Act that we voted for and passed a few years ago. This was not an accident. Apparently, a lot of lawmakers in Sacramento seem to like this current confusion.

What has our legislature done to correct this issue? If you said nothing, you would be almost correct. There have been several bills introduced in Sacramento that would make theft (imagine this) unlawful. These bills appear to have been placed, coincidently, in the Perpetual Review Committee.

If you believe that free theft should be legal, you need do nothing.

However, if your favorite store has been ransacked and is going out of business, or you’re just tired of the chaos and crooks, take a minute and write your State Senator Aisha Wahab at ateam@aishawwahab.com.

Reaching Assemblyman Evan Low is a bit more difficult. He can be reached at https://a26.asmdc.org/contact-evan.

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1 Comment
  1. John Haggerty 7 months ago
    Reply

    Once again, you have published a very timely and thoughtful editorial. I agree with you that: (a) shoplifting has become a plague upon our city and state; (b) the historic El Camino Real which runs through our historic city is quickly deteriorating into East Berlin 1960 or South Bronx 1980 with all of the chain link fences, closed stores (e.g., Rite Aid and Safeway), and dope addicted vagrants; (c) District Attorney Rosen has been more interested in charging our duly elected representatives with novel offenses than abating this growing shoplifting menace; and (d) our legislators often deceive us with crazy, bait-and-switch measures.

    I would add the following points: (a) some of our police departments have also deprioritized the apprehension of thieves and dope criminals (perhaps at the behest of local so-called progressive prosecutors and/or courts); (b) in addition, some of our police officers have become increasingly reluctant to encounter low level, dope addicted, criminal suspects because of what happened in the George Floyd case; and (c) this prompts the question–if our police departments are no longer prepared to protect our stores/streets from shoplifters/dope criminals, then should we lay off some of those police officers who are no longer being utilized to enforce the laws against such criminals?

    Finally, I respectfully disagree with your opposition to the recent sentencing law change which raised the dividing line between petty thefts (misdemeanors) and grand thefts (felonies) to $950 for the following reasons: (1) that dividing line had not been raised since the 1950s (when it was set at $400); (2) obviously, with inflation, $400 in 1955 would be worth about $4,000 today; (3) treating petty thieves as misdemeanants, rather than felons, saves the taxpayers a lot of money because, unlike in felony cases, defendants in misdemeanor cases: (a) are not entitled to preliminary hearings (which are costly); (b) have their appeals heard before a lower, more local, appellate court (again, less costly); and (c) if convicted, are sent to local county jails (with the other minor criminals) rather than the more costly state prisons (which are filled with violent murderers, sex predators, etc.); but (4) HOWEVER, I want our local law enforcement agencies and courts to ACTUALLY send convicted, first time, shoplifters to county jail for 30 days and convicted, second time, shoplifters to county jail for 90 days, NO diversion programs or probation — GENUINE deterrent sentences — this is not happening now and thus this nasty menace has been metastasizing unabated.

    The first and still primary purpose of our laws, law enforcement agencies, and courts is to protect the public from violent criminals and thieves. What the public rightfully expects (but has yet to receive) are results, not excuses.

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