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City Council Votes 5-0 to Oppose Prop 47

Citrus Heights city council leaders unanimously voted Thursday to oppose California’s Proposition 47, following a recommendation by Police Chief Christopher Boyd about the controversial ballot measure which seeks to reduce penalties for certain nonviolent drug and property crimes.

Citrus Heights Mayor Mel Turner, Police Chief Christopher Boyd
Citrus Heights Mayor Mel Turner with Police Chief Christopher Boyd, recognizing Domestic Violence Awareness Month, just prior to voting to oppose Prop 47, Thursday.

“Obviously we have to support you,” said Citrus Heights Mayor Mel Turner after the chief highlighted concerns about crime increasing and requested the council officially go on record against Prop 47. “This makes a lot of sense.”

Calling Prop 47 “dangerous to our communities,” Chief Boyd told the council the measure would “virtually assure” the release of 10,000 inmates and would reduce the penalty for stealing guns from a felony to a misdemeanor, as long as the gun is valued under $950. He also highlighted his concern that the measure would reduce felony drug possession sentences to misdemeanors — including possession of date-rape drugs.

Officially titled “The Safe Neighborhood and Schools Act,” Prop 47 has drawn the support of the California Democratic Party, the California Teacher’s Association and newspapers like the LA Times — with San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón leading the effort to pass the Proposition. Advocates say the measure would keep prison space from being “wasted on low-level nonviolent crimes,” and would redirect money from prison-spending to schools and treatment.

The nonpartisan California Legislative Analyst’s Office says, if passed, savings “could reach the low hundreds of millions of dollars annually” and that savings would go toward school truancy and dropout prevention, as well as mental health, substance abuse treatment, and services for victims.

Although calling the aspect of funding schools and treatment “noble in its intention,” Chief Boyd, who also serves as head of the California Police Chiefs Association, said the effect of more criminals on the streets wouldn’t be worth it — and councilmembers agreed.

“What concerns me is that it doesn’t take into effect the impact that the release of these people will have among the community,” said councilmember Jeannie Bruins just before casting her vote. “We know they’re going to re-commit (crime).”

Citrus Heights joins with several other cities and groups like the California Republican Party and the California Peace Officers Association in denouncing Prop 47.

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