Wed, Feb

From Zero-Bail Fiasco to Red-Light Renaissance: California's Bumpy Ride Through Ill-Fated Policies


POLITICAL SYSTEM - Honestly, can you remember a time in California when a politician came through with a policy that made life more affordable, safer, freer, happier, or business easier? They run on this, and we vote with hope, believing, yet again, campaign promises that are no better than the halitosis they are expelled on. The outcome is always the same; we always end up with higher taxes, more restrictions, new laws, mandates regarding your health (many unwarranted), more expenses, and fewer choices. In other words, we have been sold a tandem tractor-trailer load of bad policies for 20 years at an accelerating pace. Now as we approach the reckoning, we are about to find out the consequence dildo is big, spiky, and comes without lube.

California politicians have become incredibly adept at making life worse for the average resident. The Net-Zero green agenda creates scarcity, so we pay higher prices for hydrocarbons, water, electricity, and food. Over-regulation and raising taxes on anything that can be taxed create situations where the necessities of life are unaffordable to many. This creates a slew of Sophie's choices: do I buy food, or do I buy gas to go to work? Should I fill my prescription or buy a new pair of shoes for my child? Do I pay my rent, or do I pay my health insurance? How can I afford these utility bills?

It is rare when a politician can claim success for a given policy, but the defund the police movement is a grand slam walk-off home run. It has ruined the peace and any feeling of safety we once had in Los Angeles. The social contract we once had between citizens and politicians has been shredded. The idea of the social contract between the governed and the government is to ensure security and peace for as many community members as possible. Above all, it means providing adequate protection to the public from violent attacks, thefts, robberies, and threats to our personal property. Decriminalizing theft ruins the shopkeeper's ability to make a living, thereby depriving him of the right to make a living and feed his family. It is as if they want to turn our malls, shopping centers, and streets of commerce into war zones and ghost towns.

On October 1st, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors endorsed and made George Gascon the Los Angeles County District Attorney's catch-and-release policies into law. Gascon implemented his own zero bail policies on December 7th, 2020. In their new little brains, these "supervisors" believe that letting criminals run amok in our society is equity and inclusiveness. How can they do this while burglaries, robberies, and thefts are up by as much as 40% in some areas? The zero-bail policy has to be one of the most outstanding examples of anti-constituent policies ever perpetrated on the people of Los Angeles by the County since it was formed. It's as if Attila the Hun was invited to Los Angeles to pillage to his heart's content. This release of arrestees has something to do with jails being mean and harsh places. People who get arrested for alleged crimes can get into additional trouble, lose their families, lose their jobs, and have other social ills befall them. If such a person has a family and a job, why risk it all?

It looks like 2024 is going to be another bumper year for crime under the current policies of George Gascón and now with the blessings of the Los Angeles Superior Court whose magistrates are in charge of recommending bail or not recommending bail. The figures speak for themselves. For the fifth year in a row, Los Angeles was #1 in organized retail theft.

But it also looks like we're going to be #1 in prostitution. Governor Newsom, in January 2023, signed the so-called safer streets. If a politician names a bill for safer streets, you can be sure the fine print will allow the exact opposite to happen. Safer Streets for All Act decriminalized loitering with the intent to work as a prostitute. Now, a 40-block area in South LA around Figueroa Blvd has turned into one large red-light district and sees hundreds of prostitutes plying their trade. Police cannot intervene unless they believe a child who is working in the streets is underage. Recently a 14-year-old girl that was being trafficked was rescued from "the track" on Figueroa Blvd, where johns cause daily and nightly traffic jams by shopping for hookers.

The County of Los Angeles is now being sued by 29 cities located within the County. They are challenging the zero-bail policy, which releases arrestees back onto the street without considering the protection of the public, the safety of the victims, their prior criminal record, the seriousness of the offense, and whether or not the person will likely appear on trial.

This new policy states that cash bail will still be required for those charged with assault, domestic battery, stalking, and violations of a protective order. The magisterial review will be utilized for anyone accused of the crimes of human trafficking, sex with a minor, and battery if a peace officer requests it. However, there is only a two-hour window to provide needed evidence to the magistrate. Given the complexities of gathering the evidence, most are released. This is how the law is skewed to handicap the police and advantage the criminal suspect. All other felonies and misdemeanors will see suspects cited and released immediately upon arrest. Instead, they will be given court orders to appear for arraignment sometime in the future, which could take a long time given how busy the courts are and their immense backlog.

There are many egregious examples of felons being released and perpetrating new crimes immediately after they are released. But perhaps what could have been the worst of the most hellacious is the case of presidential candidate Robert F Kennedy Jr's stalker. Our DA and County's catch and release policy can best be illustrated by the fact that Jonathan Match, Kennedy's stalker, invaded his property twice on the same day, thanks to catch and release policies. Authorities said Mr. Match was taken into custody at a nearby police station on October 25th, cited for trespassing (only trespassing?), and then released. Police said he returned to Mr. Kennedy's home and was re-arrested at 5:45 PM for violating a protective order. He is now being held on only $30,000 bail for a potential attempted assassination. One could surmise that his quick release, the lack of Secret Service, and the minor charges given to Mr. Match under judiciary review have Machiavellian intent.

Any magistrate or judge that orders the release of a criminal defendant back onto the street and that person causes grievous harm or the death of another individual should be held accountable as an accessory to that crime. These are matters of life and death in some cases, and an educated guess and a prayer are not sufficient for protecting the victims or potential victims. The zero-bail policy, promoters claim it's a safe and sane policy, is giving incredible license to the most dangerous elements of our society to continue their destructive behaviors.

It would be foolish to assume that naive politicians implemented these policies trying to do the right thing. These policies have been purposely imposed upon us to create a different society. The politicians promoting woke ideologies are trying to delegitimize our history, our culture, our institution, our laws, and our moral compass and reorder society. These forces seek to destroy our City, State, and our Country. George Soros' politicians who have helped implement these laws and policies that are an affront to human decency and common sense should be voted out of office. Every Politician, District Attorney, and official who refuses to enforce the law should be held accountable for the havoc and chaos they created and, if found guilty, imprisoned.

(Eliot Cohen is President of a well-known HOA in the San Fernando Valley. He is a member of the Citizens Advisory Committee for Van Nuys Airport and has been a participant in the Neighborhood Council system.)