Honorable City Council Members:
Recently the honorable Mayor Helene Schneider shared with us a thoughtful critique of the approach used by opponents of the proposed Gang Injunction. First, I would like to thank the Mayor for her time clarifying several contentious details surrounding the implementation of the Injunction. It takes a lot of courage to stand firm in one’s ideals against her party base while up for reelection. In December 2012, the Santa Barbara Democratic Central Committee voiced strong opposition which has constantly gained bipartisan support. In September 2013 the Central Coast Republican Liberty Caucus unanimously voted to oppose the Injunction and has joined the fight to stop its implementation. Today we at the RLC would like to address a few specific points raised by the Mayor.
The first point was the Mayor’s belief that the “injunction creates a restraining order against 30 named adult individuals … no one other than these 30 individuals will be subject to the injunction … ” With respect, although there are 30 named individuals, there are also 300 unnamed John Does and 2 unincorporated entities which are currently named on the injunction. We respectfully request the City Attorney Steve Wiley and District Attorney Joyce Dudley revise the proposed legal document on Monday. These revisions should reflect the Mayor Helene Schneider and City Council member’s wishes that the injunction only apply to the 30 named individuals, never to be applied to any additional adult or juveniles. We should also look at the issue related to who is a potential Doe or accused gang member. I would ask for clarification of the Cities claim found on page 4 of the pleadings filed by the City to justify the inclusion of the alleged unincorporated entities.
“Defendant Eastside is … an unincorporated association within the meaning of Corporations Code sec. 18035, inasmuch as it consists of two or more individuals joined by mutual consent for some common lawful purpose, such as attending social gatherings, recreational events, and funerals.”
Take a second to ponder the implications behind that.
Next, I would like to address the concerns of enjoined individuals who happen to be going to school or other non-covered area and are approached by law enforcement. The burden of proof to where one is traveling is difficult, especially when an officer may be primed for a dangerous interaction with a “gang member.” While the idea of an opt-out process sounds good on its face, the way it is written is rife with problems. The process is arduous and time consuming with a minimum of three years having to pass with one full year of employment before being considered. Three years is a long time. We should immediately encourage anyone being targeted to choose to not commit violent acts.
The ambiguity of how the injunction will be applied is one of the biggest concerns we have as advocates of Liberty. The idea that the cost of the injunction is built into the budget and does not have an effect on other programs for at-risk youth is interesting. It seems fairly fundamental that if money is being spent from the budget for several years on one civil case, that money cannot be used for current violent crimes which are being committed. The allocation of money to the City Attorney’s office and Police Department could be used for more positive projects even if it is not directly being affected by the reallocation of funds. The most frustrating aspect of this as a fiscal conservative is that the Mayor acknowledges the fact the injunction may be dismissed on its face. This would legitimize the concerns of the opposition relating to how much money has been or will be spent in this action.
While we believe that the injunction is unconstitutional on its face we are encouraged by the dialogue. I have personally attended several public forums relating to the Gang Injunction and have been disappointed that the Mayor and the majority of the City Council did not attend. Many excellent alternative ideas were offered, and the community at large is determined to continue the dialogue until a solution is found that does not selectively target a single minority group in Santa Barbara.