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Prop. 6 secures money for law enforcement

October 16, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
California voters will be doing more than just electing a president when they go to the polls November 4. A number of important propositions are on the ballot too. Here is a close look at Proposition 6, the measure that would crack down on crime.A child is killed by a suspected gang member. Again, a mother cries out.

"I am a child of god and my baby is too," said the mother. "And she didn't deserve this."

Backers of Proposition 6 say new funding is crucial. Each year there are about 1,000 murders in Los Angeles County, half caused by gangs, according to Sheriff Lee Baca. He supports Prop. 6.

"I say to the persons who are at the ballot box: Do you want a safer community?" said Baca.

It comes with price. You find the numbers in your official voter information guide.

According to a non-partisan analysis, Prop. 6 mandates $965 million a year for law enforcement. The amount would grow over the next five years, plus, a potential capital outlay for prisons that could exceed $500 million.

Lieutenant Governor John Garamendi opposes Prop. 6.

"We've got some real serious funding issues. We have to set priorities. Most of this money is actually going to go for the prisons," said Garamendi.

Many unions oppose Prop. 6. Public employees struggle for state funding. Yet police would get a shield from the budget axe.

"That is going to pull resources down by mandate from here to eternity out of other programs for fire protection, healthcare, for teachers, nurses, programs like that that are important as well," said Dave Gillote, California Prof. Firefighters Union.

There's more than money in this measure. It includes dozens of changes in the criminal code. Among them:

  • Gang members could get life in prison if convicted of a home robbery or carjacking.
  • Recruiting a child under age 14 would add five years to a prison term.
  • Possession of methamphetamine: automatic felony.
There are Intervention programs too.

"The State of California, quite frankly, has learned in numerous ways how to squander the taxpayers' dollars," said Sheriff Baca. "This is one where the dollars will be put to good use."

Fighting gangs is a good use. Opponents agree on that. But they don't believe it is the only good use of funds needed by all who serve California communities.

 

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