“Lola’s Folly” Would Have Allowed More Felons Roaming LA

Some California State Senators want to empty prisons by changing the classification of felonies and making criminals eligible for diversion.

By KRISHNA THANGAVELU

There are serious crimes waves in areas of Los Angeles, such as Westchester and also in Santa Monica. Residents in Westchester are taking shooting lessons and families do not feel safe in their homes, at day or at night, with more than 75 home break-ins reported in a three-month period between October and January.

But recent events before Memorial Day had me wondering if California State Senators Lola Smallwood-Cuevas and Ben Allen are helping, hindering, or just ignoring constituents.

Lola Smallwood-Cuevas introduced a bill in the California State Senate that would have changed the status of most felony crimes to misdemeanors.

Cuevas, who represents Westchester and District 28 wrote Bill 1282, pushed it through California Public Safety Committee and brought it to vote before the CA Senate, just before Memorial Day Weekend.

This bill would make most FELONIES in California eligible for diversion – which means instead of jail or prison time defendants who commit serious crimes including vehicular manslaughter, residential burglaries, drive-by-shootings, solicitation of murder and assault with a deadly weapon could be ordered by a judge to get treatment – and then within just two years have charges dismissed like it never happened.

And diversion means they would be able to legally purchase a gun.

How did state senators vote when they were faced with a public safety bill in the context of high crime in multiple California districts?

Sixteen state senators voted FOR this bill, no doubt in some misguided way to address prison overcrowding. Or criminal justice reform or who knows what? Maybe they just liked Lola. Senator Ben Allen did not vote. Why?

SB 1282 narrowly failed by ONE vote on Thursday, May 23, but senators voted that the bill could be revisited.

I heard about 1282 through Orange County DA Todd Spitzer on Instagram. He was warning California residents that if they thought crime was bad now, . . .SB 1282 would make it worse.

Todd Spitzer on Instagram: UPDATE 7:15 PM May 23, 2024 SB 1282 by Senator Lola Smallwood-Cuevas which would have made most defendants charged with serious felonies eligible for diversion NARROWLY FAILED on the Senate floor tonight 17-16.

All the community leaders I sent this information to had NOT been informed about this bill by anyone.  Not a peep from LA District Attorney George Gascon, not one cautionary whisper from our State Senator Ben Allen. Elected and employed public servants charged with our public safety in the 11 million plus crime-beleaguered Los Angeles County must not have been worried, including L.A. County Supervisor Lindsey Horvath.

No one in Los Angeles County was watching Sacramento…we mistakenly ASSUMED that the function of elected officials in Sacramento was to protect our interests and further our welfare.

“Lola’s Folly” is a warning about BETRAYAL of the public’s interests and a call to action to make sure we are all aligned towards the same goals…in this case public safety.

The supporters of this dangerous bill, made with zero consultation with heavily burdened law enforcement agencies, were: Atkins, Becker, Bradford, Cortese, Durazo, Glazer, Gonzalez, Laird, Limón, McGuire, Padilla, Skinner, Smallwood-Cuevas, Stern, Umberg, Wahab and Wiener.

Voting for a candidate is a start, but not enough. We have to continually monitor the actions of our elected officials and hold them accountable.  There is very low to zero transparency in Sacramento right now.

Anything discussed on public safety needs to take into account the priorities of seasoned law enforcement and taxpayers.

WHAT’S NEXT?

Be paranoid, be very paranoid.

“In the end, there wasn’t enough courage in the room… and we couldn’t get the votes we needed,” Ms. Smallwood-Cuevas said. “Moments [like these] are driving us back toward mass incarceration… but my hope is that my colleagues will see the light and stand up… and I’m going to continue to work on it.”

No Lola, there wasn’t enough FOLLY in the room.

Although this bill is currently inactive, thanks to the 17 wise State Senators and law enforcement agencies opposing it, WE, the public, have to assume that Lola is just going to double down on more of this crime coddling agenda with all sorts of NEW nonsense unless she is placed on a strong performance improvement plan.

I am going to assume that no one in politics will give Lola a performance review so I am hoping at least one person in the public will forward this article to her. Ms. Smallwood-Cuevas, your bill NARROWLY failed but you have MAJORLY failed your constituents. Do better, we will be watching you,

Senator Ben Allen did not vote (yes or no) on a bill that would have allowed the majority of crimes that are now felonies to become misdemeanors.

Where was Senator Ben Allen, resident of miserable and crime ridden Santa Monica District 24 representative?  Did he leap to the defense of the poor victims of crime in Senate District 24? There was no vote recorded for Allen. Why?

We plan to reach out to Allen and ask him why his vote was missing on this important bill. When he responds I will update you.

We need Senator Ben Allen to:

  1. Explain his position on public safety.
  2. Why he did not vote against Lola’s Folly, aka SB1262.
  3. What he plans to do when similarly misguided dangerous legislation comes around from his peers that are poorly informed about law enforcement and criminal justice.
  4. What his office is doing all day, all year, and where exactly is public safety on the priority list.
  5. Any other questions you the reader care to comment below as we continue a forensic analysis of “Lola’s Folly” and the accountability of our Sacramento reps.

To be continued….

Krishna Thangavelu monitors Los Angeles public safety on multiple social media platforms. To learn about these watercooler chat groups and join public safety efforts, you can email her at writektnow@gmail.com.

 

This entry was posted in City, Community, County Supervisors, Crime/Police. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to “Lola’s Folly” Would Have Allowed More Felons Roaming LA

  1. Scott Simril says:

    Every story has at least two sides. I know and respect the author of this story. But I would like it if Senator Lola was given a chance to tell her side of the story.

  2. Karen Howard says:

    Scott Simril~ what more to the story is there? Felonies watered down to misdemeanors is all I need to hear. Criminals get enough leniency as it is these days. Protection, care and consideration needs to be given to the citizenry of LA county, not the criminals.

  3. Steve D. says:

    We just read her side of the story. She is attempting to avoid “mass incarceration.” I’m curious what that term means to her. What is the appropriate number of individuals incarcerated? How many is too few? Or not enough? To me, if you commit a felony as given in the above examples, then you should be incarcerated. Whether that results in 10 people being incarcerated or 10 million people being incarcerated is irrelevant. At the risk of sounding insensitive, is it that difficult to avoid incarceration? The vast majority of us manage to avoid it.

  4. Ben Allen says:

    Our new baby girl was born on May 22nd. I was with my wife in the hospital in Santa Monica for most of that week. That’s why I wasn’t on the Senate floor on May 23. It’s as simple as that. The birth was announced on the Senate floor.

  5. Ben Allen says:

    Clarifying my previous comment, with 16 affirmative votes she was five votes short of 21, not four.

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