Residents Asked to Sign “The Homelessness, Drug Addiction and Theft Reduction Act” Petition

Santa Monica police and paramedics respond to an overdose in Palisades Park.
Photo: John Alle – Santa Monica Coalition

Residents are asked to sign a petition that will add an amendment to Proposition 47. This amendment does not repeal the proposition, but rather fine-tunes it. The amendment is called The Homelessness, Drug Addiction and Theft Reduction Act.

Santa Monica Mayor Phil Brock, wrote CTN on February 21, that he had endorsed the measure.

“The Homelessness, Drug Addiction, Retail Theft Reduction Act ballot measure will bring needed penalties for drug abuse, organized retail theft rings, and mandatory treatment for severe drug users,” Brock said. “I’m on the streets of Santa Monica every day and am appalled by the lack of consequences for those who repeatedly shoplift, use drugs in public, and disregard the law.

“This measure will restore accountability in a humane way, giving our public safety forces an ability to remove those who repeatedly disregard our laws fair and just consequences for their actions,” Brock said.

San Francisco Mayor London Breed is also supporting this act “”The Homelessness, Drug Addiction, and Theft Reduction Act will make targeted but impactful changes to our laws around fentanyl and help us tackle the chronic retail theft that hurts our retailers, our workers, and our cities. I fully support this measure and know it will make a meaningful difference for cities across California.”

San Jose Mayor Matt Hahan is also backing it, “Prop 47 was well-intended but what really matters is its impact — and unfortunately, it’s hurting far too many families and small businesses across the state.

“We need reform that doesn’t take us back to the era of mass incarceration but allows judges to mandate treatment for those struggling with severe addiction, hold repeat offenders accountable, and treat fentanyl like the killer it is,” Hahan said.

Many voters may remember Prop 47 was called the Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act and passed 59.61 to 40.39 percent in 2014.

It recategorized some nonviolent felonies, such as drug use and shoplifting, to misdemeanors.

Prior to 47, when addicts were arrested, they went to drug courts, and were given a choice of jail or rehab. They could avoid jail and a criminal record if they completed court-monitored treatment. The requirements usually involved months or years of intensive work, with drug tests encouraging compliance and the threat of jail motivating change.

After Prop. 47, most addicts were cited and released back to the community, with little or no reason to make a change to his/her drug lifestyle.

With the passage of Prop. 47, shop lifting was a misdemeanor , as long as it was under $950.

Not many citizens could have foreseen smash-and-grab robberies, where cars and thieves descended on malls and stores, stole merchandise, and drove off and could repeat it day after day.  As long as criminals kept thefts were below $950, daily, they could never be charged with a felony.

This Act leaves most of Prop.47 intact – it does not change the felony threshold level for most thefts ($950). But now, a judge could make a most recent theft a felony if there are two prior convictions.

The Act would also allow felony charges for possessing certain drugs like fentanyl. Defendants who plead guilty to felony drug possession and complete treatment can have the charges dismissed click here.

The act reads “Prior to Proposition 47, individuals who repeatedly engaged in theft could be charged with a felony. Prop 47 eliminated this repeat offender felony and instead provided that any theft up to $950 in value is now a misdemeanor – regardless of how many times the offender has committed theft. In practice, this means that an offender who repeatedly steals up to $950 in value faces virtually no legal consequences.

“The result has been an explosion in retail and cargo theft . . . This retail and cargo theft explosion has collided with the fentanyl 1 epidemic, as hard drug users have engaged in brazen theft to support their drug habits, knowing that there will be no consequences for either their theft or their hard drug use.”

Greg Totten, campaign chair for the California Increase Drug and Theft Penalties and Reduce Homelessness Initiative, said Brock is the first mayor in LA County to endorse the measure.

“We’re thrilled to have him support the initiative,” Totten said. “There are a number of other mayors that are expected to come on.”

Los Angeles Mayor Bass was asked if she supported the Amendment to Prop. 47. CTN has reached out twice. She had not responded by press time, if she does, this story will be updated.

Corporations supporting this amendment are Target, Walgreens and Walmart. Unions that support it are the California District Attorneys, Ca. Police Chiefs, Ca. Retailers Association and Ca. State Sheriffs’ Association.  Other organizations supporting it are the Ca. Correctional Peace Officers Association and the California Grocers Association.

In order to qualify for the November ballot, more than 546,651 signatures are required by the end of April. As of January 24, about 25 percent had been collected click here.

A petition would allow Prop. 47 to arrest people with drug issues, such as fentanyl, and provide an option for rehabilitation. Once rehabilitated, charges would be dropped.



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One Response to Residents Asked to Sign “The Homelessness, Drug Addiction and Theft Reduction Act” Petition

  1. Richard Andonian says:

    There is another petition going around to repeal prop 47. Which I also support as long as new proposition will have some heavier consequences for the thieves and drug addicts.
    I support The amendment as well but it is still too weak.
    In my opinion we should get more serious about this issue. First , reduce the threshold from 950.00 to 500.00 secondly not wait for 3rd offense to charge them for felony. Second offense should be charged with felony and extended jail time. We must put some teeth to the law. These thieves do not understand leniency and do not care.

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