Santa Monica Observer - Community, Diversity, Sustainability and other Overused Words

By Peter DiChellis
Santa Monica resident 

Santa Monica City Attorney Allows Criminals to Repeat Offend Over and Over Again

These are not necessarily non-violent crimes just because they are 'misdemeanors'

 

Alyssa Erdley

SMPD patrols by the main public library, a de facto homeless shelter when open; their efforts are in vain if criminals are immediately released back onto the streets

A Call-to-Action on Crime

Dear Editor,

I believe many Santa Monicans, rattled by an epidemic of brazen crime, are understandably furious at LA County DA George Gascon. They may not be aware, however, that the City of Santa Monica, not Gascon, has authority over violent misdemeanor prosecutions in our city, while Gascon's permissiveness, which the Council has failed to condemn, applies solely to felonies committed here. The combined effect is that lawbreakers, many of them repeat offenders, prey on our population at will.

The results of Gascon's policies are well-documented and include a child molester boasting about receiving a light sentence, a murderer so enamored with Gascon's soft touch that he wants to tattoo the DA's name on his face, a recall set to qualify for the November ballot and, most recently, a convicted felon who murdered two police officers after Gascon put him back on the streets via a plea bargain.

Despite all this, and even though Gascon's own prosecutors overwhelmingly supported his recall in an internal vote, the Santa Monica City Council has refused to stand with the nearly three-dozen LA County municipalities that have voted 'No Confidence' in Gascon.

And what about those local misdemeanors, which are entirely the responsibility of the City? (And which are NOT included in the City's 2021 Part One Crime analysis that showed a statistical decrease vs. the 2020 riots and looting.)

As you might expect from the Council's gentle handling of Gascon, the news is not good.

Months ago, I provided the City Council multiple examples of repeat misdemeanor offenders, culled from news reports and public law enforcement records. All of these offenders were subject to prosecution by the Santa Monica City Attorney's Office.

Read 'em and weep:

After being cited and released for an Elder Abuse Assault in our downtown area, a serial offender was arrested here again for Unlawful Use/Possession of Tear Gas. And in a too-familiar lapse, this same individual was recently arrested yet again, this time for Shoplifting from one of our beleaguered retail stores.

An individual arrested for Assault in the parking lot of a popular Santa Monica supermarket was recently arrested for yet another Assault, this time outside a retail store in the downtown shopping district. Same guy, same game.

And this indefensible parade of enablement marches on and on . . .

Another individual was arrested for Elder Abuse Assault in Santa Monica. He had been cited and released for a different offense the day before that arrest and was cited and released again the day after.

A man arrested in Santa Monica for Making Violent Criminal Threats was cited and released within two days, despite an earlier Vandalism arrest for using a knife to slash tires in a Santa Monica parking structure.

An individual was arrested in Santa Monica for Arson of an Inhabited Building. This was after being cited and released a month earlier for Brandishing an Imitation Firearm in a Threatening Manner in our downtown area.

A Shoplifter recently arrested in a downtown department store owned a "rap sheet" showing 12 arrests during the past year, including previous Shoplifting charges, as well as Mail Theft charges. She was cited and released and then arrested for another offense hours later.

Finally, police and local media recently reported two broad-daylight robberies on the now crime-infested Promenade, while a resident walking near his home reported being physically assaulted by the same attacker on two consecutive days, also in broad daylight.

What actions can besieged residents and business owners take, besides encumbering themselves with pepper spray, stun guns, and other legal but last-ditch self-defense implements? I'll make a few suggestions:

Alyssa Erdley

SMFD officers look over the aftermath of a fire on the bluffs that was caused by an illegal homeless encampment. Vagrancy laws need to be enforced.

First, loudly demand that the City Council put a vote of "No Confidence" in DA Gascon on the Council Agenda, now. Bringing a resolution before the Council does not require unanimity, nor does a vote of "No Confidence" need to be unanimous. Let's at least learn who on the Council stands with or against the criminal-friendly policies crushing the region and the city.

Second, insist that the Council direct the City Attorney's office to redouble its so-far unproductive efforts to prosecute and convict repeat offenders. Accept no further excuses.

This November, support only candidates who are as fed up with crime as you are. Elevate public to the highest-level of issues. Do not settle for election-year lip service; look for track records of action.

And finally, oppose any tax or revenue proposal that does not include substantial public safety funding. Public spending must restore public safety.

Sincerely,

Peter DiChellis

Unaffiliated moderate

Santa Monica - 90403

(former idyllic beach town, recently named one of the "least safe" cities in California)

 

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