Connect with us

News

Legislation proposed by state senators addresses fentanyl and retail theft issues

A bipartisan group of lawmakers in the California senate on Monday announced a package of legislation to address the growing fentanyl crisis and untamed outbreak of organized retail thefts.

Sen. Mike McGuire (D-Healdsburg), who was sworn in as president pro tempore last month, recited sobering statistics to reporters as he introduced proposals he said will remedy the issues through a more rehabilitative approach.

“There are more than 12,000 drug overdose deaths a year in California. More than half of those deaths are fentanyl-related,” McGuire said. “Black and Latino communities have seen a 200% increase in overdose deaths since 2017. Native Americans had a 150% increase in overdose deaths in the same period. The Hoopa Valley tribe faces a fentanyl death rate eight times greater than the state average.”

The senate’s action comes after Assembly leaders this month presented their plans to remedy the issues, an indication that the drug and theft crises will be priorities this legislative session — and in California’s 2024 election.

The set of 14 bills announced by McGuire and other Democrat and Republican Senate leaders takes a sweeping approach. The legislation, if passed and signed by the governor, would increase access to treatment, enhance addiction services for those in the criminal justice system and penalize criminal trafficking of xylazine, or “tranq,” a horse tranquilizer laced in fentanyl.

Among those bills is SB 1144, authored by Sen. Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley), which will tighten regulations to help prevent stolen goods from being sold online.

Tinisch Hollins, executive director of the nonprofit Californians for Safety and Justice, called the package a “thoughtful approach to nuanced challenges.”

Hollins said the package is needed “in an environment where special interests are gaslighting Californians with destructive and ineffective rollbacks.”

She was referring to law enforcement agencies that have lobbied for changes to Proposition 47, a contentious ballot measure that reduced certain retail theft and drug offense charges to misdemeanors.

Contra Costa County Dist. Atty. Diana Becton called for a strategic approach that strays from a one-size-fits-all approach to public safety.

“I have seen firsthand the need to reimagine our approach to criminal justice,” she said. “To reexamine and reproach it through a lens of racial and socioeconomic disparity, with an eye to restorative justice programs and rehabilitation programs for nonviolent offenses.”

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

News

Forest Lawn Drive now free of RV encampment and parking

Nancy Sexton was thrilled when city crews cleared out more than 50 RVs in December that had been parked near her business for months, blocking parking spots and leaving behind trash and waste on Forest Lawn Drive.

Then she realized the long stretch of road near Barham Boulevard in the Hollywood Hills was suddenly off limits for not just parked RVs, but all parked vehicles. Much of the curb was painted red. No parking signs lined the sidewalk.

“It’s a dumb decision,” said Sexton, who owns the Muse Rooms, which offers leased office spaces. “It’s frustrating.”

The more than 50 RVs, which had been stationed along the winding road for months as a semi-permanent living encampment, were removed in December as part of the city’s operation known as Inside Safe. One goal of the program, which is part of Mayor Karen Bass’ initiative to bring people living on the streets indoors, is to end the cycle of homeless encampments being cleared by the city only to return a few weeks later.

But days after the RVs were removed, Sexton said, the curb was painted red and parking was limited. The new red zone is about a quarter mile long, running between Warner Bros. Studios’ Gate 9 entrance and North Coyote Canyon Drive.

The areas that do allow parking, meanwhile, have two-hour limits.

City officials also said the decision to restrict parking was done out of fire safety concerns, not to keep the RVs from resettling along the road. Sexton has her doubts.

The lack of parking along the street suddenly imposed a new, unexpected expense on her clients, prompting some to look elsewhere. The red curb has also become an irritation for some students and workers at the New York Film Academy and businesses nearby.

A road with RVs lining its right side.

RVs are parked on Forest Lawn Drive on June 27, 2023, in Burbank.

(David McNew/Getty Images)

Since the no-parking signs went up, Sexton said, she’s lost two regular members and two potential clients. All of them had aired concern about the lack of street parking and the added expense of paying $12 a day at the parking structure on site.

The parking fee, Sexton said, doubled the monthly costs for some members.

“I didn’t know how much of a problem it was going to be until there were people saying, ‘I can’t pay $12 a day,’ ” she said. “I’m really feeling it now.”

The situation highlights some of the unintended results as city officials look to address homelessness and the concerns of businesses and homeowners affected by makeshift encampments, whether they involve tents, vehicles, or both.

RV encampments have sprung up across the city amid a housing crisis that has left many people priced out of permanent homes. Local officials have looked for ways to address the issue, including new regulations that have targeted overnight RV parking.

According to the mayor’s office, the Inside Safe program has addressed 39 encampments so far, moving more than 2,400 people into interim housing and an additional 440 into permanent housing since December 2022.

Bass spokesperson Zach Seidl said the RVs that were removed from Forest Lawn Drive were themselves causing parking issues in the area, as well as raising other significant safety and public health concerns.

Members of the surrounding community have said removing the RVs “has helped on all three fronts,” Seidl said in a statement. “This operation has saved lives.

Stella Stahl, spokesperson for Councilmember Nithya Raman, said the city has helped many of the RV residents along Forest Lawn Drive to find housing indoors.

In a statement, Stahl credited the decision to limit parking to a request by the Los Angeles Fire Department, which called the area a “high fire severity zone.” A 2019 brush fire in the area burned more than 30 acres and threatened homes and businesses.

In a Sept. 19, 2023, letter, LAFD Assistant Chief Dean Zipperman asked the city Department of Transportation to install “Tow Away No Stopping Any Time” restrictions on the road due to the stopped and parked vehicles there.

To avoid the hassle of looking for parking, cinematography students Sanchin Vinay, Yifan Xiang, and Davide Picci carpool to their classes at the New York Film Academy, which shares a building with the Muse Rooms. Eliminating the RVs has opened some spots to them, although Picci said they’d been able to find spaces on the street before — “really far down.”

A couch on a sidewalk near an RV.

The curb along Forest Lawn Drive, where someone has left a couch.

(Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times)

Sometimes they pay the $12 for the daily parking to avoid being late for class. Carpooling helps cushion the cost.

Leslie Bates, a film production instructor, said she heard of students and faculty members having “volatile” interactions with the RV residents.

Now that the RVs have

Continue Reading

Featured

News10 hours ago

Forest Lawn Drive now free of RV encampment and parking

Nancy Sexton was thrilled when city crews cleared out more than 50 RVs in December that had been parked near...

News11 hours ago

Alaska Ambler Road Project Denied by Interior Department

The decision by the Interior Department to reject the Ambler Road Project in Alaska is a significant win for environmentalists...

News12 hours ago

House speaker receives additional request from GOP member to resign or be ousted

House Speaker Faces New Call by Another Republican to Step Down or Face Removal House Speaker Johnson says he’s not...

News14 hours ago

NASA is reevaluating the Mars Sample Return Mission as current plans face setbacks

Spaceflight is not the easiest of enterprises, and NASA has recently announced a change in plans for the Mars Sample...

News15 hours ago

View Park-Windsor Hills experiences a 2.8 magnitude earthquake

On Tuesday at 8:19 a.m. Pacific time, a magnitude 2.8 earthquake rattled the View Park-Windsor Hills neighborhood in Los Angeles,...

News16 hours ago

Some Rioters Already Freed as Supreme Court Reviews Jan. 6 Charge

Follow live coverage of the Jan. 6 obstruction case at the Supreme Court. The review of an obstruction law by...

Entertainment17 hours ago

Caitlin Clark’s Prada ensemble at WNBA draft impressed boyfriend Connor McCaffery

Caitlin Clark made a statement at the 2024 WNBA Draft that went beyond her incredible basketball skills. The young athlete,...

News19 hours ago

Renowned Physicist Peter Higgs Passes Away at 94

It is with a heavy heart that we report the passing of Professor Peter Higgs at the age of 94....

News21 hours ago

Judge rules that Los Angeles officials manipulated records during homeless camp cleanups

A federal judge has found that Los Angeles city officials altered evidence to support the city’s defense against allegations that...

News22 hours ago

Fire Causes Partial Collapse of Historic Old Stock Exchange Building in Copenhagen

Copenhagen’s Old Stock Exchange Building, also known as Borsen, is a historic landmark in the city that has stood for...

Advertisement

Facebook

Trending