Sacramento DA Candidates Address Their Position on Prop 47

Prop. 47 is a critical issue once again facing California.  Passed in 2014 by the voters, it made non-violent drug and property crimes misdemeanors.  However, by raising the felony threshold from $450 to $950 for petty theft, some have argued that it has created a rise in theft crimes.

There is now at least one legislative effort to rescind a portion of Prop. 47.

The Sacramento DA candidates last week were asked their position on Prop. 47.  Here are their responses.

Thien Ho:

I believe that coming from a country and having personally experienced injustice in a system of justice where we had no voice as citizens, the beautiful thing about this country is we actually have the ability to make our system of justice better. And I always believe that we should strive to do so, but in the process of doing so, we need to make sure that it’s reasonable and there’s certain things that I would like to see happen. Number one, I would like to see that domestic violence, for example, be categorized as a violent offense. It’s not, under the law.

Also, in addition, we want to make sure that we want to target those individuals that are engaging in, theft rings, organized theft rings. There are committing offense says over and over. You see them in the smashing grabs. You see them in those situations. There has to be a level of accountability where if you’re not stealing for food, if you’re not stealing for your necessity, but you’re committing thefts over and over again, there has to be a level of accountability.

You have situations where you have small business owners, and I saw one in open recently that had their entire inventory wiped out. This was a couple, a family business that was wiped out. So we need to have accountability when it comes to death offenses when it comes to those sorts of cases. But we also need to expand a mental health and drug treatment program. We absolutely have to do that because a lot of those issues are the underlying issues that cause and reverberate and cause other crimes. So we need to balance that as well.

Alana Mathews:

I think Prop. 47 was a very strong step in the right direction to repair a lot of the harm that has been disproportionately impacted on communities of color. What I will say is that it’s been the topic they use for a lot of, and blame for a lot of things that are going on.

It is unacceptable to have these smashing grabs that we are seeing on television and certainly people need to be held accountable, but what’s happening is we are not looking at it the whole way. So what I want be as a DA is have a crime strategies unit. So we are being more strategic because what’s happening is the, the people of color, the low level they’re being paid money to go and do these smashing grabs. But what happens with all that inventory, it gets sold.

That’s why you have organized retail theft, and we are not being strategic in analyzing the data and going after the individuals who are actually taking that merchandise and selling it, whether they’re selling it online or they’re selling it at a Denio’s or a flea market. And so I’m happy to see that there’s legislation right now that is, being responsive to that crime and to that instances of how that is happening. So we’re not going to spend time looking back and blaming policy season of the past, but we’re going to be moving forward.

We’re actually going to hold those accountable who stand to benefit the most. When you’re talking about millions of dollars, hundreds of items of merchandise, it’s not the person who’s looking for 50 or a hundred dollars to go get it, who’s organizing all of this together. So we have to be more strategic in how we go about that.

But certainly, we need to hold anybody who is committing offenses accountable, but we need to do it in a way that’s not causing harms or perpetuating disparate or racial injustices in our community.

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Disclaimer: the views expressed by guest writers are strictly those of the author and may not reflect the views of the Vanguard, its editor, or its editorial board.

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