Rebuttal: Why anti-gang ordinance should be approved

Ed. note: This is a rebuttal to our opposition to the proposed anti-gang ordinance. Read your comment on the ordinance being a bad idea. We...

Ed. note: This is a rebuttal to our opposition to the proposed anti-gang ordinance.

Read your comment on the ordinance being a bad idea. Well, as you imagine, I disagree. So here's my rebuttal that is part of the ordinance.

Read into the record by Kathy Lee:
"In any ordinance, the legislative intent must be clear and concise. Street gang prevention is very serious as is our purpose.

People of the city of Elk Grove find and declare that it is the right of every person to be secure and protected from fear, intimidation, and physical harm caused by the activities of violent groups and individuals. It is not the intent of this ordinance to interfere with the exercise of the constitutionally protected rights of freedom of expression and association.

People of the city of Elk Grove recognize the constitutional right of every citizen to harbor and express beliefs on any lawful subject whatsoever, to associate lawfully with others who share similar beliefs, to petition lawfully constituted authority for a redress of perceived grievances, and to participate in the electoral process.

People of the city of Elk Grove, however, further find we must prevent the city of Elk Grove from any state of crisis, which would be caused by violent street gangs whose members commit a multitude of crimes against the peaceful citizens of their neighborhoods. These activities, both individually and collectively, would present a clear and present danger to public order and safety and are not constitutionally protected.

People of the city of Elk Grove find that there are criminal street gangs operating in the city and that the number of gang related crimes is increasing. It is the intent of the people of the city of Elk Grove in proposing this ordinance to seek the eradication of criminal activity by street gangs by focusing upon patterns of criminal gang activity and upon the organized nature of street gangs which together are the chief source of terror created by street gangs.

People of the city of Elk Grove further find that an effective means of punishing and deterring the criminal activities of street gangs is through forfeiture of the profits, proceeds, and instrumentalities acquired, accumulated, or used by street gangs."

Read into the record on Connie Conley:

"It is our goal in bringing forth this ordinance to step up and do what we can, as citizens, to prevent gang activity. Other cities have tremendous gang problems and we must do what we can to prevent gang activity in Elk Grove from escalating. We want to be the ones to set the tone because Elk Grove is a wonderful city, it is our city, and we simply do not want that problem here.

Reaction to the ordinance within the community may be mixed, with some citizens feeling that it is yet another important step towards improving the safety of our city, and others worrying about its implications on civil rights. We took the latter in mind when writing this ordinance, specifically noted in the legislative intent section, as we all abhor the violation of civil rights or racial profiling of any kind. There is no place for either in a civil society. Other ordinances were deemed unconstitutional by the United States Supreme Court for that very reason.

However, this ordinance was written according to the United States Supreme Court when the Court suggested that a better drafted gang ordinance could survive constitutional challenge, ruling: "A law that directly prohibited intimidating conduct would be constitutional..." The Court also suggested the ordinance must apply only to those who are loitering with a harmful purpose and apply only to criminal gang members, not those with whom they were present.”


You are entitled to your opinion, as we all are. But we took the US Supreme ruling in writing this ordinance. So I guess your argument is with them including the most conservative judges of them all: Justice Thomas, Justice Scalia, and Justice Kennedy who all ruled on the constitutionally of our ordinance language which was taken from an ordinance that the Highest court upheld.


Connie Conley

Ed. note: Instead of passing an ordinance, those concerned citizens who fear an impending "crisis" and "organized nature" should look to laws already on the books designed to deal with this. If there is in fact "organized" crime, simply ask the FBI to use RICO laws.

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