A November ballot measure is putting San Diego’s mayor and district attorney — both Republicans and frequent allies — at odds.

Last week, Mayor Kevin Faulconer announced he will lead the statewide campaign to oppose the Public Safety and Rehabilitation Act of 2016, or Prop. 57. Also last week, San Diego County District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis, currently the only district attorney in California who supports the measure, was in Sacramento, meeting with the secretary of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation about how to address issues raised by Prop. 57’s opponents.

Sacramento Report logoThe measure seeks to do three things:

• Grant a parole hearing to nonviolent felons who’ve served the full sentence for their primary offense

• Offer sentence credit to inmates who engage in rehabilitative and educational programs

• Allow judges to decide whether a juvenile should be tried as an adult. (Currently district attorneys make that decision.)

We Stand Up for You. Will You Stand Up for Us?

Gov. Jerry Brown introduced the measure in January, arguing that the state needs to further reduce its prison population in order to comply with a federal court order.

A key issue for opponents is who qualifies for an early parole hearing. The measure says only nonviolent offenders are eligible, but, as opponents have pointed out, “nonviolent” isn’t what voters might assume. Rather, it’s any crime not listed under 667.5(c) of the California penal code, which lays out which crimes are considered violent offenses. So, while someone who commits rape “by means of force, violence, duress, menace, or fear” wouldn’t be eligible for early parole, a rapist who drugs his victim would. Setting fire to an inhabited property = ineligible for early parole. Arson of an uninhabited property = eligible.

Dumanis was out of town this week and unavailable for an interview, but a spokeswoman provided a statement in which Dumanis says she’s supporting Prop. 57 in order “to have a seat at the table … to address law enforcement’s concerns.”

The statement says that last week, Dumanis met with CDCR Secretary Scott Kernan to discuss how Prop. 57 defines “nonviolent offense” and what criteria the parole board would use to determine who’s eligible for release.

“I understand and respect the concerns some have voiced about this public safety initiative,” the statement says. “Nothing is perfect and there are clearly some issues and language that need to be addressed.”

The fact that the parole board has final say over who gets released is something opponents have downplayed; at a press conference last week, Faulconer described Prop. 57 as an “early release” program. At a hearing on the measure last month, state Sen. Mark Leno, a supporter, emphasized that the bill doesn’t guarantee anyone parole.

“To suggest any presumption that they will be paroled is, I think, a far step,” Leno said. “I don’t want to overlook the fact that this is just about eligibility and there will be a consideration by the [parole board] of all the facts.”

Indeed, the state parole board doesn’t grant release lightly. According to CDCR, out of 5,300 inmates up for parole in 2015, only 902, or 17 percent, were released.

Kelly Davis

• Another San Diego voice in favor of Prop. 57 is Bishop Cornelius Bowser, who wrote in a VOSD op-ed this week that Faulconer’s stance against the measure has more to do with politics than policy.

A Grab Bag of Policies

Thanks to the City Council’s OK this week, San Diego is about to become one of 150 cities in California with a plastic bag ban on the books. The state, too, has banned plastic bags.

Yet, plastic bags are still everywhere. That’s because the statewide ban was put on hold after the plastic industry collected enough signatures to put a measure on the ballot that would overturn the ban.

“If that effort is successful, municipal bans — including San Diego’s — would remain in place,” writes the U-T.

But because this is 2016, and a statewide measure plus more than a hundred citywide policies isn’t enough, there is another plastic bag initiative on the ballot as well.

On top of funding the effort to overturn the bag ban, the plastic bag industry also funded a separate measure, Prop. 65, which would “require stores to deposit their bag sale proceeds into a special fund administered by the Wildlife Conservation Board,” according to the L.A. Times.

If that measure passes and the overall plastic bag ban is overturned, it would become a factor in San Diego, whose citywide ban would still be in place.

I know, it’s confusing. Basically, San Diego will likely have a plastic bag ban whether voters uphold a statewide ban or not. It might also have restrictions on where fees from reusable bags must go.

The National Scene

The California delegates to the Republican National Convention have been the talk of Cleveland – because many of them were caught up in a terrible norovirus outbreak.

Some of the healthy California delegates believe the Golden State could surprise everyone and go for Trump. Others aren’t so sure.

As the Union-Tribune reported this week, at least two of Trump’s delegates run a San Diego political group that believes homosexuality can be cured. That fits in with the Republican Party platform approved at the convention this week, which includes support for conversion therapy for gay minors.

• Meanwhile, President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden endorsed Kamala Harris in her Senate bid. Loretta Sanchez, Harris’ opponent, was not pleased. (L.A. Times, Sac Bee)

Golden State News

• Scientists are trying to clone California’s sequoias and redwoods, hopeful that doing so would help combat climate change. (AP)

• A San Diego-area businessman is leading an effort to overturn six gun-control laws. (L.A. Times)

• CalMatters is the latest outlet to examine the bulging November ballot. (Or, as we’ve been calling it, the Bananas Ballot.) Their story focuses on why reforms meant to prevent exactly this scenario haven’t started working yet.

• Joe Matthews breaks down some divergent views — from Blink-182 and “Finding Dory,” to name a few — about how California is doing. (Zocalo Public Square)

• Thanks to Kim and Kanye, the world got a lesson this week in California’s two-party consent law for recordings. (Guardian)

    This article relates to: Government, Must Reads, Sacramento Report, State Government

    John H Borja
    John H Borja subscriber

    The use of reusable bags is an environmental improvement for San Diego. I first witnessed the use of these bags when I was very young in Mexico City in a very affluent section of town. People brought their bags to the grocery store and the store personnel would load the purchases in the bags. Easy. Not. I've been pampered by all the places I go to purchase things in San Diego and given, usually, a plastic bag for what I purchased. Once in awhile, a store would issue me a paper bag, like in the old days(1960's)  Later, in history, I was horrified over the reduction of forests worldwide and appallingly in the U.S. over the use of paper products. Hence, the advent of the "tree huggers". 

    Scientific evidence on the affects of  plastic bags and "six pack holders" on animals in our oceans brought certain habits to mind. 

    The problem is that it is not about one person doing something, it's about millions of people doing the same thing. 

    But, here's the problem.....change. It has taken me all of two years to change my personal habits regarding bags. I now carry reusable bags in my car at all times. We all go through those moments when we should stop by a store and buy something. That's when we really need the bag(s) in the car to prevent a clerk from stuffing our purchases into a plastic bag. 

    Yes, I know Von's is really good about providing a "bin" to recycle your plastic bags. That is a really good gesture and it helps. But, we can all cut through that kindness and just bring our own bags to use and reuse over and over again. 

         There is another problem....vision. We all don't see what happens when we continue to do things that hurt the environment. One of the most iconic places in the world is a cesspool...Rio de Janeiro.  Do we really want to continue to "trash" San Diego, a most beautiful place?

    Matty Azure
    Matty Azure subscriber

    I'm going to "lead the statewide campaign to oppose Prop. 57" because I have nothing better to do?


    Kevin F.

    bgetzel subscriber

    Why is the plastic bag industry proposing an innitiative that puts the 10 cent paper bag charge in a fund that benefits the environmental? Is this  a sincere effort to better the environment, by an industry that continually damages it, or is it a long term play to get grocers to ultimately support the return of the plastic bag?  

    rhylton subscriber

    Dumanis has seen the light, but only through a glass darkly.  Within the last fortnight,  she acknowledged that there is bias in policing but could not restrain herself from blaming the victims of police bias, too.

    Falconer, on the other hand, has chosen not to see the light. Accordingly, he does not recognize that many of the persons who would be released under 57, would not be in jail but for biased-policing and over policing and systemic bias. The SDPD, over which Faulconer presides, is a practitioner of biased-policing of the oppressive kind.