Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Is the Prison Realignment "Political Malpractice"?

The Bay Area was largely unmoved by news of the resignation of Oakland police chief Anthony Batts today. Batts had clashed frequently with Mayor Jean Quan and the City Council, and struggled with the Herculean task of lowering the state's highest violent crime rate while seeing his budget cut and 150 officers laid off. While many speculate that the impending federal takeover of the OPD, pursuant to 2000's "Riders" scandal, had a role in pushing him out, we wonder whether it might have been something more immediate: the state prison realignment, which went into effect this month.

If the chorus of complaints from California's cities about the realignment is any indication, Batts might well have decided to cut his losses. Yes, the mayors of the Golden State's largest cities are very unhappy about the realignment; in a letter to Jerry Brown, the leaders of LA, San Francisco, San Diego, San Jose, and five other cities claimed that the state is facing a "brewing public safety crisis" if it doesn't give them more money to handle the new prisoners. Noted grandstander Antonio Villaraigosa even referred to the plan as "political malpractice" last week. Essentially, the cities want an immediate infusion of guaranteed money to cover their realignment-related costs, and want a November 2012 ballot initiative to constitutionally guarantee the money thereafter.

We can't imagine running big-city police departments is an easy job, and it will only get harder if, like Los Angeles, they're forced to move officers over to help probation departments supervise newly released offenders. Still, it's hard to avoid the sense that the mayors doth protest too much. After all, local governments had months to weigh in on the plan before it was passed; one has to wonder why they weren't raising concerns then. Granted, that was before Sacramento raided cities' vehicle license money to the tune of $130 million to pay for the realignment. But still, they had to know that the plan would impose costs on them. We suspect that the complaints are about appearances. It's hardly a secret that the political class in California wants budget cuts to be as painful and frightening as possible, so as to wear down voters' resistance to new taxes. It remains to be seen whether realignment will create a crisis of safety in California's cities, but we'd guess that none of these folks wants to see a good crisis go to waste. Brown did, after all, promise to get them the money one way or the other.


  1. AnonymousOct 17, 2011 03:42 PM
    the Chief should instead yell at the very Local, State and Federal governments themselves for CREATING a huge part of the criminal class including those imprisoned for non-crimes like personal drug use! Let's see how real present poverty and crime and future criminal behaviour is BREEDED by the State:

    -breaking up families in "Family Courts" by criminalizing fatherhood and making children and the mothers wards of the State. Also subsidizing single-mothers which also includes those who would not want the father in their lives. These kinds of "gate-keeping" mothers are also emotionally and psychologically unstable as what they engage in is child abuse by not allowing him/her to grow up with their own father. So they themselves sometimes are negligent and abusive towards the child. That said child is then much more likely to become delinquent, antisocial, criminal, etc...

    the vast majority of imprisoned criminals and only those who are not falsely convicted come from fatherless homes.

    -those single mothers who are subsidized by the state some also encourage and teach their children how to also get the same stolen money to fund their idleness. Many children who grow up with parents and single mothers on welfare are very idle and rarely given experience in work and discipline. They grow up to still be living on taxpayer largess and which so much free time they grow up becoming delinquents, antisocial, gangs, etc etc...

    -imprisoning parents especially fathers for non-crimes like false abuse, personal drug use, etc...

    -those single-mothers who are psychologically unbalanced will also get their psychologically unbalanced boyfriends into the house and living with the children. And some of these criminals were these boyfriends who abused or injured those children.

    -welfare is not even excluded from those who are drug addicts!!! in California it used to be, and may still be, a possible REASON to get welfare is being a drug addict, in the apparent intention to try and "cure" you hopefully somehow, by subsidizing idleness.

    -poverty which makes those who are more criminally inclined to commit their acts is created by government through onerous and frivolous labour laws and regulations, minimum wages which price low wage labor out of the market, corporate income tax, and other regulatory burdens and fees. These are all sunk costs that could have been spent instead on expanding and hiring.

    Also California is a huge lobbyist's hog-heaven for special interests, big and small, who use legislation to unfairly profit at the expense of the consumer and taxpayer