Monday, November 30 , 2015, 10:12 pm | Fair 46º

Letter to the Editor: Republican Liberty Caucus Opposes Santa Barbara Gang Injunction

By Stephen Pratt |

Over the past year, there has been a discussion in Santa Barbara regarding the issue of youth violence and what policies should be enacted, such as the proposed gang injunction. The discussion has primarily been one of Pathos — emotional appeals to try to scare voters into thinking that there is only one solution.

The injunction adopts tactics that are used in other communities that have legitimate gang issues but with unintended consequences. Santa Barbara has chosen to pursue this with little or no public input. Police Chief Cam Sanchez claims only to “gain new tools in his toolbox” to address the alleged plight of gang violence.

Our goal at the Central Coast Republican Liberty Caucus is to address policy issues that threaten liberty and encourage action to be taken swiftly to prevent such threats. The proposed gang injunction is not only an unconstitutional policy, but will only serve to divide our community, lower property values, raise taxes to pay for enforcement and cause more youth violence. Any honest analysis of these “new tools” should raise an eyebrow.

To date it has taken over $1 million in litigation to implement and will potentially cost millions more in appeals and questions of enforcement. However, many of the “tools” that are being asked for are already in the “box” for individuals on probation/parole. They have very strict conditions, including not being able to associate with other gang members, curfews, having to obey all laws, etc.

What this injunction does is establish “battle zones” in the fight against youth violence. State Street is the dividing line between east and west with the beachfront added during special events. It is no coincidence that the battlefield lies within the lower income areas of the city with a high minority density and lower-income housing. The policy claims the right to freely assemble, petition government for redress, be provided an attorney when criminal penalties are threatened, due process and equal protection does not apply to all but can be removed within these zones.

In addition, the gang injunction targets 30 individuals the city claims are the most dangerous villains of the community. But the injunction will not only target these individuals, it also affects their “associates.” This has the potential to become a de facto stop and frisk policy.

The Constitution was designed to protect the individual as the minority from oppression by the majority: the government. This injunction is simply a test case to see if the court will grant this expansion of special powers to the police. After all, it is just 30 people, their families and friends, right?

Sanchez, the City Attorney’s Office and the City Council admit they have no idea what the cost will be to alleviate this issue of youth violence; they expect us to trust them with any and all resources for combat. They don’t want to remind the public of instances of police brutality, abuse of power or corruption. The city wishes to paint this as a public safety issue. But let us not forget that Benjamin Franklin warned us that if we sacrifice our freedom for safety, we deserve and shall have neither.

The RLC rejects these and all policies that selectively target individuals of a minority or any other group. We call on individuals in the community to come together and discuss meaningful solutions that will not divide us, but encourage those who feel alienated and rejected by society to return to the social contract.

We call on businesses, nonprofits and residents of Santa Barbara to develop neighborhood groups to promote skills in the workforce and address the issue of youth violence as a community. We call on the city to place the gang injunction on the agenda for public input and reflect the will of the people which overwhelmingly reject this policy. The only opportunity available for public comment on the topic, 46 individuals spoke out unanimously against the injunction.

We also call on members of the public to join the RLC at 6 p.m. the last Tuesday of each month at Rusty’s Pizza on Storke Road at 6 p.m. as we develop solutions to public policy, focusing on protecting our freedoms.

Stephen Pratt

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» on 09.11.13 @ 11:49 PM

This letter is a joke. Who the heck is the Republican Liberty Caucus? It certainly isn’t the Republican Party.

From what planet do you come from to claim the injunction will lower property values. I can only imagine the twisted logic that is responsible for this statement.

And BTW, the reason why the injunction is confined to low income areas with a high percentage of minorities is because that is where all the gang activity is. Should we have a gang injunction for Hope Ranch or San Roque? Will that make you feel better?

» on 09.12.13 @ 09:15 AM

Hello Lou! thank you for asking! It seems that they are a group of the local republicans whom are dedicated to protecting personal liberties.  How would the injunction effect property values?  Simple, if you were an outside investor or family that was moving into Santa Barbara I bet the area of town that has been labeled as having a gang problem so extreme that the city had to enjoin these areas of town would be the first place you would put your money right? If you lived in those areas, you would not want to move to other areas of town that are not singled out as having a problem? It seems that no one here supports youth violence, it seems they just don’t the that the proposed option is the answer. But you think the government is the answer to all you problems right?

» on 09.12.13 @ 09:41 AM

Thank you for your question Lou! It seems that the CCRLC is a group of Republicans in the central coast whom focus on personal liberties.  About your property value question, if you were an investor or person thinking about moving into Santa Barbara, the area designated as being impacted by gang violence would be the first place you would go, right?  If you lived their already, you would be in a hurry to invest into your property and encourage others to do the same?  Labeling this area as being “gang infested” is not going to encourage development or growth.  This proposed action by the city is not going to address the core of the problem, but just place an adhesive strip over the gangrene.  The RLC seems to be calling on individuals from the private sector to answer the call here, you seem to be encouraging the expansion of government Lou.

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