By CURT SEEDEN
FOUNTAIN VALLEY – Registered sex offenders who have committed crimes against children will be prohibited from entering parks in Fountain Valley, the City Council decided Tuesday.
The council unanimously approved the first reading of an ordinance, modeled after a county ban, but defines "park" to include other recreational areas where children may be. The city's ordinance also differs from the county's in that it specifically targets sex offenders who have committed crimes against children.
- WTF? We have the federal government making laws, states, cities and counties as well? No wonder all these laws are hard to understand! Everybody wants to do it their own way.
The vote was 4-0 with Councilman Larry Crandall absent.
The Orange County District Attorney had recommended that cities adopt an ordinance that prohibits all registered sex offenders from being in parks where children may be present. Bans have already been adopted in Westminster, Irvine, La Habra, Los Alamitos, Huntington Beach, Yorba Linda, Laguna Hills, Lake Forest, Mission Viejo, Rancho Santa Margarita, Costa Mesa and Seal Beach.
The Fountain Valley council conducted a study session on April 17 to discuss concerns about sex offenders frequenting parks and preying on children. At the study session, council members were briefed about recent sex offender incidents, including at Mile Square Park on May 5, 2011, when a registered sex offender entered that park in violation of the terms of his probation.
- So you are making a law to punish all ex-offenders due to the deeds of a few? And how many incidents can you tell us about, that occurred in a park? I am sure it's less than 5.
Susan Kang Schroeder of the Orange County District Attorney's Office thanked the council for addressing the issue, but urged council members to delete the portion of the ordinance that refers to sex offenders who have committed crimes against minors, noting that the county ordinance prevents all sex offenders from entering county parks.
- It should be only for those who committed their crime in a park, not all ex-offenders. If we made all laws affect everybody the way sex offender laws do, we'd all be in prison.
The first reading of the ordinance approved Tuesday applies to all parks in the city and the portion of Mile Square Park known as the Fountain Valley Sports Park and Recreation Center.
"It's the right thing for us to do for the people in our community," Mayor John Collins said. "It's a positive step. You have to be proactive in life to make sure we don't have a problem later on."
- So lets just ban all guns, and anyone who owns one, throw them in prison! Many criminals have killed people using guns, so why not be proactive and ban guns from existence? Might as well!
In California, convicted sex offenders have been required to register with the state since 1947. According to city-data.com, there were 19 registered sex offenders living in Fountain Valley as of August 2011.
- Yep, the registry came to be about the time Hitler was in power, and he had registries as well.
The City Council is expected to vote on final approval of the ban at its Oct. 16 meeting.