UPDATE, MAY 11, 9:54 A.M.: The proposal to ban sex offenders from Irvine city parks did not wow all council members Tuesday night. Mayor Sukhee Kang, Councilman Steven Choi and the councilman who brought the matter before the panel, Jeff Lalloway, indicated support for a local version of the new county law that bans registered offenders from county parks and recreational facilities. The council ultimately directed city staff to bring a recommendation back before it within 45 days.
Two council members had expressed reservations, though.
As reported by Jeff Overley in the Orange County Register, Larry Agran noted Irvine is America's safest city, so by default it would already have America's safest parks. He feared the ban might occupy city cops who have proven they have a winning enforcement formula already. As part of the staff recommendation, Agran urged that a determination be made to whether pervs in Irvine parks is even a problem. Councilwoman Beth Krom, meanwhile, reportedly wondered whether the law would create a false sense of safety in parks.
But echoing the sentiments of Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas, who appeared before the council to lobby for the law mirrored after the county version he whipped up with Supervisor Shawn Nelson, Lalloway said the county ban could drive sex offenders into city parks that aren't covered by similar ordinances.
That prospect has already spooked cities like Tustin and Fullerton to adopt park bans and Westminster and Huntington Beach to consider them.
Others who addressed the Irvine council were county Sheriff Sandra Hutchens, who reportedly said she did not want to tell the city leaders what to do but that such bans make her job easier, and Todd Spitzer, whose former county supervisorial district included Irvine. Spitzer, who helped put Megan's Law online as a state assemblyman before becoming the heir apparent to Rackauckas (who ultimately fired the Spitz), hailed the ban as a way to protect children.
As any good candidate for office knows--Spitzer is running for supervisor again--it's all about the children.
ORIGINAL POST, MAY 10, 8:10 A.M.: Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas is scheduled to drop into the Irvine City Council meeting tonight.
No, he will not be there to hand out an indictment to a certain electioneering Boss Hogg--at least not this time.
The man the kids call T-Rack will be there to urge support of Councilman Jeff Lalloway's proposal to extend a ban on sex offenders in county parks and recreational facilities to Irvine city parks.
On April 5, the Orange County Board of Supervisors passed the county ordinance proposed by Rackauckas and Supervisor Shawn Nelson making it a misdemeanor for registered sex offenders to enter county recreational areas where children regularly gather without permission first from law enforcement (to, say, attend a wedding).
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The Irvine City Council will review the county ordinance as part of the discussion on the proposed city ordinance at the meeting that begins at 5 p.m. at Irvine City Hall. A vote to enact a city ordinance would not happen until a later council meeting.
"Irvine's record of safety is a source of great pride to the residents of this city and to me," Lalloway says in a statement distributed by the DA's office. "As a father of two young children and an Irvine official, I am always looking for new ways to better protect our children and families and keep Irvine America's Safest City."
For several years running, Irvine has been named the country's safest city due to its low crime rate and relatively large population.
Besides Rackauckas, Orange County Sheriff Sandra Hutchens is scheduled to attend the council meeting and add her support to Lalloway's proposed ordinance.