UPDATE, OCT. 20, 3:16 P.M.: Our last post about the Los Alamitos City Council approving on first reading an ordinance–based on the county's–banning registered sex offenders in parks left you hanging about what the Mission Viejo City Council did the same night.
The South County town's council voted unanimously to have its city
attorney draft an ordinance similar to the county's for consideration at a later date.
Meanwhile, back in Los Al, the original version of the post incorrectly stated when that North County town's ban would go into effect. It would happen 30 days after the ordinance is approved on second reading, which is currently scheduled for Nov. 7.
The version below has been corrected to reflect that as well.
ORIGINAL POST, OCT. 18, 12:19 P.M.: Hours after a 59-year-old man was convicted for violating a ban on registered sex offenders in local parks on two dates in Westminster–the first Orange County city to adopt a law patterned after the county's enacted in April–the Los Alamitos City Council approved its own ban on first reading Monday night. Steven James Dietrich of Westminster was sentenced to 60 days in jail and three years of informal probation after pleading guilty to one
misdemeanor count of a prohibited sex offender entering city parks without written permission from the police department.
Westminster adopted its ban in May that makes it a misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in jail and/or a
$500 fine for registered sex offenders who enter city parks where
children regularly gather without permission from police. That was a month after an ordinance written by District Attorney Tony Rackauckas and Supervisor Shawn Nelson was enacted by the Board of Supervisors for county parks and regional attractions that draw kids.
Nelson, the district attorney's office and the sheriff's department have gone on to lobby cities to adopt their own bans for local parks. After Westminster, the La Habra City Council approved an ordinance similar to the county's, while Irvine adopted what the DA's office characterizes as a “partial” ban as it only applies to sex offenders with histories of preying on children.
A Westminster police officer confronted Dietrich at Leaora L. Blakey Park at 8612 Westminster Blvd., without written permission the morning of July 16. Dietrich was cited again by the same officer in the same park the afternoon of Aug. 6.
As other cities debate whether to impose full bans–some city attorneys fret it may be so broad as to be eventually struck down as unconstitutional–the Los Alamitos City Council approved a ban modeled after the county's on first reading last night. Rackauckas' chief of staff Susan Kang Schroeder appeared before the council to advocate for the ban and answer questions. T-Rack has said even though there are only five registered sex offenders identified through Megan's Law residing in Los Al, nearby Long Beach has 766 known pervs.
“These people find their way in,” Councilwoman Gerri Graham-Mejia said in explaining her support for the ban. “This is to protect our community.”
If the ban is approved after a second reading scheduled on Nov. 7, it would go into effect
60 30 days later.
The Mission Viejo City Council was expected to consider a ban of its own last night.