URGENT: Community Justice Center hearing NOW, City Hall Room 400

Sorry for not getting the word out earlier on this -- too much to keep up with sometimes. The Ballot Simplification Committee (BSC) is working on the voter summary today for Gavin Newsom's measure creating a "Community Justice Center." This measure is bad news, because it represents an expansion of the criminal (in)justice system's ability to process large numbers of people arrested for victimless "crimes" like prostitution and drug use.

  Their hearing started at 9:00 a.m., but they typically go till mid-afternoon, although there is some other stuff on today's agenda as well. I highly recommend going if you can make it, there is often an opportunity to substantially impact the final language if you choose to speak. You can read more about the BSC and what they do here -- http://www.sfgov.org/site/elections_index.asp?id=21619#agendas . Their draft language describing the measure is below (this is what they'll be working on modifying today.)

Love & Liberty,
        ((( starchild )))

Ballot Simplification Committee
DRAFT for Consideration
Thursday, August 7, 2008

Community Justice Center

THE WAY IT IS NOW:
The San Francisco Superior Court's criminal division hears misdemeanor and felony
cases. If defendants are found guilty, they may be subject to fines or imprisonment.
The City has taken steps to establish a new Community Justice Center (CJC). The CJC
Court will handle some criminal misdemeanor and non-violent felony cases normally
heard by the Superior Court. Defendants appearing before the CJC Court will be
offered health and social services case management.
In July 2008, the Board of Supervisors approved the following actions to create the
CJC:
• Provided $998,145 to create and operate the CJC in the 2008-2009 fiscal year.
The Board of Supervisors has the authority to change this funding, subject to the
Mayor's veto power.

• Authorized the Department of Public Health to apply for a federal grant of up to
$984,000 in additional funds.
• Authorized the Director of Property to enter into a lease at 555 Polk St. to house
the CJC.

THE PROPOSAL:

Proposition ___ would guarantee that the City provides first-year funding for the CJC,
authorize the Director of Property to lease space for the CJC, and define the CJC's
scope and operations.

Proposition ___ would provide $1.77 million for the 2008-2009 fiscal year to fund the
CJC's capital costs and first year of operations. The Board of Supervisors would not
have the authority to reduce this funding.

Proposition ___ would also authorize the Director of Property to enter into a lease or
take other actions to secure facilities for the CJC.

Additionally, Proposition ___ would describe the scope and operations of the CJC.
Proposition ___ states the CJC would hear criminal cases concerning misdemeanors,
non-violent felonies, and any other crimes deemed appropriate by the Mayor and the
San Francisco Superior Court. The CJC would handle cases in which defendants are
charged with committing crimes in the Tenderloin, South of Market Area, Civic Center,
and Union Square neighborhoods, as well as any other areas of the City selected by the
Mayor and the San Francisco Superior Court. In the CJC, a single judge would preside
over cases and make decisions to help ensure that defendants appear in court and
obtain needed social services. The CJC would include facilities to provide social, health
and community services to defendants and other community members.

A “YES” VOTE MEANS: If you vote "yes," you want to guarantee that the City
provides first-year funding for the CJC, authorize the Director of Property to lease space
for the CJC, and define the CJC's scope and operations.

A “NO” VOTE MEANS: If you vote “no,” you do not want to make these changes.

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