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Lake Forest Could Reverse Sex-Offender Law

The City Council will consider repealing its year-old parks law, which officials say could cost hundreds of thousands to defend and doesn't have much effect on public safety.

Lake Forest is reconsidering its ban on registered sex offenders in city parks.

The City Council will take up the matter tonight, when it gets a staff report saying the ban, which took effect in January, has done little to improve park safety.

Lake Forest was sued over the law in September on grounds that it violates free speech and assembly rights. The city attorney figures it will cost the city hundreds of thousands of dollars to defend the suit.

The report under consideration by the City Council says the county has done a good job of tracking and monitoring the few sex offenders who live in Lake Forest -- and that the city's law could be found to conflict with state law.

Lake Forest's law is modeled after one passed by Orange County but is stricter. Whereas the county ban allows sex offenders to enter county parks if they have written permission from the Sheriff's Department, Lake Forest allows no exceptions. 

The council meets tonight at 7 p.m. at City Hall.

Gloria December 04, 2012 at 08:04 PM
While the decision may be appealed, of course, the City's law already has been found in violation with state law. Not 'could be found'.
Lake Forest Citizen Paying Attention December 04, 2012 at 08:13 PM
In my opinion, the Council should amend the ordinance to mirror the County ordinance upon which it is modeled. The change in protection level is minimal while the potential savings in legal costs is astronomical because any suit brought against the ordinance can be either consolidated into similar suits against the County or stayed pending resolution of the County ordinance with a stipulation that should the County ordinance be overturned ours will be repealed immediately. If the County ordinance is upheld, ours is by default as well if it mirrors theirs. If not, we have to spend time and money litigating whether our stricter version goes too far.
Andromeda December 04, 2012 at 08:34 PM
Smart move, Lake Forest. Any 1st year law student at a 3rd rate law school could probably sniff this one out a long, long time ago. You see, the US Constitution applies to everyone inside the country. 'Inalienable rights' are labeled such for a reason. They can't be legitimately taken away by man since they were not originally granted by man. They are a birthright. But even our esteemed government leaders who demand our respect for their highly acclaimed knowledge still can't seem to grasp this fundamental principle of American life. But will the ones who voted to ban sex offenders from the parks have to pay any price. No. But the taxpayers will. And it's questionable whether Lake Forest can turn back the hands of time on this one. Are many sex offenders disgusting. Sure. But the Constitution protects disgusting people too. And thank your lucky stars it does. Otherwise we would have gulags, not jails in America. You blew it, Lake Forest City Council. You owe your citizens an apology. They won't demand one. But as purported decent human beings, you owe them one anyway. Next time think independently and don't jump into a vat of quick sand just because your neighbor did and invited you to join him.
Andromeda December 04, 2012 at 09:02 PM
Why would you even take the chance that 'the County ordinance is upheld'? Why take that risk? Litigation and taxpayer expenditures would still be involved. Why not just admit the mistake and cut bait? The claim is that banning sex offenders from parks has had no appreciable impact on diminishing sex crimes. Do you think that sex criminals only frequent parks to find their prey? It's was silly from the start and only done to satisfy an agenda. Time to admit a mistake and apologize. That's what civilized people do.
Bong Sativa December 04, 2012 at 09:29 PM
Lake Forest has spent a million dollars of taxpayer's money obstructing "safe & legal access" to medical marijuana in defiance of state law ! It's good to know that these self-righteous simpletons who impose their "family values" on their outraged constituents have their priorities in order & they aren't wasting another million dollars fighting another futile legal battle ! Unfortunately the voters are getting just the kind of hypocritical & incompetent leadership they voted for & have no one to blame but themselves for electing these clueless cretins in the first place ! Let's keep the sex offenders out of our parks,because our teenagers smoke marijuana & have sex there already & that's a good of a reason as any as far as I'm concerned !
Andromeda December 04, 2012 at 09:43 PM
Don't hold back, Bong! heh :^) Yes, after spending upwards of $1M to fight medical marijuana which is still undecided I guess the Council is once burned twice shy. Maybe if the City Council approved prostitution in Lake Forest that sex crimes would go down. Has anyone proposed that? Heck, the City has approved horse race gambling. I bet if they built a bordello next to the horse race gambling facility and put a $5 tax on every John that the City could make another $100,000 a year in revenue and with that construct a 'family values' memorial in front of City Hall! heh. :^) There is no IQ testing for a city council position in any city. All you need is a bright smile, a good line of hogwash and a propensity to spend other people's money at the drop of a hat without feeling any remorse. It's not a bad gig if you have the bucks to buy a seat.
Gloria December 04, 2012 at 10:10 PM
It WAS the County Ordinance that was held as preemption of state law, and with that, unlawful. At least for the time being. Mile Square Park is a County Park. It was held that municipal law cannot be more strict than state law, just like state law must fit within federal law. Really not such a difficult concept. Based on that decision, the City of Irvine dismissed a similar case, with the interesting side note that the Irvine ordinance is the least restrictive in the County, certainly less so than the Lake Forest one. At least give the Lake Forest City Council credit for attempting damage control, albeit with reasons cited - possible litigation cost and really, a non-existing problem - that were the same as were presented last year in opposition to the ban and are not exactly rocket science. That the whole exercise was politically motivated should be clear now. But it is not like the people do not have a voice and choice. It occurred to me that at this point I, if I were a registered sex offender, would sue all the cities that do not immediately initiate the repeal process based on the court decision. So fast your head would spin! I am almost certain some ambulance chaser could be found to take the cases on the promise of attorney fees alone. Hellooooo Mission Viejo! How about that dog park battle last night? I guess we'll see what happens tonight...
Bong Sativa December 04, 2012 at 10:23 PM
Unfortunately most elections are nothing more than well bankrolled popularity contests ! Under California law the mentally incompetent can be barred from voting,but not from running for office ! Go figure !! Let's compromise with the sex offenders & lower the age of consent to fourteen with a note from legal guardian !
John Cargill December 05, 2012 at 01:27 AM
You people have absolutely no clue of the pandora's box you will open by allowing sex offenders even one iota of ground gained. For now, you intend to lift this ban. Ultimately, the argument will be something like, 'You let me be I'm the park, and now it's my inalienable right to photograph some flora and fauna, and yes, some children.' What next, sitting next to a vulnerable child with innocent intentions? This is not a legal battle at its core; it is a moral one.
Andromeda December 05, 2012 at 06:39 AM
Wow! What a clown circus that Council meeting was tonight. Rudolph got into it with DA Rackaukas and basically told him to pound sand. heh. All of them are running scared of the lawsuits filed by the sex offenders now. The Council idiots should have thought of that a year ago when they approved the park ban. I assume the City Attorney must have graduated in the lower half of his law school class. DA Rackaukas convinced them to swallow the bait a year ago and now they're in doo-doo up to their necks and fighting with the guy who conned them in the first place!!! HAH! I can't make this stuff up, folks. Go watch the video for yourselves! It's a hoot. Much more entertainment value than American Idol. I promise!!! I was in tears! :^)
Honest Truth December 05, 2012 at 06:54 AM
For sure (it was actually Mayor Kathryn McCullough who got into it with the DA). I was embarrassed by Mayor McCullough's behavior!
Andromeda December 05, 2012 at 07:07 AM
Thanks for the correction. I get those 2 mixed up all the time. I think McCullough did a fantastic job standing up to Rackaukas tonight. Good for her. But it was about a year too late. Her question whether Rackaukas would indemnify the city for any City taxpayer money used to fight the lawsuits was a very appropriate question. Lake Forest already spend upwards of a million dollars to defend Rackaukas' pet project to rid medical marijuana dispensaries from Orange County cities. Now does he want us to spend another million on his park ban nonsense? I guess he thinks money grows on trees in South County. As long as he doesn't have to foot the bill for us it's fine. But he acts insulted when McCullough asked him to reimburse the City for costs needed to defend his pet project #2? What a reasonable guy, eh???? Go take a hike, Tony!
Frank Mockery December 05, 2012 at 08:04 PM
If Lake Forest had received competent legal advise they wouldn't have squandered a million dollars in their illegal effort to shutter legal medical marijuana dispensaries ! It's time to fire the City Attorney,charge every member of the City Council with criminal malfeasance in office & see how much of the taxpayer's million dollars can be recouped from the cities bonding company & these inept politicians personally ! At least sex offenders don't brag & pat themselves on the back for defying state law at the taxpayers expense ! To say Lake Forest's elected leaders are absolutely worthless is certainly an understatement as once again they've been exposed as the callous & clueless political posers that they obviously are ! Remember that cannabis patients are the "good guys" who are in compliance with state law & the council members are the "bad guys" who refuse to abide by state law or the Appellate Court decisions which have refuted their specious legal reasoning ! These self-righteous simpletons know no shame & even less about the law & medical marijuana ! When the medical marijuana dispensaries return to Lake Forest (and make no mistake,they'll be returning shortly) the torch bearing taxpayer's will form a large mob at City Hall & drive these smug & pious cretins out of town (although my personal preference would be a public lynching) ! Lastly let's not overlook their supporters on the Chamber of Commerce who bankroll their campaigns & have always been their co-conspirators !
Frank Mockery December 06, 2012 at 03:02 AM
Sex offenders are sick,twisted & morally bankrupt individuals with no redeeming value whatsoever,so welcome back to the park & please behave yourselves !!! "Thank Heaven for little girls" - Maurice Chevalier

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