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Faulconer Takes On Gov. Brown's Parole Initiative

San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer speaks to his supporters at the U.S. Grant Hotel, June 7, 2016. Faulconer won his re-election campaign.
Nancee Lewis
San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer speaks to his supporters at the U.S. Grant Hotel, June 7, 2016. Faulconer won his re-election campaign.

Faulconer Takes On Gov. Brown's Parole Initiative
Faulconer Takes On Gov. Brown's Parole Initiative GUEST:Andrew Bowen, metro reporter, KPBS News

This is KBS -- KPBS Midday Edition I am Maureen Cavanaugh. It is Wednesday, July 13. Our top story San Diego Mayor Kevin -- Kevin Faulconer step forward as a main opponent of Proposition 57. Every victim of a crime deserves to see their assailant served time behind bars. We are here because California deserves better and cities across California deserve better. Better than a missed leading measure that is headed toward the November ballot. The measure is supported by Jerry Brown and would make nonviolent felons eligible for parole earlier than they are now. Political watchman said this opposition will give Kevin Faulconer a platform as a when of California's most prominent Republican politicians. Joining me is Andrew Bowen. What were the main reasons that Kevin Faulconer said he is taking the stand against Proposition 57 ? He said that everyone agrees that finding ways to rehabilitate criminals and encourage that rebuild Tatian is honorable and something that we should be doing. This measure simply doesn't do it or there are too many flaws to make it better for California. He said that given the chance for early parole could re-victimized the victims of some of the crimes. He said that Californians would be surprised to know what some crimes are actually considered nonviolent. Things like he mentioned human trafficking, burglary I believe is another when that could be technically considered a nonviolent crime undercovered a lot. He basically said it is misleading. Who was also at this news conference. There was desert attorneys for better and Merced counties and also the president of the District attorneys Association Steve Wagstaffe. I think the most striking person was Mark laughs. He is the father of the kidnapping rape and murder victim Polly Klaas. He has become a outspoken opponent of the rights of victims of crimes. You said two district attorneys were there, but not send it was district attorney body tremendous? She actually supports proposition 57 and that's also because of something else that the speakers at the press conference did not address and that is giving the authority to prosecute juveniles as adults switching the authority from prosecutors and DAs over to judges. They said that is not what of their main concerns but that is something that California needs. So here and send it to we have a Mayor was taken a stand against this issue and the county's chief law enforcement officer that supports it. That is a curious situation. I suppose it is. Politically this -- is this an interesting move for Kevin Faulconer They have said that he once ran for governor for California in 2018. He said he does not want to but he's like this only landmark credibility to that speculation. It would give him a chance to go around the state and increases profile and meets with more donors to conserve causes. He is the mayor of the second largest city in the state. He has not in law enforcement and when you have a list of proponents or opponents and to a certain measure and they are all from police or prosecutors I think that somebody who might favored this more rehabilitation focused approach to reducing crime might be skeptical of it but having a politician it does sort of land were diversity to the voices in opposition to this pop -- Is Kevin Faulconer intended to become the face of opposition now for Prop 57? That is unclear. Is certainly is possible. I asked him what of this aids if he had any money left over from his reelection campaign and if he would plan on using some of that money to fund the opposition to Prop 57. They said that a decision had not been made. I have been speaking with Andrew Bowen. Thank you very much.

Faulconer Takes On Gov. Brown’s Parole Initiative
San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer is going to lead the effort to defeat in the fall Proposition 57, a measure Gov. Jerry Brown proposed that would allow early parole for some non-violent felons.

Opponents of Gov. Jerry Brown’s November initiative that would make some felons eligible for early parole have a new weapon in their fight: San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer.

Faulconer, a Republican, announced Wednesday that he will lead the effort to defeat Proposition 57, which many in law enforcement oppose.

Brown, a Democrat, proposed the measure in January. It would would allow for the early release of prison inmates convicted of certain nonviolent crimes.

Such inmates would be given parole consideration after completing the prison term for their primary offense, or the crime that carries the longest punishment. That could lead to earlier releases for offenders sentenced for multiple crimes, according to opponents of the measure.

Proposition 57 also would require juvenile court judges, rather than prosecutors, to decide if minors accused of crimes should be tried in adult court.

San Diego County District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis, a Republican, said in January she supported Brown’s efforts. She told KPBS at the time, "This initiative is intended to finish that process of getting as many people who aren't violent people out of prison.”

Opponents say the measure will lead to an increase in crime with thousands of felons who have committed crimes such as burglaries and other offenses becoming eligible for early parole.

"We're here because every family deserves to feel safe in their homes, and every person deserves to feel confident that they can walk down the street at night," Faulconer said at a news conference outside the San Diego police headquarters. "And every victim of a crime deserves to see their assailant serve time behind bars."

Supporters of Proposition 57 say the ballot measure will save money by reducing prison spending, prevent federal courts from indiscriminately releasing prisoners because of overcrowding and place an emphasis on rehabilitation, especially for juveniles.

Faulconer called prisoner rehabilitation "a goal that is worthy and worth pursuing."

"But instead of rehabilitating criminals, we believe it will re-victimize Californians who will see their attackers released from prison," the mayor said. "It directly undermines the California Bill of Rights, (which was) overwhelmingly enacted by the voters of California ... based in the concept that crime victims should be able to reasonably expect criminals to serve their full sentences."

He said the measure also could discourage victims from reporting crimes, due to fear of early release and further victimization.

Faulconer easily won re-election as mayor in June, avoiding a runoff in November. He has been mentioned as a future gubernatorial candidate, but he has said he does not intend to run for governor.

Also at Wednesday’s news conference were Marc Klaas, a victims rights advocate; Steve Wagstaffe, president of the California District Attorney Association; Greg Totten, Ventura County district attorney; and Larry Morse, Merced County district attorney.