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Lawmakers seek anti-gang initiative

Posted: March 19, 2008 12:52 a.m.
Updated: May 20, 2008 5:02 a.m.
California Sen. George Runner and Assemblywoman Sharon Runner made an appearance at the Westfield Valencia Town Center on Tuesday to gather signatures in the Santa Clarita Valley for a gang initiative to be placed on the Nov. 2008 General Election ballot.

Entitled "The Safe Neighborhoods Act: Stop Gang, Gun and Street Crime," the proposed voter initiative is a comprehensive measure aimed at providing additional funding for law enforcement and increasing punishment for gang and street criminals. To qualify the initiative for the election on Nov. 4, the Runners must gather 433,271 signatures by April 21, 2008.

"Unfortunately, California lacks a comprehensive plan to control gangs and prevent our most at-risk teenagers and young adults from joining into criminal ranks," said Sen. George Runner, R-Antelope Valley.
"This initiative will help change that."

Under the proposed initiative, penalties would be increased for adults who recruit minors into gangs; methamphetamine users and dealers would be punished in the same way as cocaine users and dealers; a 10-year penalty would be added for dangerous felons who carry loaded or concealed firearms in public; bail would be denied to illegal aliens who commit violent felonies; and funding redirected for police, sheriff and other law enforcement agencies to increase public safety.

As of Tuesday's signature-gathering drive just outside the food court at the Valencia Town Center, Sen. Runner said, more than 250,000 signatures were gathered.

"We're on schedule to get enough signatures," he said.


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