Leno Demands Governor Apologize to Democrats for calling them soft on Crime.

Yesterday, Assemblyman Mark Leno (D- San Francisco) had the nerve to be upset over Governor Schwarzenegger’s comments that Republicans are more interested in public safety issues than Democrats.

“(Leno) called Schwarzenegger’s proposals ‘not thoughtful,’ estimated that they could cost at least $500 million a year and said Schwarzenegger ‘owes every Democrat an apology’ for suggesting they’re less interested in public safety than Republicans.” (Sacramento Bee, August 17, 2005)

However, a closer look at his record suggests that it is actually Mr. Leno who should be apologizing to victims of crime and their families for his outrageous pursuit of greater rights for criminals and weaker sentences.

While helping pass such “tough on crime” proposals as condoms for convicts (AB 1677) and weaker penalties for crack cocaine (AB 125), Leno, as Chair of the Assembly Public Safety Committee, killed several victims’ rights bills including:

  • AB 35 (Spitzer), which would have expanded the information on the Megan’s Law website to include home addresses, business addresses and vehicle information of all serious sex offenders.

  • AB 221 (Bogh), which would have denied early release credits to inmates who have committed violent sex offenses.

  • AB 335 (Walters), which would have required judges to consider child molestation a serious offense for purposes of determining bail and would have required child molesters granted release on bail or their own recognizance to be placed on an electronic monitoring device while in the community.

  • AB 1109 (S. Horton), which would have allowed additional time for public comment about the placement of a sexually violent predator in the Department of Mental Health’s conditional release program.

Mr. Leno is often one of a handful of legislators who continue to fight against strong public safety legislation, even after the bills clear his committee.

  • Mr. Leno was the only member of the committee to vote against SB 33 (Battin), which would close current loopholes in the treatment of child molesters who prey on family members. This bill nonetheless was approved over his opposition.
  • Mr. Leno was one of only three members of the Assembly to vote against AB 677 (Parra), which would make solicitation to commit murder a serious felony. This bill was approved by the full Assembly, but later was defeated in the Senate Public Safety Committee.

But Mr. Leno’s well-deserved reputation as a “tough on crime” leader did not begin when the sign company owner was appointed to chair the Public Safety Committee. In fact, his crime-fighting days go back to his tenure on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.

  • Responding to a proposal to install anti-pornography filters on the computers in public libraries in San Francisco, Mr. Leno stated that “this is a First Amendment right. Our country is built on the concept of free speech.” (ABC World News Tonight, April 4, 2002)

  • Challenging a sting of Internet sexual predators by San Francisco police officers, Mr. Leno argued that “this is a waste of taxpayers’ money, it is completely mean-spirited.” (Sacramento Bee, September 26, 1999)

Isn’t it ironic that Mr. Leno, who almost always supports out-of-control government spending and making it easier for politicians to raise taxes on working families, becomes a fiscal conservative when it comes to spending money on protecting women and children.

But all is not lost! Mr. Leno and the rest of the Democrats will have a chance to prove the Governor wrong, when the Legislature considers Jessica’s Law.

He will have the chance to help give law enforcement the tools they need to keep our families safe from dangerous criminals.

But don’t expect these “Girlie Men” to come through. ……(Governor’s words not mine!)

(Hat-tip to Assembly Republican Staffers for the talking points!)

Craig DeLuz

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