Back to the Drawing Board: Supervisors decline to repeal ordinance

The Riverside County Board of Supervisors has declined to repeal Ordinance 902 that regulates where sex offenders can live or visit. They instead directed county counsel to bring an alternative retaining parts of the ordinance that are still legal under state law to next Tuesday’s meeting. The move comes following the July 2 meeting where, on the recommendation of legal counsel, the board was poised to repeal the entire ordinance following Appeals Court rulings on similar ordinances in nearby areas as unconstitutional.

Supervisor Jeff Stone said that last week he did not support repealing the ordinance because he felt there were many parts of the ordinance that could be upheld.

“That’s why we are here today, to only repeal those portions that the law says are completely illegal,” he said. “The other provisions are being challenged now at the California Supreme Court. But it is my position and I hope your position that we want to keep the laws as strict as we can until we are told otherwise by the California Supreme Court to protect ourselves from the predators.”

Stone registered a “No” vote during the previous meeting, making a political statement regarding the issue. Upon further review, under the direction of Stone, the board decided to leave the residency restrictions in place while removing the loitering components that are now considered to be unconstitutional.

“I voted against that because I felt there were provisions in our existing ordinance that needed to remain,” Stone said. “Those were basically the residency restrictions which I believe are the most important component of the ordinance. The loitering restrictions are deleted in response to the two lawsuits that have been successful in the cities of Irvine and Orange and so we have been threatened by the same proponents that if we do not comply with state law…then we will be sued and by all accounts we will lose.”

Stone proposed an alternate motion asking county counsel to bring a reintroduction of Ordinance 902.2 repealing only the loitering provisions that have been successfully challenged in other court venues and retaining the residency restrictions to the July 22 meeting.

The motion, seconded by Supervisor Kevin Jefferies passed and will be reconsidered reflecting proposed changes at the next meeting.

Supervisors also approved the use of Community Improvement funds to benefit several area organizations, including a $1,000 award to Murrieta Mesa Music Boosters to allow students an opportunity to compete at the Marching Band Open Series at Silverado high School in Las Vegas; $5,000 to Community Food Pantry of Murrieta to purchase emergency food, personal hygiene products, diapers and gas cards allowing clients to get to and from the pantry and medical appointments; $2,500 to Manzanita Ranch to bring a five day display of the Vietnam Memorial “The Moving Wall” to Temecula in October; $3,500 to Single Mothers United in Fellowship for gas cards for mothers who are in financial stress and need to get to work, medical appointments or job searches; and $2,000 to the Temecula Valley Rose Society for stairs and handrails in the steep areas of the garden.

Temecula Murrieta, Community Pantry will receive $5,000 to provide emergency food and personal hygiene products for families and Hospice of the Valleys will receive $2,500 for medications, equipment and bereavement services for families with no insurance coverage.

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