Monday, April 17, 2006

Council Tells Kennedy And Adams To Do Their Homework Next Time

Indianapolis City-County Council Sends Ordinance To Keep Sex Offenders Out of Parks Back To Committee
Indianapolis city-county councilor Mary Moriarty Adams and Marion Co. Democratic prosecutor candidate Melina Kennedy were left a bit red-faced tonight when the city-county council tabled action on their proposed ordinance to keep registered sex offenders out of the city's parks and sent it back to committee for more work. Under their proposal, anyone registered as a sexually violent predator on the Indiana State Sex Offender Registry would be required to stay at least 1,000 feet from a public playground, recreation center, swimming pool, beach or sports facility when children are present. The ordinance imposed escalating civil penalty fines for violators of $300, $500 or $2,500 to existing criminal penalties for violations.

As popular as it sounds to crack down on sex offenders, it seems some council members were more concerned about the practicalities of enforcing the proposal. WISH-TV reported that council members were concerned about how the city's park rangers were suppose to go about tracking down sex offenders in the parks and writing them citations. Adams suggested that the park rangers could simply go to the state's sex offender registry site to familiarize themselves with the identity of the persons listed there (it's just a few thousand people), but other council members wisely thought that park rangers should be making better use of their time.

Other council members pointed out a glaring loophole in the proposal that allowed a sex offender to avoid the civil penalty for being in a park by simply making sure they are accompanied by another adult who is not on the sex offender list--or as some council members put it, a person who hasn't been caught yet.

Other council members wondered whether the ordinance was even necessary in light of a new state law which prohibits a sexually violent predator from working or volunteering on school property or at a public park or youth program, and further prohibits sex offenders from residing within 1, 000 feet of a school, public park, or youth center, or within a mile of their victim’s home. A sex offender who violates the new state law commits a Class D felony.

Republican city-county councilor Lincoln Plowman tells the Star, "It's easy to jump on the bandwagon and say you're against sex offenders. But this proposal in my opinion doesn't have any teeth." Two Democrats joined Republican council members in voting to send the proposed ordinance back to committee.

So the moral to the story for Ms. Adams and Ms. Kennedy is to do your homework next time before you decide to legislate with your press releases. It may look and sound good to the cameras and give your campaigns highly desirable earned media coverage, but it's a complete waste of our limited taxpayer dollars.

15 comments:

Brody Murphy said...

So, Advance Indiana is going to go on the record with the City-County Council as being FOR child molestors and rapists? Kiddie porn in the classrooms, sounds like a good public policy stance. Plowman's arguement doesn't make a whole lot of sense either -- if the ordinance would keep ONE child safer, enact it, enact it yesterday. What he doesn't seem to understand is that the law must be narrowly tailored to prevent the loony left from striking it down. Go on the record with child molesters. Protect children, or protect pedophilles...

Advance Indiana said...

Nice try Brody--but it just doesn't play. It's no different than Mayor Peterson's silly ploy to crack down on violent video games. It made some good press for him at the time, but $750,000 dollars later, the law was struck down by the Supreme Court. You obviously haven't bothered to read the new state law--if you had, you would know there is absolutely no reason for this ordinance.

Anonymous said...

Once again, Gary Welsh: On the side of sex offenders. Sorry moms, dads, and young kids, but Gary has an agenda to push.

Advance Indiana said...

No--it's called being on the side of reason.

Anonymous said...

No Gary--it's called being on the side of child molesters.

Brody Murphy said...

Gary, you say its on the side of reason, and despite the snarky comments of another, I will accept the premise.

Then, isn't it REASONABLE to protect our children. I don't care if the law is hard to enforce or not wholly effective (what law is), if ONE child is protected, is it not a good law? As for reading the state law, I would assume you have a problem with that, according to your replies, it does the same thing as the ordinace would, and you're agianst that.

Crime is threatening our city and our children. This is one small step that we can take to protect them. Make our children safer, not the pedophiles more comfortable...

Advance Indiana said...

It is totally reasonable to protect our children, but that involves parental responsibility. I think it is reprehensible that so many parents turn young kids loose to play in a park without any supervision, or leave them locked up in a hot car in the summer while they go shopping. If a parent is doing their parenting properly, there kids would know not to allow themselves to be taken in by strangers. Kids often become the victims of child molesters because they aren't receiving any attention from their parents, and they are impressed by an adult paying so much attention to them. Fixing this problems begins at home.

As to reasonableness, how else could you enforce this ordinance other than to have park rangers stop any "suspicious-looking" person, ask to see their i.d., and then cross-reference it with the sex offender registry list to first determine if the person is listed and, second, determine if the person was convicted of one of the offenses covered by the ordinance (not all registered offenders are subject to the proposed ordinance). I think it is absurd to expect or want park rangers to spend all their time stopping and interrogating anyone who looks suspicious. You or I may look suspicious after sitting down on a park bench for a rest after taking a run.

Also, why is is that only sex offenders are being singled out? Does a convicted drug dealer not pose a risk to children in our parks. Might a drug dealer entice a young person to "pony" drugs for him for cash, or offer drugs to teen-aged kids. Does a convicted rapist not pose a similar risk to your daughter?

Then we get into the attendant constitutional issues with this type of law--others have been struck down as unconstitutional. So are we going to enact another unconstitutional ordinance like the Mayor's violent video games ordinance and waste taxpayers' money defending a law the courts won't accept?

Anonymous said...

Ah, so Gary is now saying that when kids are molested its the parents fault.

Brody Murphy said...

Gary-

Honestly, you think that the only children who are victims of molestation are the ones whose parents are irresponsible. Again, please make that argument, "child molesters aren't responsible, its the parents' fault..." Go ahead...

Advance Indiana said...

Look--I don't think either of you are interested in an intelligent discussion of the facts concerning this proposal--but for the benefit of the many other intelligent readers of this blog, let's take a look at these facts.

This ordinance targets the occasions when children are molested by strangers. Only 11% of child victims are molested by a stranger; 89% are molested by someone known to the child. Of those molested by someone known to the child, 29% are committed by another family member, while 60% are acquaintances, such as a caretaker, a family friend or your local priest. 75% of the reported cases of child molestation take place in either the victim's home or the perpetrator's home (which is typically someone known to the child, such as a family member or friend).

It is hard for parents to protect their children from people close to them who you would never suspect of doing something so awful to their children. But in the case of strangers, good parenting can go a long way towards reducing these cases.

If you care to look at the statistics, go to http://www.yellodyno.com/html/child_molester_stats.html

Brody Murphy said...

"But in the case of strangers, good parenting can go a long way towards reducing these cases."

And good prosecution with effective policies can go further. I don't want to "reduce these cases" I want to eliminate them, and string the pedophiles up by their toenails. Protecting our children, hell, protecting one child, is a worthy cause. The loony left is wrong on this one. Protect a child = good. Argue about protecting a child = weak-ass academic liberalism.

Advance Indiana said...

Andy (or excuse me Brody), if that's the justice system you support, then you should move to Iran. I doubt your boss, the politician, shares your views.

Brody Murphy said...

Gary-

My boss isn't Melina Kennedy, and I'm not "Andy" or whomever you are alluding to. In fact, if anything, I think Ms. Kennedy's proposal is a bit weak (as did the City-County Council), but I do feel that even a little bit of protection is worth a great deal of effort. Additionally, I'm afraid that we have become a society so dependent on criminals' rights that the watered down proposal might be the best we can do, but we SHOULD still do it...

Brody Murphy (no relation to Mike Murphy, or the new right-wing blog in town, just a sad coincidence...)

Anonymous said...

Gary
Are you some kind of partisan republican? I have to say I thought you were not overly political on one side until recently you have made it clear in your headlines that you take aim at democrat candidates but dont seem to with republicans -especially in this prosecutors race.

Im not crazy about this proposal in the first place. But it seems like some restrictions put in the ordinance to make it more likely to be legal are now the subject of a "tough" contest led by the republicans to say the proposal needs to be tougher. You jump on the bandwagon and seem to agree by saying that it hasnt been well thought through. Let's give up this game of whose so tough and be wise about how the ordinance is drafted so that it is actually legal. The republicans should be criticized for irresponsibly trying to promote something that is said to be not legal.

Advance Indiana said...

If you don't think AI's been critical of Republicans, you haven't been reading this blog. At this point, this particularly ordinance is a Democratic proposal offered by Kennedy and Adams. If Republicans sign on to an even worse version of this ordinance, AI will be the first to criticize them. The ICLU is already on the record questioning its constitutionality. It has successfully challenged these ordinances in other communities. It is just more legislating by press release. It will do absolutely nothing to stop sex offenders, and it will cost taxpayers money to defend a legal challenge it cannot withstand. The sponsors are counting on an ignorant public to think--"hey look, that Kennedy wants to get tough on child molesters--I'm all for that--maybe I should vote for her."