NO on Proposition 6

WHAT IT WOULD DO: Increase state police and law-enforcement funding to a minimum of $965 million per year in 2009-10 — an increase of $365 million — in order to implement and enforce 30 revisions to California criminal law.

As a quick run-through of our country’s self-destructive history in law enforcement could easily inform us, cuffing every last petty criminal with a 10-sack doesn’t exactly kill the problem at its roots; instead, police-force and prison bills skyrocket while the moneymakers at the top of the crime circuit continue to roam free. Proposition 6 belligerently and haphazardly pushes for “safer neighborhoods” by calling for stricter penalties on small-time, street-level crime like gang activity, drug use, the bearing of arms and auto theft. The measure doesn’t well mask its mission to lock up the little (and colored) guys, targeting California’s most underprivileged by increasing punishment for minors, eliminating bail for illegal aliens and requiring criminal background checks from those in subsidized housing.

Instead of pouring money into stricter punishment, which has a ridiculously poor record of making anyone change their ways — a more common reaction is a teardrop tattoo and renewed hatred for the po’ — our money would be far more productively spent on improving living conditions and rehabilitation resources in areas of high crime (not to mention health care and education, if we’re really talking shop here).

Handing out wads of cash and responsibility to state cops is a shallow and shortsighted solution to the viscous cycle that pushes so many inner-city youth to the wrong side of the law. Vote no on Proposition 6.