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Proposition 6: “Safe Neighborhoods Act” May Do The Opposite, Opponents Say

October 24, 2008

Sacrament, CA - California voters will decide this election day whether to increase penalties for drug- and gang-related crimes. Proposition 6, known as the Safe Neighborhoods Act, is expected to cost $500 million a year to implement criminal justice programs and build new prisons. Opponents argue the measure would actually cause neighborhoods to be less safe and drain money from other state programs.

Victoria Kupu, a Bay Area high school student, is against Prop 6; she worries that because of its cost, extra-curricular activities could be cut at her school, leading to more problems.

"If you're going to take this away from us, then we're going to have nothing else to do after school, and then that's sometimes when people get in trouble. It's just contributing to the problem."

Kupu at 15 is too young to vote, but not too young to take action.

"Proposition 6 is affecting teens, but some of us aren't old enough to vote. If we can't be active in voting, we should be active in our community and try to change it."

Kupu will lead a march and rally today to San Francisco City Hall, where she hopes to inspire other teens to become involved.

Opponents argue Prop 6 will worsen the state budget crunch by pulling money from other necessary programs such as education. They report California already spends more than five times more per prisoner than per public school student. The co-author of the initiative, Senator George Runner, defends Prop 6, saying it would put more officers on the streets and would account for less than one percent of the overall state budget.


Lori Abbott/Elizabeth Grattan, Public News Service - CA