Yet another new law to turn all of California into San Francisco was passed by the California Legislature and signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom last fall. This one legalizes jaywalking, effective January 1, 2023.
While this might not sound earth shattering, proponents of AB 2147 claim this change is necessary because punishing jaywalkers is racist, since in Los Angeles, Black people were 31% of the people stopped by the Los Angeles Police Department for jaywalking between 2018 to 2020.
The real motive behind AB 2147 is much more insidious – it’s all part of the push to get people out of cars and and onto public transit or bicycles, and living and working in a city, rather than commuting from a suburb to a city for work.
Joel Pollak at Breitbart summarized the change:
This law, called the “Freedom to Walk Act,” presumes that jaywalking is a racist crime because it is supposedly enforced unevenly — by the nation’s most left-wing state — in “communities of color” where people supposedly cannot afford to pay the fines. The law prevents police from stopping people who are crossing the street illegally unless they are in danger.
The Los Angeles Times editorial board claims “if walkers sometimes jaywalk to reach their destination, that’s a design flaw rather than a human flaw.”
They say “It can be far more dangerous to cross the street at an intersection, where drivers routinely turn into the crosswalk without regard to pedestrians or the walk signal. In some cases, it’s safer to cross mid-block during a gap in traffic. Yet the law ignores the simple personal calculations pedestrians are constantly forced to make. What feels safer? What’s convenient? Do I really need to walk a quarter-mile to a crosswalk just to get to the store directly across the street from me? Can I dash across lanes and catch my bus to avoid waiting another 30 minutes for the next one?”
Everybody is a victim in California, according to the leftist media and Democrat-dominated Legislature.
Anyone who has walked on the streets of San Francisco knows there is safety in numbers. Crossing the street, even on a green light, is challenging, but this is not because of racism – it’s because of the heavy auto traffic and equally heavy pedestrian traffic, frustrating both groups.
Heavy pedestrian traffic and heavy auto traffic is is much the same in Chicago, as it is Boston, Philadelphia, New York City, Dallas, San Diego and Los Angeles. It’s a big city issue where people live and work on top of each other.
Why have cities spent millions making crosswalks across the state more safe, with better lighting, brighter, more defined lines and striping, louder crossing counters, only to make crosswalks largely irrelevant if jaywalking is legal?
California State Sheriff’s Association, City of Thousand Oaks, and California District Attorneys Association opposed the bill, “arguing that repealing the jaywalking law will create confusion for drivers and pedestrians about safe roadway use, and it could lead to more pedestrian deaths. It’s true that pedestrian fatalities have been on the rise for the last decade.”
The LA Times editorial board says big cities prioritize cars over people, and “that means pedestrians are more likely to jaywalk and more likely to face the nearly $200 fine for a jaywalking ticket.”
While the Los Angeles Times editorial board admits, “pedestrian fatalities have been on the rise for the last decade,” they fail to say by how much. “While pedestrian deaths have risen by 54% over the past decade, all other traffic deaths have increased by 13%,” the Governors Highway Safety Association reported in May.
It is patently ridiculous to legalize jaywalking when pedestrian fatalities are up by 54%. The real issue is the lack of traffic law enforcement. Police departments report significant officer shortages, impacting the ability to patrol traffic, thanks to the “defund the police” movement and radicalized local elected officials buying into this by cutting police department funding.
Sacramento City Council is one example. In 2020, the Sacramento City Council voted unanimously to pass a “public safety” resolution intended to officially redefine public safety — Sacramento Police Department, Sacramento Fire Department, and Emergency Medical Teams — to include what the city calls “youth-prevention services” such as arts programs and health food programs, and other “community outreach programs,” the Globe reported.
The City Council funded this by taking millions of dollars from the Sacramento Police Department budget – known as defunding the police. The more the City Council whittles away from SacPD funding and resources can only inevitably lead to more of Sacramento becoming a “no-go zone,” as the crime statistics prove.
The Tehama County Sheriff’s Office announced in November that all daytime patrols would be cut in the county beginning November 20th, due to a major staffing shortage, leaving the County without a major law enforcement presence during the day, the Globe reported.
This trend is dangerous, as the increase in pedestrian deaths shows. Yet rather than increase public safety policing, California Democrats just changed the law decriminalizing yet another public safety measure.
Proposition 47 and Proposition 57 decriminalized many laws. Proposition 47 (2014) downgraded many felonies to misdemeanors; Proposition 57 (2016) reduced prison sentences and reclassified violent crimes as “non-violent,” and in 2011, Assembly Bill 109, Gov. Jerry Brown’s “prison realignment” scheme, shifted detainees from state prisons to local jails, overwhelming county jails. These have been a disaster for public safety, taking away the tools courts need to rehabilitate drug offenders, opening the door for rampant retail theft, and reclassifying violent crimes as “non-violent.”
If the radical “defund the police” movement can’t actually defund police departments to get rid of police as they desire, they are instead systematically decriminalizing important public safety laws such as jaywalking; reclassifying drug possession offenses, reclassifying shoplifting, grand theft, vehicular theft, receiving stolen property, forgery, fraud, writing bad checks; granting early release to ‘non-violent’ offenders: sex traffickers, rapists, abusive spouses and drive-by shooters.
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