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Community Safety Measure Gains Momentum with 900,000 Signatures for November Ballot

Californians for Safer Communities Coalition announced Thursday in Culver City it will submit over 900,000 voter signatures to qualify the Homelessness, Drug Addiction, and Theft Reduction Act for the November general election ballot.

Small business owners, fentanyl victims, social justice leaders, community organizations and elected officials held press conferences across the state Thursday to announce the signature turn-in. To qualify the measure for the November ballot, the law requires 546,651 valid signatures.

"Today, I stand with the National Action Network to address a cry for change that echoes through the 900,000 voters who signed the petition," said Rev. Jonathan Mosely of the L.A.-based National Action Network.

"The Homelessness, Drug Addiction, and Theft Reduction Act is our path toward not just restoring order but restoring hope and dignity to those caught in the cycle of crime. In supporting this initiative, we are fighting for a future where every Californian can live in a community that is safe, just and ripe with opportunity."

The Prop. 47-related bipartisan measure is focused on improving safety in every community and neighborhood in California, the coalition said.

The initiative focuses on accountability measures for repeat offenders of theft and drug traffickers of drugs like fentanyl, while incentivizing and encouraging more individuals to participate in and complete drug treatment programs, according to the group, which said the measure creates a deterrent for repeat offenders and redirects addicts towards treatment rather than incarceration.

Passed in 2014, Prop. 47 achieved success in making California's criminal justice system more equitable. However, according to the coalition, it led to unintended consequences over the past decade -- repeat and often organized retail theft, inner-city store closings and difficulty convincing people to seek drug and mental health treatment.

"It is time for meaningful reforms to our justice system, including to Prop. 47, that ensure our communities are safe," Californians for Safer Communities said in a release.

According to the coalition, the proposed ballot measure will:

-- Hold those who are committing repeated retail theft and fentanyl sales crimes accountable, for the safety and health of our communities;

-- Create accountability for repeat smash-and-grab offenders who are driving up costs for all Californians and chasing retailers out of state; and

-- Bring back incentives and accountability that are needed for individuals to get into necessary drug treatment and job training programs -- helping them begin new lives. People arrested multiple times for hard drug use currently have no incentive to choose treatment with no consequences, the group said.


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