A town hall-style meeting has been arranged by the Madera Police Department to discuss upcoming propositions that will appear on Madera voters’ ballots in next month’s elections.
The meeting, which will be in the Madera High School cafeteria at 6 p.m. Tuesday, will also be a chance for those in attendance to ask about ballot initiatives, and to bring up concerns of their own regarding issues in the community.
One of the main measures to be discussed is Proposition 57, which would give an early release to people serving what the state considers to be non-violent offenses. Madera Police Chief Steve Frazier, who is against the initiative, has said it will let dangerous criminals back on Madera’s streets. He also compared it to Proposition 47, which he said had an adverse effect on law enforcement.
“We had reinstituted a philosophy in 2013, and in 2014, we saw crime drop 25 percent across the board,” Frazier said, “and we attribute that to the partnerships we are making.
“And then at the end of 2014, we got Prop. 47, and everything went out the window, including the baby,” Frazier said. “It just has decimated, I think, individuals, and I say that because our public intoxications, our under-the-influences, have skyrocketed. And not just under the influence, but under the influence to the point where it creates a psychosis, so that people are out of their minds, and we respond, to probably no less than four to five of those a week.”
According to Frazier, propositions, as they are described in the ballots, can be worded in a manipulative manner, but leave out important details.
Frazier said he hopes to inform Maderans on the initiatives in their fullness.
“Prop 47, for instance, ‘safe route to school, safe neighborhoods and schools,’ and who wouldn’t vote for that? But the reality was that it reduced felonies to misdemeanors, it raised the dollar threshold on petty thefts and grand thefts, it really, really had a negative effect,” Frazier said. “We just want to sit down and say, ‘there are a few propositions that will impact your police department,’ and get people information for them to make a decision when it comes time to mark their ballot on Nov. 8.”
Madera County District Attorney David A. Linn, another outspoken opponent of Proposition 57, will attend the meeting as well.
The Madera Police will discuss several other initiatives:
• Measure K, which would implement a half-cent sales tax, and enable the adding of 13 new officers for the police, and a new station, engine, and personnel for the fire department;
• Proposition 63, which would implement background checks for ammunition, and ban high-capacity magazines;
• Proposition 64, which would allow for the legalization of recreational marijuana;
• Proposition 66, which would reform the death penalty in California; and
• Proposition 62, which would abolish capital punishment in the state.
“We try and identify things that are relevant, that people want to hear, that people maybe want to know about,” Frazier said. “We’re not saying that we know all the ins and outs of everything, but we want to give them our two cents’ worth, and I’m not asking people how to vote — I’m just asking them how to hear some things to look out for.”