|For Immediate Release
||Susan Kang Schroeder
Chief of Staff
HUNTINGTON BEACH AMENDS LAW TO KEEP REGISTERED SEX OFFENDERS OUT OF CITY PARKS AND PLAYGROUNDS
SANTA ANA – The City of Huntington Beach voted yesterday to keep a City Ordinance that designates city parks and playgrounds as child safety zones to protect children from registered sex offenders. The previous City Ordinance, which was passed on Nov. 7, 2011, was amended yesterday and will give the Huntington Beach Police Chief Kenneth Small discretion to allow exemptions for registered sex offenders to enter city parks and playgrounds.
Mayor Connie Boardman, Mayor pro tem Matthew Harper, and Council Members Joe Carchio, Jim Katapodis, and Joe Shaw voted to amend the City Ordinance. Council Member Dave Sullivan voted against the amendment, and Council Member Jill Hardy was not present. The City Ordinance was approved for introduction and will be put on the Feb. 4, 2013, agenda for adoption. The amended Ordinance becomes effective 30 days after the adoption, March 6, 2013.
Orange County District Attorney’s Office Chief of Staff Susan Kang Schroeder was present at the City Council meeting to address public concerns and advocate for the Ordinance.
“I would like to thank the Huntington Beach City Council for continuing to make children’s safety a priority,” stated District Attorney Tony Rackauckas. “This is a long-term battle against sex offenders and we must use every tool to fight these predators, including legislation.”
The previous Huntington Beach City Ordinance was modeled after the County Ordinance, which was passed unanimously by the Orange County Board of Supervisors April 5, 2011, and took effect May 5, 2011, to create a child safety zone to further protect children from registered sex offenders in County parks and harbors. The Ordinance was developed and proposed by District Attorney Rackauckas and Supervisor Shawn Nelson (Fourth District) and makes it a misdemeanor, punishable by up to six months in jail and/or a $500 fine, for registered sex offenders to enter County recreational areas where children regularly gather without permission from the Orange County Sheriff’s Department (OCSD), who enforce the Ordinance.
In the past year, the Cities of Costa Mesa, Irvine, Laguna Hills, La Habra, Los Alamitos, Mission Viejo, Rancho Santa Margarita, Santa Ana, Seal Beach, Westminster, Yorba Linda, Fountain Valley, and Anaheim, have passed similar ordinances, and other cities are currently in the process of developing a similar ordinance.
To read the full County Ordinance, please visit www.orangecountyda.com and select the April 5, 2011, press release titled “Orange County Board of Supervisors Unanimously Votes to Adopt New Law to Keep Registered Sex Offenders Out of Parks, Harbors, Beaches and Playgrounds,” under Press Releases/Media Advisories.
The Huntington Beach City Ordinance is expected to be amended as follows: