Peters Campaign Calls On Lori Saldaña to Explain Her Refusal to Support Stiffer Penalties for Violent Sexual Offenders
San Diego, CA – The Scott Peters for Congress campaign today called on candidate Lori Saldaña to explain to the voters why in 2010 she did not vote to protect our children from society’s worst predators: violent sexual offenders. Saldaña was the only San Diego legislator who twice failed to vote for Chelsea’s Law (AB 1844), which was introduced by Assemblymember Nathan Fletcher in 2010 following the brutal rapes and murders of San Diego teenagers Chelsea King and Amber Dubois.
“Earlier this month, I had the chance to hear Brent King speak; he walked us through the day they lost Chelsea. As a dad, I can’t imagine the horror of losing a child this way,” Peters said. “Chelsea's Law puts the very worst offenders -- those who commit violent sex acts against children -- away for good. It's an incredibly important piece of legislation and it deserved everyone's support.”
“How could someone not support a law to keep predators who commit violent sexual offenses against children off the streets?” asked Peters’ Campaign Manager Robert Dempsey. “This law was so needed, and so celebrated when it passed with overwhelming bipartisan support, that very few noticed that only one San Diego legislator, Lori Saldaña, didn’t see its value. The voters deserve to know why she turned her back on children, and on young women like Chelsea and Amber,” Dempsey said.
Fletcher, who is running for Mayor, raised the issue at a speaking engagement last week before the Political Honors Society at Point Loma Nazarene University (PLNU). While talking to students about the need for greater bipartisanship, Fletcher pointed to Chelsea’s Law, which was supported by Republicans and Democrats, but not Saldaña. By the time the bill reached its final reading, 55 Assemblymembers had signed on as co-authors including Democrats Marty Block and Mary Salas.
During his talk at PLNU, Fletcher said Chelsea’s Law was “an example of something where we had a problem that we had to solve. Not solving it was not an option, because young girls were dying.….But there are a lot of people in politics who….just want to play games…I’ll give you an example from here…The only San Diegan not to support our effort was Lori Saldaña.”
He went on to say that Saldaña, “didn’t have any constructive suggestions on how to make it better. She just said, well, I just want to be against it.” A video of his remarks can be viewed here.
Saldaña had the chance to support this important legislation twice, once in June 2010 during the Assembly passage of the measure, and again in August 2010. Both times she did not cast a vote.
“If Ms. Saldaña genuinely disagreed with the law, then she should have had the courage to cast a ‘no’ vote,” Dempsey said. “If she wanted to make it better, then she should have worked with Assemblymember Fletcher and Senator Leno and the other members who stood with the King family and worked around the clock to craft good legislation. But she didn’t; she took a walk, and turned her back on our kids. The voters need to hear why.”
State Senator Mark Leno (D- San Francisco), who at the time chaired the State Senate Public Safety Committee, worked closely with Fletcher to craft the bi-partisan bill that was hailed as a “rare display of bipartisanship.”
Key elements of AB 1844 are:
• Increased prison sentences, including life without parole, for the worst offenders of violent, criminal acts against children, with terms varying depending upon the age of the victim.
• Increased parole terms for offenders who target children under the age of 14.
• Bans registered offenders from entering parks where children congregate without written permission from a parole officer, if the person is on parole, or from the chief administrative official of the park.
• Creates a system for assessing paroled sexual predators so those who pose the greatest risk of reoffending can be matched with the highest levels of supervision and surveillance.
For more information about Scott Peters for Congress, go to http://www.scottpeters.com.
On June 3, 2010, when the measure came before the Assembly, Saldana did not vote on it. Later, in an interview with the San Diego Union Tribune, she claimed she did not vote on the measure so she could better influence the measure to help it overcome anticipated resistance in the Senate Public Safety Committee. Yet, no public record or transcript of Saldana testifying before the Public Safety Committee, or any other committee through which the bill traveled, can be located.
Then, on August 30, when the bill came back to the Assembly for a vote to concur with Senate amendments, Saldana claimed she did not vote for it back in June because she was concerned about the cost. On this day, she again failed to vote for the measure.
(The California Channel, “Assembly Floor Session 2/3,”08/30/2010, http://220.127.116.11/channel/
(Unofficial Ballot, “AB 1844,” August 30, 2010, http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/pub/
09-10/bill/asm/ab_1801-1850/ ab_1844_vote_20100830_0423PM_ asm_floor.html)