Letter to the Editor: Public Safety at Risk

Resident calls for the City Council to discuss the Orange County Sheriff's Department's cite-and-release policy.

EDITOR'S NOTE: This letter is addressed to Mayor Larry Kramer, but the author, Kim McCarthy, asked that it be published as a letter to the editor as well.

Mayor Kramer,

Though I did not vote for you, I had hopes that a man who served his country in the Navy would be a man who valued his commitment to the families of San Juan Capistrano and the rule of law as you took your seat on the City Council.

Sadly, I was reminded March 6 at Tuesday night’s SJC City Council meeting of what my father has always told me. … "A title does not make a man, his actions do."

I came to you as a concerned homemaker and mother of three residing in San Juan for 11 years. I asked for your help regarding Sheriff Hutchens' "cite-and-release" policy in our city, which is putting all of the residents at risk of accident, injury, and possible death. 

At the Feb. 22 meeting at our Community Center, Sheriff Hutchens stated that she allows her deputies to use their discretion when pulling over a resident for a traffic violation, but that she takes direction from our City Council since we pay $8 million per year for their services. 

Hutchens offered as a justification for the cite-and-release policy the example of a mother and her two children late at night without drivers license, registration or proof of insurance. Hutchens said this woman’s car should not be impounded, that she should be allowed to drive away for her safety at night.

But how safe is it to have this woman driving children around when she's not a qualified driver and has no insurance to cover her children or anybody she may injure or kill in case of an accident (which is highly likely since she's unlicensed)? I suggested that it would be safer for her and especially her children to impound her car as the law states and be driven home by the sheriff. 

Mayor Kramer, at [Tuesday] night's council meeting, I asked you to place on the council agenda a vote about whether unlicensed, uninsured drivers should be cited and released back on our streets… you simply said you would "take it under advisement."  

Mr. Kramer,  when I asked how I would know whether you intended to take action, you arrogantly dismissed me stating, "Check the agenda. If it's there it's there, if it's not it's not." I find disturbing your treatment of your constituents who are only asking for you to protect us by enforcing the law. You spent more time talking about fruit trees than public safety last night; now we know where your priorities lie.

Whether or not you think this is important, what matters is what the voters think. With the election upcoming in November, we should know where you all stand on the issue of public safety, particularly incumbents Sam Allevato and Laura Freese. Therefore, I will continue to push to get this on the agenda. 


Kim McCarthy

Clint Worthington March 10, 2012 at 12:29 AM
Exactly Joel. Nothing happens to them.
jim capistrano March 10, 2012 at 10:33 PM
The reality is that these illegals, who are here to work for their families and ours, are here to stay. It is counter-productive to ban them from having a drivers license tied to insurance coverage. The mentality of a group of people, no matter how large, that believes that punitive measures will have this sub-class of people disappear, is beyond me.
V. Duvall March 11, 2012 at 01:09 AM
That's basically what I said in my first comment Jim. They are not going anywhere. I think it would be more productive to make them take and pass the driving test like the rest of us, maybe then they would know the right way to drive and be subject to the rules just like the rest of us. We all have to have insurance and they would too.
SJCNative March 11, 2012 at 09:22 PM
What is wrong with obeying the laws of our country?
jim capistrano March 15, 2012 at 05:01 PM
...because some laws are stupid. Period. Example A is the law making marijuana a class I illegal drug...on the same par as heroin. There is a quote attributed to Napoleon I which he stated that ..."stupidity in politicians is not an impediment"...the same politicians who "make" our laws...


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