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'No Suitable Site' for Parole Office

July 29, 1990

I suspect that the officials at the Department of Corrections are laughing right now as they attempt to chop up the opposition and whipsaw Pasadena into accepting their parole office in a heavily populated residential area. I think, however, that it is time for the people in that town to coalesce and fight this thing with a united front.

I am disappointed with the good people of Lower Hastings Ranch. Agreeing, in effect, to the Walnut Street address rather than the Foothill site resolves nothing. This is one town, one community and one unified interest. The last thing the families in the Northwest need is another problem institution. There is no suitable site available for a parole office in Pasadena. Period. Having said that, there is little doubt that a parole office is needed somewhere--but that somewhere should be well away from large concentrations of urban life. Pasadena should be just as concerned for the safety and well-being of residents in surrounding communities as it is for its own. A facility of this type belongs in an industrial site, several of which exist in the San Gabriel Valley, where it can do the least damage. If a suitable building cannot be leased, a trailer setup can be initiated, along with the necessary communications. Some form of shuttle service could be developed for those parolees who do not have their own transportation or if bus service is not available.

The problem is that the Department of Corrections seems only to be concerned with the convenience of its "clients" and personnel.

These parolees are not Little Bo Peep. A large proportion are dangerous felons who really belong in jail anyway but are out on the streets because of a lack of prison facilities, and also because of California's perverted criminal justice system. So they are out in our communities and the Department of Corrections shrugs while simultaneously threatening the public with an administrative fiat.

Well, we're not buying into that. We are the ones who cut their paychecks. We do not hire them to threaten or bully us. They are answerable to us. Period. And a truly aroused public can be a formidable opponent.

I think the Pasadena City Directors should be commended for their efforts to protect our citizens from this bureaucratic assault, and it should continue to do so with every means possible, including litigation. The Department of Corrections has repeatedly stated that a Parole Office would pose no threat to the community at that site. But the Alhambra Police Department has released hard data to the effect that crime has escalated 38% in the vicinity of their parole office. This alone could constitute raw deceit on the part of the Department of Corrections and could easily be the target of a court restraining order.

In this little corner of America, if we marshal our resources, if we recognize the rightness of our stance, and if we truly unify in the common defense against a certified and cynical opponent, we are going to win this one.



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