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VENTURA COUNTY ROUNDUP | Countywide

Brooks, Bradbury Assail Prop. 36

November 02, 2000|TIMOTHY HUGHES

Ventura County's two top lawmakers stood together Wednesday in opposition to Proposition 36, a ballot initiative that would divert many nonviolent drug offenders into treatment rather than to jail or prison.

Flanked by prosecutors, narcotics officers and members of the county's various drug treatment programs, Sheriff Bob Brooks and Dist. Atty. Michael D. Bradbury each warned of dire social consequences if the initiative is approved by voters Tuesday.

"Nobody here in law enforcement is against rehabilitation, but it doesn't mean we don't need to keep aggressive law enforcement," Bradbury said at a news conference outside the main entrance to the Ventura County Jail.

Brooks said the initiative is an attempt by those interested in legalizing drugs to push their agenda through.

"Don't let Proposition 36 take us down the slippery slope toward the decriminalization of drugs," Brooks said.

The initiative would allocate $120 million toward placing drug offenders in treatment programs and dismiss their charges upon successful completion of the programs. Money would be funneled to counties throughout the state to operate the drug treatment programs.

Supporters of Proposition 36 said the initiative offers voters the chance to fundamentally change the way courts handle drug prosecutions.

"This is certainly not legalization of drugs. You go to jail if you don't complete treatment," said Dave Fratello, a spokesman for the Yes On Proposition 36 campaign. "The folks in law enforcement are finding that voters don't trust law enforcement to deal with the drug war."

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