Fair Game

By TOM JOHNSON

 

Rivian wants to use Main Beach Park for their launch…is that a good thing or a bad thing? Council will determine tonight

It’s interesting to look at tonight’s Consent Calendar on the Laguna Beach City Council agenda without one item in particular catching your eye.

First off, the Consent Calendar is defined immediately preceding itself on the agenda as a collection of “items that require no separate discussion.” Then, it further explains that items on the Consent are basically designed to be “enacted by one motion, approving various minute orders and resolutions.”

That all being said, and this happens frequently, “a Councilmember, the City staff, or the public may request removal of an item from the Consent Calendar.”

And that’s where the rub comes, something tells me that on tonight’s Consent Calendar, Item 6 – “Consideration to approve Rivian’s request to utilize a portion of Main Beach Park for a half day public event,” is one of those that will be removed, most likely by the public, for further discussion.

Here’s what it’s about. Rivian, the electric automobile manufacturer, that in December moved in across PCH from Main Beach, is planning a worldwide product launch for their new vehicles on Thursday, March 7. Rivian plans to showcase the release of these vehicles in their new digs, the former historic South Coast Theater, and is asking the city “to utilize a portion (grass) of Main Beach Park” to additionally display six more vehicles from 3:45 p.m. to sunset.

City staff has recommended approval.

Here’s what residents should know – there will be no amplified sound or additional lighting; complimentary refreshments for ALL will be provided; Rivian will be required to assume costs for set-up and for returning the area to pre-event conditions; AND, the vehicles will be on display for informational purposes only and will not be available for sale.

Incidentally, there doesn’t appear to be anything stopping Council from approving this request.

Rivian is obviously a new business in Laguna Beach, restoring an important Downtown project and investing in the community. According to Rivian, their Laguna Beach space has been “reimagined to serve as a unique destination for visitors to learn about its category-defining vehicles and gather for community events and theater programming that celebrate creativity and adventure.”

Should the city return consideration for this special ask? That’s for our councilmembers to decide.

One additional item of note: Rivian has offered to donate two electric vehicles to the city at no cost for a period of three years to help assist fleet electrification. This issue is NOT CONTINGENT on approval of the Main Beach access.

• • •

Yeah for the good guys…or in this case, the good GIRLS. The Laguna Beach AYSO Girls U12 All Star Soccer team won the AYSO South Orange County Championship on Saturday, Jan. 20 at Crown Valley Community Park in Laguna Niguel.

Click on photo for a larger image

Courtesy of Laguna Beach AYSO

(L-R) Bottom row: Elisa Camacho, Penny Jameson. Middle row: Macie Shearer, Vivian Orr, Isla Cleary, Hailey Hall, Stella McKinzie, Riley Berberian, Abbie Kalmanovich and Evelyn Howe. Top row: Coaches Ryan Howe and Brad Berberian. (Not pictured: Minda Watson).

The girls went undefeated (three wins and one tie in pool play) in the tournament that featured 10 of the best All Star teams in South Orange County. They capped it off with a 1-0 championship game victory over a tough San Clemente team.

Also worthy of note, the team also gave up only one goal in the entire tournament.

Way to go!

• • •

I have to be honest; I follow issues of crime in our community. If you do also, perhaps you’ve noticed that oftentimes there is an amount listed in crimes indicating if the theft was above or below a $950 threshold. That simply means that, say you go in somewhere to steal something and it has a value under $950 versus a value over $950, that amount will be a determining factor in what the potential sentence is.

Many, if not most of those times, the accused are let out of jail almost immediately. It’s frustrating for the community and frustrating for the police who have to continually deal with them.

Criminals have also figured this out as laws have changed over time. An example of this was Proposition 47 which the citizens of California passed back in 2014 making certain property crimes under $950 a misdemeanor. And, that proposition also removed a portion of law (Penal Code 666.1) that dealt with Serial Theft.

Unfortunately, the result since then has been more crime. And as you might imagine, if you’re a criminal you know that you can commit a transgression and be back on the streets sooner as a result in these types of changes. And without the “Serial Theft,” if you do it again, it’s simply not considered.

Enter a new Senate Bill 923, recently introduced by Senator Bob Archuleta (D-Pico Rivera) and Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer.

SB 923 would “specifically target enforcement efforts at repeat criminals who continue to steal after multiple prior convictions,” according to a release by the OCDA’s office. And it “would re-implement serial theft provisions prior to Prop 47 while leaving the $950 threshold as is.” It specifically targets enforcement efforts at repeat criminals who continue to steal after multiple prior convictions.

“The bill ensures that, beginning on a third offense, serial thieves are charged with between six months and three years’ imprisonment, ending the current practice of repeat offenders being released without jail time.

“Repeat offenders aren’t accidental criminals. They know they are breaking the law by stealing and they do it anyway because current law makes the risk far less than the reward,” said Spitzer. “There has to be a consequence for breaking the law and repeat offenders have to be subjected to those consequences.”

We need to keep an eye on this. It now sits with the Senate Rules Committee. It certainly seems like something has to change to stop these unrelenting criminals from continuing their assaults on businesses and individuals.

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