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Lancaster Passes Ordinance That Will Impose Fines For Certain Crimes In Wake Of Prop. 47

LANCASTER ( — The city has passed an ordinance that will impose fines for certain offenses to curb crime after the voter approval of Proposition 47.

The Lancaster City Council voted unanimously Tuesday in favor of passing the law it has said will protect citizens and businesses.

The move comes in response to Proposition 47 passed by Californians in November, which reduces certain property and drug crimes from felonies to misdemeanors in instances where the value of the crime is less than $950.

Under the ordinance, which becomes law in 30 days, citations will invoke fines of $500 to $1,000 by the city.

"Our court system now is in a state of collapse, any way you say it, it is in a state of collapse. I'm an attorney. I'm over there. I'm watching it. It is not functioning anymore," Mayor R. Rex Parris said.

The council pushed ahead with the law despite an email sent by Victoria Adams, a bureau director in the Los Angeles County District Attorney's office last month, to an opponent of the law in which she states:

"I agree ... that this proposed ordinance would not withstand legal challenges. Additionally, this office does not support this attempt to change the law. … Any changes to the law should be addressed through the state legislative process."

Six days later, in a follow-up email, Adams said she was speaking for herself and not on behalf of the D.A.'s office, which has not sent nor made a statement regarding the ordinance.

During Tuesday's council meeting, the public's reaction to the new law was mixed. Kurt Boyer, a homeless advocate, says fines will not be a deterrent to those homeless and addicts.

"A $500 fine will never be paid. It's simply not going to happen," said Boyer, who added that the money spent on enforcing the new program could be better used in helping the homeless.

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