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San Jose Plan To Crack Down On Illegal Side Shows Targets Promoters On Social Media

SAN JOSE (KPIX) -- A plan to crack down on sideshows and street racing before they hit the streets will be a topic of serious concern when San Jose city council members meet on Tuesday.

"They're becoming larger, they're becoming more dangerous," said Councilwoman Maya Esparza who is also one of the authors behind the proposal.

The discussion will come after a busy weekend for law enforcement across the Bay Area who responded to the illegal activities.

On Saturday, four bystanders were struck during a sideshow in the Mission District of San Francisco. On Sunday, another San Francisco sideshow under the Highway 101 overpass caused major traffic delays.

Anne Doucet lives in San Jose near Hamilton and Leigh Avenues where a sideshow erupted in gunfire last month.

"I thought it was Armageddon," said Doucet. "It's just a little ridiculous. It's wrong, it's completely wrong."

Esparza said more than 100 shell casings were recovered after that particular sideshow.

"Given how dangerous these are and the fact that they're attracting people from as far as Los Angeles to come to San Jose to race, and so similar to nightclubs we have a promoter ordinance when it comes to promoters who promote dangerous activities," Esparza said.

She and Councilwoman Dev Davis, have proposed cracking down on those who promote sideshows and street racing on social media. Tuesday's discussion will be about what consequences or punishment sideshow promoters could face.

The proposal also includes using mobile license plate readers to track down participants who get away from police or leave before officers arrive.

"By the way, these activities pull officers from the beat in your neighborhood and mine to respond to these events," said Esparza.

The solution to that includes creating a county-wide task force made up of the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office, the California Highway Patrol and city law enforcement agencies who would respond to sideshows no matter where they take place in the county.

"We really need to have a regional response," Esparza said. "I think we've been really lucky that no one has been killed or seriously injured so far in the past year, especially, as we've seen them grow in size and become more dangerous."

Doucet said she wants to see the proposal put in drive, and hopes it will work.

"Absolutely, all of that, all of it," said Doucet.

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