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Elk Grove Citizen

Former Sheriff Urges Merchant Unity

Oct 05, 2022 12:00AM ● By Story and photos by Susan Maxwell Skinner

Former Sacramento Sheriff John McGinness (center) was speaker for a Carmichael Chamber of Commerce luncheon. He is photographed with members Aiman Nasrawi (left), Rick Martinez, Kerri Mandes, Alex Rachal, Jim Alves, Gabrielle Rasi, Mike Blondino and Rosie Buck.

CARMICHAEL, CA (MPG) - Former Sacramento Sheriff John McGinness last week urged Carmichael businesspeople to band together to protect the community from the impact of homelessness and crime.

“This is not the time to be divided by politics,” said the former Carmichael resident. “I urge you to recognize your common bond and work together to make your area the best it can be.”

Now a radio talk show host, the law-and-order champion was the Carmichael Chamber of Commerce’s guest speaker. McGinness grew up on California Avenue and recalled his high school job pumping gas and the generosity of local merchants for youth activities.

“The nature of the good work you do can’t be over-stated,” he told Chamber members. “You support a community where business should thrive. One consequence of COVID is that brick and mortar stores are suffering. These are the little league sponsors. If everyone’s buying online, where are local sponsorships coming from?

“The blind eye that’s being turned (toward crime and anti-social behavior) has its impact. Having to step over people who’ve passed out on store thresholds, or to clean up after people who’ve used your property as a bathroom has a dampening effect on business.”

McGinness cited Proposition 47 – the 2014 constitutional amendment that reclassified many theft and drug possession crimes as misdemeanors and authorized early release for convicted felons – for creating an environment where businesses and communities suffer. “Thieves can enter stores and steal up to $949 a day with no compounding consequences,” he said. “And we’ve effectively decriminalized hard drugs. Tell me what part of possessing date rape drugs should be a misdemeanor? Tell me why assaulting a police officer is not a violent crime?”

Standing up against crime, said McGinness, is not a partisan issue. “There’s a common denominator. We have the bond of wanting our communities to be healthy, safe and secure.

“It’s billed as compassionate to put up with the behavior of the homeless. But letting them destroy their lives and our neighborhoods is not an act of compassion. They’re not all people who’ve had setbacks. Look into some of their faces: they’re strung out on hard drugs. They need to get into programs. They need housing and incentives to get on a better path. This serves everyone’s purposes. Who do you love that you’d want to see living in filth on a city street? Not requiring people to face consequences (for crimes) does not help them turn their lives around.”

“I have compassion for these people. I also have compassion for people in this room. You deal with the consequences of rampant homelessness and antisocial behavior. It’s created an enormous burden on those trying to run businesses, and I believe the full consequences are yet to be recognized.”

McGinness urged businesspeople to pressure elected officials for real solutions. “Be an informed electorate,” he said. “So few people understand what they’re being asked to vote for on ballots. Without really looking at the language of ballot measures, you can’t know their consequences.

“Proposition 47 truly contributed to the conditions in which we now find ourselves. It was called ‘The Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act.’ The reality of the results couldn’t be further from the truth.”