I’m inspired by the community action being undertaken by Lemon Hill residents about the proposed “halfway house” for Federal parolees. From the media coverage I have seen, the residents seem to be taking a direct approach to protecting themselves, while the government at all levels appears to have no concern for doing so. It is disheartening though that the existing problems in that area are taken to be so obvious that they don’t even have to be spelled out for us. Most of the media reports are including simply a mention of this being a high crime area without bothering to recount any recent stats.
News10′s coverage seems biased in favor of the proposal, featuring specific evidence supporting rehabilitation, but lacking any specific numbers on the crime in the area. KCRA is heavier on specifics but also includes a head-scratcher of an argument from a former halfway house resident. Much of the coverage seems to employ a false dilemma between allowing the parolees to be located near playgrounds and preventing them from becoming functioning members of society again. “Some would say the Roman Empire tortured Christians for sport, but others would say it built lots of necessary infrastructure.”
I would love to know more about this quote in the Bee’s coverage from Richard Ertola, chief U.S. probation officer for the Eastern District of California: “These clients are from this community.” Does he mean this literally? These inmates are all from this specific neighborhood? There are 50 Federal inmates scheduled to be released at the same time, all from Lemon Hill? Because the other, more likely meaning is pretty sinister.
I would also like to know what the county officials think about this. It is a federal program, but it seems like residents of that area deserve a little in the way of advocacy on their behalf from the county. They seem to be getting a rubber stamp on the federal government’s decision. Not sure why none of the media outlets seemed able to get any kind of comment from the county, though I know the meeting went long into the night.