Monday, August 17, 2009

Will anti-gang legislation be revisited?

The Convention Center Community Association (CCCA) has taken on the issue of gangs by polling those who live near the Walter E. Washington Convention Center about their support for anti-gang legislation.   CCCA seems to favor anti-gang laws.

Mayor Fenty recently signed the "Omnibus Public Safety and Justice Emergency Amendment Act of 2009."   As introduced by the mayor, this legislation included some anti-gang provisions.   During City Council consideration, however, the provisions were stripped.   (More on the bill is available in an August 6 blog post.)

Ward 2 CM Evans (Council representative for the CCCA area), Ward 1 CM Graham, Ward 4 CM Bowser, and At-large CM Catania supported language which was designed to reduce the proliferation of gangs and gang violence and activity.   CM Evans proposed to stop gangs and gang members from engaging in activities which create a public nuisance.   There is a great deal of support for the anti-gang provisions put forth by the Ward 2 member across the city, just as there is opposition which was largely initiated by nonprofit advocates and service providers and which later gained traction on the council with members like Ward 5's Harry Thomas, Jr.

Because the omnibus was passed as an emergency, it will expire on November 4, 2009.   Public safety is, by all accounts, a major concern of the mayor.   Mayor Fenty is not likely to let this issue die with the expiration.   And while I had previously written that it is unclear whether the City Council has the stamina for another omnibus crime debate, the fact is that this issue (crime) is not going away and stamina or not, consideration may occur.