Crime is going up. Irvine residents feel less safe. As a returning resident told the OC Register last week:
Madani, now 29, has returned to Irvine to raise her own family. The master planned community she’d fallen in love with is still “one of the most amazing cities to live in,” but not as safe as it used to be, she said.
“The crime has definitely gone up in Irvine,” she said. “I think it’s just the fact that our country’s changing and our generation’s changing, and it’s not changing for the better.”
Earlier this month, Irvine police arrested five people for a string of residential burglaries in Irvine.
So naturally Mayor Pro Tem Lynn Schott would cast the sole “no” vote against approving the police association contract.
Why would she do that? Was she concerned the new contract did not treat Irvine police officers well enough? Not exactly.
Schott was hung up on a tiny fringe benefit added to equalize police officers situation vis-a-vis civilian city staff.
Non-essential city staff are given paid time off between Christmas and New Year’s Day because there little demand for their services during that time. The demand for police services doesn’t take a holiday even during the holidays, so provision in the new contracts attempts to balance that out by putting 1.25% of each officers’ pay into retirement health savings accounts. The annual cost is $262,000, or just 0.13% of the Irvine’s 2017-2018 city budget.
Maybe this was I’m-more-right-wing-than-thee posturing by Schott to repair her right-wing bona fides. But why? Mayor Don Wagner and Councilmembers Christian Shea and Jeff Lalloway are no slouches in the right-wing conservative department, and they voted for the contract.
Whatever her motivation, her action makes no sense. Despite the crime rates, the number of crimes being committed in Irvine is going up; especially property crimes like residential burglaries. It’s no comfort to the victim of having their home broken into and burglarized to know it isn’t a “violent” crime.
It is only going to get worse as the full effects of AB 109, Prop. 47 and now Prop. 57 (which collectively have released tens of thousands of criminals from prison and jail, while reducing a host of serious crimes from felonies to misdemeanors) are felt in our city.
If a tiny, inexpensive fringe benefit helps our officers and support city efforts to attract and retain the best personnel, then so be it. It obviously didn’t strike our politically conservative city council as over-the-top. It’s unfortunate Schott felt the need to posture at the expense of our police department.