Pubdate: Mon, 01 Apr 2002
Source: San Francisco Examiner (CA)
Copyright: 2002 San Francisco Examiner


LESS than a week after The Examiner's in-depth probe of high drug 
crime along the BART corridor in The City, Supervisor Gavin Newsom 
has taken a first step toward cleaning it up.

Newsom's resolution calls for the chief judge of the Municipal Court 
to convene a judge's bail committee to see if we can set bail 
guidelines that come closer to those of other Bay Area counties. The 
sooner, the better.

Our bail schedule for drug-related crimes is so far out of line with 
neighboring counties' that their drug dealers come here because they 
know they'll pay less -- and serve less time -- if they get caught 
here. This costs us in jail time, court time, and quality time on 
Market Street, Mission Street and other main drags.

The resolution awaits action by the neighborhood services committee, 
composed of Supervisors Newsom, Mark Leno and Jake McGoldrick. It 
should fly out of there and onto the full board's plate with all 
deliberate speed.

Our smelly, drug-infested streets won't wait.

THE last time the bail schedule was adjusted was 1998, when then- 
Supervisor Jose Medina called for a review after an earlier Examiner 
report. Bails were raised, but were still less than those of other 
counties. The City's bail rate for people accused of having 1 oz. of 
crack and intending to sell it jumped from $2,500 per count to 
$10,000 per count, but was still less than Alameda's $20,000 and 
Contra Costa's $30,000.

And while most neighboring counties have raised their bail schedules, 
ours has remained stagnant. Contra Costa county sets its rate for the 
same crime at $100,000 now; San Mateo's rate is $50,000. So if you're 
a small-time dealer, where would you rather get arrested: The City or 
San Mateo? Duh.

Fair is fair. Potential penalties for crimes shouldn't differ so 
radically depending on which side of the Cow Palace the crack seller 
happens to be standing.

Let's catch up to our smarter sister counties. They'll just have to 
find some other way to export their rotten element onto our streets.
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MAP posted-by: Josh