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Richard Valdemar

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Sgt. Richard Valdemar retired from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department after spending most of his 33 years on the job combating gangs.

California's Budget Fix: Cut Gang and Drug Fighters

State lawmakers are releasing prisoners and plan $71 million in cuts to drug and gang fighters.

November 07, 2011  |  by Richard Valdemar - Also by this author

The DOJ cuts would seriously impact the state's ability to fight public corruption, organized crime and the explosion of drug and gang crimes. The state's law enforcement agents, who are already getting their pink slips, are members of 55 different law enforcement task forces including the largest national task force of 110 local state and federal officers. The Campaign Against Marijuana Planting (CAMP) is responsible for seizing 21 million plants since 1983 and confiscating over $72 billion in wholesale value of weed in the last seven years. They are responsible for 72 percent of the marijuana eradication in the nation.

The BNE and BII were also part of the task force representing five northern California counties called the United Narcotics Enforcement Team (UNET) that on Oct. 15 announced the arrest of over 100 suspects including members of transnational gangs and the Nuestra Familia prison gang.

These DOJ cuts would also dismantle state efforts to protect consumers, senior citizens, victims of violent crime, and witness protection programs. Some forensic services for rape victims and other crimes would also suffer.

One fourth of California's budget, or $40 billion, is now spent annually on Medi-Cal, which is a huge leaking wound in California's budget. Medi-Cal fraud is one of the areas investigated by the state, along with state welfare, public housing fraud, and governmental corruption. In 2010, there were 165 criminal Medi-Cal filings, 131 convictions, and no acquittals. This resulted in $19.1 million in criminal restitution and $208.1 million in civil recoveries.

These facts are no secret to the governor's office. Remember, he was the attorney general under the prior Gov. Schwarzenegger. Jerry Brown knows how this would hurt California.

Like most other recipients in the California budget in the past 20 years, DOJ has become a political football. It has become administratively top heavy with appointments to posts by Sacramento as political favors. This proposed $71 million in reductions would cut out the working staff but leave many of the political appointments in place.

Depending on the political shifting winds in Sacramento, the BNE has been pulled out of its role fighting drug traffickers and organized crime to serving the "for show" politically correct issues such as Department of Recycling (DOR). DOJ agents who are expert in investigating criminal gangs and organized crime have been reassigned to fight recycling fraud and environmental issues.

The besieged Attorney General Kamala Harris has asked for more control over whom and what is cut out of the DOJ. She announced recently that the DOJ would be reduced to working white-collar crime and computer crime.

DOJ agents have been pulled out of major task forces such as the one in San Diego battling the Tijuana-based Arellano-Felix drug and human trafficking organization. This case could result in the huge seizures of weapons, drugs, and money. Rather than share in the $50-100 million potentially seized by this task force, the DOJ took $2 million from the Department of Recycling to catch can crushers.

Looking at the recent history of frustrating gross misdirection of the California Department of Justice causes one to wonder whether this is a series of foolish mismanagement errors, or whether there's a method to the madness.


California's 'Realignment' Toward Higher Crime

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Comments (8)

Displaying 1 - 8 of 8

FrankD @ 11/8/2011 7:16 PM

Great move in the wrong direction. Cut the welfare and Illegal funds. Two changes will take place the welfare recipents will move along with the illegals. Plus you get rid of some of the crime. Leave to the land of fruit and nuts. Another first for the state that always take the lead in ridiculous over the top decisions. Jerry Brown strikes again. Jerry retire!

AimFire @ 11/9/2011 6:06 AM

They can take back to California their state prisoners they have transferred to Tennessee correctional facilities as well -- we have enough of our own already. Be happy to send some of them to California as a fair turn about for those of theirs we've already received.

Steve @ 11/9/2011 8:08 AM

How could anyone in a position of control over the state of California even think for one minute to release more criminals back onto the streets and cut funding to law enforcement agencies? This is one moron that needs to be removed from office. Instead of limiting funds for law enforcement, how about stopping all funds to illegals, kick them out of the US, or better still, move them to the state of Alabama and see how a real state deals with illegals - they arrest and deport!

Stop all the madness, back up law enforcement and move forward!

Tom Ret @ 11/9/2011 8:21 AM

Brown is a moron but the people keep electing him. The same time he wants to release inmates and cut gang units he and his liberal friends want the general law abiding citizens unarmed. When will the citizens come to their senses and vote him and the other liberals out of office?

Rick @ 11/9/2011 9:24 AM

Don't forget that ol Jerry made CA safer by banning the open carry of unloaded guns! By continuing to restrict gun rights in CA and letting criminals out, the state government is setting up citizens to die. Old ladies are getting knocked down and having their gold jewelry stolen from their bodies. It's time to get open carry and CCW laws like AZ, TX, VA and FL. I'm a former USCG Tactical Officer and now in the security industry. I am unable to get a CCW license in CA although I have my FL permit that isn't recognized here; I have to use it for traveling out of state.

LegAdv @ 11/9/2011 11:22 AM

I saw the handwriting on the wall 7 years ago and left CA for good then. Articles like this one confirm the fact that I made the right decision.

Linda Taylor @ 11/11/2011 7:02 PM

There is in fact a method to this madness. Numerous Campaign donations made to Attorney General Kamala Harris's campaign are connected to drug legalization advocates. Here's a link to our press release, and there's more coming!

Verde @ 11/12/2011 8:46 AM

There is no benefit in reducing enforcement at this point. These agencies seize assets and cash that allow them to operate and allow them to fund equipment for their task forces and allied agencies. They recover more drug money than any other agency, which is used against the cartels and street dealers. Let's just keep stabbing ourselves in the feet. Stepping over dollars to pick up dimes. Who makes these messed up decisions anyway?

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