San Diego

Mayor Gloria supports efforts to reform California's crime measure Prop 47

"At this point, I have no choice but to support Proposition 36,” San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria said

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San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria announced Wednesday his support for Prop 36 —or the "The Homelessness, Drug Addiction, and Theft Reduction Act" — which will be on the November ballot. It rolls back Prop 47, which lessened the penalty for certain theft and drug crimes.

“The ballot measure is now the only option that's available to us. And I'm here to tell San Diegans, I think it's a good option,” Gloria said in an exclusive sit-down interview with NBC 7. "I think that this is a very thoughtful measure that we will get to some of the issues that we're experiencing in the community right now."

The ballot measure would revert to tougher punishment for repeat retail theft offenders and for people who traffic hard drugs. Those who successfully complete treatment would have the opportunity to expunge their records.

“I think in the past, what you'd have is mandatory minimum sentencing, no judicial discretion whatsoever. And for this crime, no matter how major or minor, you're going to go to state prison. What we're saying in this measure is, is that after multiple repeated interactions with law enforcement, that you will face a judge, and they will have the discretion to the sentence you to probation, to county jail or to state prison, and those consequences of your actions will be imposed on the individual to either decide to do something different or to continue on this path,” Gloria said.

Gloria has spent months advocating for Prop 47 reforms but did not formally support the ballot measure until Wednesday.

"I believe that 2024 is the year that we have to reform Proposition 47, and I spent the last number of months working with state legislators and the governor to try and make that happen. Sadly, those efforts have failed. And so at this point, I have no choice but to support Proposition 36,” Gloria said.

Nearly 1 million people have signed a petition hoping to place the Homeless, Drug Addiction and Theft Reduction Act on the November ballot. The decade-old proposition reclassified several felonies as misdemeanors. 

San Diego's District Attorney has been a vocal advocate for reforming Prop 47. The majority of mayors within the county also support Prop 36.

The organization Californians for Safety and Justice has supported Prop 47 in its current form, saying the focus should be on rehabilitation, and adding, "we’re confident that once voters have the chance to hear just how regressive this ballot initiative is, just how costly it’ll be to state taxpayers and how it’ll drag the state back to the worst excesses of the failed war on drugs, we’re confident voters will reject Prop 36."

Between 2022 and 2023, crimes involving theft in San Diego went down. The Mayor said changing the status quo under Prop 47 is the surest way to keep the numbers trending in that direction.

“I just would observe that the pendulum is swinging that at the beginning of this year, you know, the leaders of our state said that there is nothing that need to be done here, that that the 47 did not need reforming. We've changed that opinion. It is now a widely held sentiment that something has to be done,” said Gloria.

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