By CHRIS BOUCLY / THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER
Laguna Hills officials began to evaluate a ban after Councilwoman Barbara Kogerman raised the issue at the Sept. 27 council meeting. At the time, Laguna Hills was one of about a dozen cities looking at the ban at the request of District Attorney Tony Rackauckas and county supervisors. The supervisors in April approved a law that bars registered sex offenders from county parks, beaches and harbors without written permission from Sheriff Sandra Hutchens.
If you go
The council meets at 7 p.m. at the Civic Center, 24035 El Toro Road.
District Attorney Tony Rackauckas is expected to be at the meeting.
So far, Westminster, La Habra and Los Alamitos have approved ordinances that mirror the county ban. Irvine passed a narrowly tailored version that applies to registered sex offenders who have targeted minors. Huntington Beach was to consider the ban Monday night.
Both options are being considered in Laguna Hills. They were prepared by the city attorney’s office following the September meeting, where council members asked about the constitutionality of a ban, the possibility of the city being sued, whether the ban was necessary and how homeowners associations would be affected.
According to a staff report (PDF), there are eight registered sex offenders that live in the city, six of whom have been convicted of offenses against minors. Laguna Hills has 15 city parks and 14 privately owned HOA parks. The HOAs would have to request the law be enforced in their parks.
The narrowly tailored option also would include waiver criteria. A registered sex offender could ask to enter a park to accompany his or her children; to exercise rights of free speech or assembly; for work; to vote; or to attend religious services.
The city attorney’s report also addresses the legality of such “presence” bans – they are untested in the courts, but the narrowly tailored version is more easily defended.
In addition, the city – under its contract with the county for police services – must indemnify the county from a claim or liability related to a city law enforced by the Sheriff’s Department. And the city has to bear all the costs of defending against such legal action.
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