Track Record of Innovation and Accomplishments

 

To determine how someone will perform as a County Supervisor, examine what she/he has already achieved.

A 2014 editorial in the Union-Tribune said I have been a “leader in the reform movement to provide nonviolent convicts with job training, treatment and other services designed to help them live productive, crime-free lives following their release. ... She has shown herself to be a trusted arbiter of justice in our community.”

County Supervisors must be leaders and collaborators in their districts, working with many different neighborhoods on solutions to their specific problems.

The County government is responsible for public safety (Sheriff and DA), Health and Human Services (public health, mental health, Medi-Cal eligibility, aging services) voter registration, public housing, vital records, tax collection and the Department of Public Works. The County also serves as the local government for all unincorporated areas.

I am proud of my track record as Judge and District Attorney with innovative programs and legislation to improve the justice system and work on preventing crime, and equally proud of the hard work and collaboration that went into each accomplishment. I want to bring my problem-solving experience to use with such issues as homelessness, affordable housing, mental illness.


Innovative Programs that Made the Justice System More Responsive to Its Diverse Community:

Collaborative Courts: Brought together prosecutors, defense attorneys and community providers to get people help tailored to their specific needs.

-- Drug Court: Initiated this Court in San Diego County; it became a national model. The following courts were created as a result of the success of drug court.

-- Domestic Violence Court: A mechanism to hold batterers accountable and try turn their lives around.

-- Veterans Court: Working together with all stakeholders, helps veterans who have committed a crime get back on the right track.

-- Youth Court: With special sensitivity to the issues of youth, holds youngsters accountable for criminal behavior while encouraging more positive choices without going through the Juvenile Justice System.

-- Behavioral Health Court: Judges become knowledgeable about issues related to mental health concerns and tie in with resources while addressing crimes.

-- Re-entry Court: Special attention to the needs of previously incarcerated individuals.


Efforts to Reduce Recidivism:

Community Transition Center: Created this center six years ago where exiting prisoners are picked up from prison and taken to a center where they are assessed for appropriate programs, housed until they can find can find their own housing and get needed resources. Has helped more than 10,000 people.

Care Center in Southeast San Diego: Satellite DA’s office has provided community resources to an underserved neighborhood to prevent crime.

DA Literacy Program in Jails: Helped inmates obtain a minimum proficiency reading standard before they are released back into our communities.


Additional Innovations:

  • Community Outreach: Created Community Outreach positions to educate the community on crime prevention. Had AmeriCorps volunteers regularly assisting with this effort, which made us the first DA’s Office in the nation to do this.

  • Youth Advisory Board: High school students advising the DA’s office on youth challenges and working to find solutions. Produced an award-winning film, “4 or 40,” focused on how one’s four years in high school can impact the next 40 years.

  • Paws’itive Teams: Promoted the training of support dogs to help victims of crime through their experiences in the courtroom.

  • Citizens Academy: A popular 10-week course that demystified the criminal justice system for County citizens.

  • Consumer Protection Day and Protect Yourself and Your Wallet events: Community-based education for older adults about scams and other elder abuse.

  • Gun Buy-Back Program (begun in 2008): Partnered with law enforcement and the United African American Ministerial Action Council to provide cash for guns in an attempt to take some of these weapons off the street.


Critical Legislation:

  • Jessica’s Law and Chelsea’s Law: Helped write and pass these measures that tightened restrictions and penalties on child molesters and sexually-violent predators, making California one of the toughest states in the nation in dealing with these offenders.

  • Wrote and helped pass a law to seal autopsies of murder victims in certain cases, such as murder victims who have been sexually assaulted.

  • Marsy’s Law: Victims’ Bill of Rights expanded the legal rights of victims of crime. Victims now have the right to be heard at every stage of legal criminal proceedings.

  • Wrote and helped pass legislation to require 10 days notice and input to a victim and prosecutors before a governor can commute a sentence.