Monday, September 25, 2006

Fighting sex offenses ... through land use?

  Land use law should not be used as a surrogate for other policy judgments.  A striking example is currently at issue in California, where proposition 83 –- in California, almost anything and everything can be a proposition -– would make it unlawful for any released sex offender to live within 2000 feet of a school or park.  The L.A. Times reports that this would cover nearly all of the city of San Francisco and most of the built-up Los Angeles area.  Accordingly, many offenders -– which include people such as distributors of adult obscenity, not just child sex offenders -– would have no other legal option but to live in rural areas -– a fact that chagrins rural policymakers.  The proposition also reflects our nation’s paranoia about child safety.  Expect the rural areas to respond with their own ordinances to keep sex offenders out, as part of an “arms war” of ever-tighter regulations.

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