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Gov. Jerry Brown Meets With Top Riverside County Officials

The effects of public-safety realignment and the loss of revenue from vehicle license fees were among the key topics of discussion Tuesday.

Riverside County Sheriff Stan Sniff (left) and Gov. Jerry Brown (Courtesy photo/Sheriff Stan Sniff)
Riverside County Sheriff Stan Sniff (left) and Gov. Jerry Brown (Courtesy photo/Sheriff Stan Sniff)

In a visit Tuesday with top Riverside County officials, Gov. Jerry Brown is said to have discussed the effects that public-safety realignment and the loss of revenue from vehicle license fees have had on the region.

The meeting with the governor was held at the District Attorney’s office in Riverside. It was among three stops—he also visited Fresno and Bakersfield—for Brown over a two-day period, according to his office. The visits came on the heels of the governor’s announcement last week of his 2014-2015 budget proposal that he said will put California in the black.

In attendance for the Riverside meeting were County Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff Stone, County Executive Officer Jay Orr, District Attorney Paul Zellerbach, Sheriff Stan Sniff, Chief Probation Officer Mark Hake and Presiding Judge Mark Cope of the Riverside Superior Court, according to a county news release.

“A key issue was the millions of dollars that Wildomar, Menifee, Eastvale and Jurupa Valley lost when state law changed the funding structure for providing cities with revenue from vehicle license fees,” stated county Spokesman Ray Smith.

The cities have suffered financial stress and Jurupa Valley has said it might be forced to disincorporate as a city unless a solution to the revenue crisis can be found.

“The lost revenue has been a terrible burden, and devastating to our cities,” Stone said. “The meeting was a tremendous opportunity to carefully explain the situation directly to the governor and I hope our discussion will lead to a solution for the cities in the state’s budget. I appreciate that opportunity."

Also discussed was the effect of public-safety realignment in California under Assembly Bill 109, which went into effect in October 2011.

The legislation means that offenders convicted of non-serious, non-violent, and non-registerable sex crimes are incarcerated in local jails instead of in state prison. Before realignment, offenders who were released were supervised by state parole agents but now they are on Post Release Community Supervision by county probation officers.

Although the original intent was that prisoners would not be incarcerated more than one year in local jails, there are currently 279 inmates housed in Riverside County jails whom are serving sentences of three years or more. That has worsened crowding in local jails, forced early releases and left Riverside County jails at maximum capacity for two years, officials said.

Sniff relayed that he enjoyed engaging with the governor in frank discussions about both issues.

Zellerbach said the meeting was “a tremendous opportunity to have this significant time alone with the governor, away from Sacramento, to directly discuss Riverside County issues and concerns.”

Orr agreed, and expressed hope that Brown would push for legislative fixes to the problems.

“We do not have the opportunity very often for this kind of face-to-face meeting and we not only appreciate his efforts, we look forward to further discussions with the governor and his administration on these important issues,” Orr said.

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