AURORA | The City of Aurora could fall in behind efforts to make all car thefts felonies and eliminate the statewide cap on the number of juvenile detention beds this year, after lawmakers indicated their support Monday.
Council conservatives signaled their early support for resolutions that would direct the city to lobby the state legislature to make those changes.
“As I’m sure law enforcement would tell any of us, the challenges with motor vehicle theft are not just the cars being stolen, but the secondary crimes that are being committed in those stolen cars,” council sponsor Dustin Zvonek said, blaming “years of misguided policies by the (Colorado) General Assembly” for an increase in motor vehicle thefts.
He mentioned as one sign of change a state senate bill that would make it a felony to steal a car, regardless of the vehicle’s value. When charged under state statute, currently, motor vehicle theft may be a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the value of the vehicle.
Zvonek was behind the push last year to introduce mandatory minimum sentences for car theft when that crime is tried in city court. His proposal would also have the city support increased penalties for repeat offenders.
While Councilmember Alison Coombs questioned why Zvonek included criticism of laws passed by the state legislature in the preface of the resolution, which she argued could make it harder for the city to work with the assembly on new legislation, the conservative majority supported the resolution moving forward from the study session.
Coombs and Councilmember Angela Lawson also argued that the city council should not vote on lobbying to eliminate the juvenile bed cap until they got more information in response to a prior inquiry about additional beds that could be available.
Zvonek argued that, by capping juvenile detention beds in the state, judges were being forced to release children with ankle monitors and other pretrial restrictions that were not enough to stop them from engaging in violence.
“They’re going back into the exact same environment they just came from, and all too often, they’re reoffending in a way that is escalating the level of crime, which further jeopardizes their future,” he said. “It’s really not a partisan issue as much as it’s being opposed by ideological extremists.”
Ultimately, progressives and Lawson opposed the lobbying proposal, which had enough support to move forward from Monday’s study session.
Snow days are not enough
Worsening drought conditions across the West mean Aurora residents will likely be limited to watering outdoor landscaping no more than twice a week under new water use rules.
Council members gave an early nod to the restrictions on outdoor water usage, as Aurora Water spokesman Greg Baker said water levels measured in reservoirs tapped by the city were “very disconcerting.”
“The council, a number of years ago, came up with a policy for Aurora Water to maintain, when practicable, three years of demands in our reservoirs,” he said. “We’re now effectively in our 20th year of drought. … The entire West is seeing a fairly precipitous decline in water availability.”
The news comes amid a spate of cold snowy weather across much of Colorado.
Baker said encouraging reports on the state’s total snowpack don’t mean Aurora is in the clear. He said that, in the basins where Aurora gets its water, the volume of snowpack is around 11% below median, and that reservoirs were projected to be at 48% of capacity by April.
Council members unanimously supported the restrictions, which Marshall Brown, general manager of Aurora Water, said the city expects won’t be lifted sooner than next year.
The majority of the group also supported a recalculation of Aurora Water’s drought surcharges, which is designed to not penalize commercial and multifamily residential customers for normal indoor usage. Danielle Jurinsky voted against the changes to the surcharges but did not explain why.
Also on Monday, the city council:
- Heard a presentation on how the city clears streets during snowstorms, with staffers saying the city is hiring two manager positions to be able to partner with special districts and homeowners’ associations to plow residential streets, along with using city crews and contractors to open those streets where needed.
- Reached consensus that members of the city’s Civil Service Commission are volunteers rather than employees, preserving the current council appointment system, and rejecting the argument that commissioners are eligible for an inflation stipend given to city employees.
So prison does no rehabilitating and makes prisoners worse, but the answer is to put youth away even longer in prison and make their record even more difficult for them to get a job or any services or try to rebuild and become more self-sufficient? Isn’t that just the American way – punish and create a worse environment.
It’s the conservative city council way.
The easy way to garner votes.
Young serious criminals have been so messed up by their mothers and fathers that rehabilitation is but a pipe dream. And in truth, the main role of the police and courts is to prioritize, rightly, the protection of hardworking families from danger.
Until our Council, particularly the liberal element, is willing to address the state legislature’s flawed police reform bill and the consent decree, we will have more problems. Being idealistic to the point of ignorance doesn’t benefit anything except their public image.
“Being idealistic to the point of ignorance doesn’t benefit anything except their public image.”
Applies to the conservatives for certain.
Aurora residents should watch very closely which council members up for election are supporting holding criminals accountable and which ones continue to oppose it.
Progressives and socialists always spew double-talk that boils down to “let’s excuse criminals and try to make them look like victims.”
Just the opposite. Society cannot afford to incarcerate EVERYONE!
Quit name calling and ask how to address the root cause.
I’m not sure you comprehended my point, or you refuse to see it. As far as name-calling, is referring to them by the labels THEY have chosen name-calling?
Regardless, I’ll now heed the advice of George Bernard Shaw, “Never wrestle with pigs. You both get dirty and the pig likes it.”
Parents get to teach values like honesty and respect for others, schools get to reinforce those values, and then, if need be, the police and courts have to enforce those values. The police and the courts sole purpose is to provide justice and to protect society from danger. If we need to spend more to protect the honest, hard working folks—so be it.
The best case scenario is that moms and dads just do a better job of parenting!
All I know is that the kids stealing cars, having guns, committing assault, skipping school, and selling drugs will need very intensive intervention. I would like to give the police, courts and detention centers all the funding they need to keep young criminals off our streets.