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February 10, 2009

zanier and zanier: sex offender frenzy in Colonie, NY

Filed under: q.s. quickies — David Giacalone @ 11:43 pm

Ultimate NIMBY: keeping sex offenders out of their backyard.

— and out of their town, too!

Paula Mahan is Town Supervisor in Colonie, NY, the most populous municipality in the New York Capital Region (nestled between Albany and Schenectady).  Supervisor Mahan has upped the sex offender NIMBY ante, and shown other politicians she won’t be outdone pandering to the public’s overblown fears of lurking strangers.  Saying her Town has become a dumping ground for predators from other jurisdictions, she has proposed a new law that would, according to an article tonight in the Albany Times Union:

” . . bar adult Level 2 and 3 sex offenders whose victims were younger than 17 from living or staying within 1,500 feet of each other, or the same distance from [15 kinds of] places where children congregate.”

……  …………….. 1500′ …………… …………………. 1500’……..

We’ve written often about the unnecessary, ineffective and un-American residency restrictions that communities have been placing on whole categories of sex offenders. See our recent post “don’t let a bad idea go statewide” (Feb. 2, 2009), which responds to a new, high-level proposal to have statewide 1000-foot no-residence zones for sex offenders, around schools, parks and day care centers.  The Colonie SOLD approach [sex offender low-density nuisance zoning] almost makes the laws in other communities look thoughtful — and is an interesting counterpoint to those who want to herd sex offenders into little cluster ghettos.   It clearly shows that Justice William Kelly was correct in Peo. v. Oberlander: Our State laws by necessity must pre-empt the additional efforts of localities, with their confusing, conflicting, and ever-escalating restrictions on where sex offenders can live (discussed in this post from Feb. 2, 2009).

According to the TU:

“But before having the Colonie Town Board vote on the new regulations, Supervisor Paula Mahan wants to assemble a task force to examine the issue and work off of her proposal.”

Stopping to think makes good sense.  However, Mahan’s task force sounds suspiciously like the tactics of Susan Savage, Legislative Chair in Schenectady County, who appointed a commission to study sex offender safety issues, but clearly wanted them to start with her own extreme position and then add more restrictions and regulations. (see our prior post)   Perhaps someone will suggest to Ms.Mahan that she read the Oberlander decision and check out proposals and solutions on the State level, before she convinces even the most conservative judges in the State that sex offender residency cannot be left to local politicians.

p.s. On the 6 o’clock news this evening, a reporter for WTEN in Albany said they checked out the state SO registry and 5 sex offenders were apparently living at one of the low-rent motels on Central Ave in Colonie.  Go here for information from the Colonie Police Department on how to find out where sex offenders live in that Town, using the State’s sex offender search index.

Motel Update (Aug. 7, 2009):  After considering various court cases declaring Sex Offender restrictions unlawful, Colonie gave up its original Low-Density Sex Offender proposal and came up with an even worse idea — restricting how many offenders can live at any one motel.  See “Colonie limits how many sex offenders can live in motels” (Albany Times Union, Aug. 7, 2009; and see CBS6Albany).  According to the TU, the law “will require hotels and motels that plan to house sex offenders to get a license” (costing $1500 or $3000) and then will use a point system to limit how many Sex Offenders may live at a particular motel (one to three points depending on the SO’s corresponding risk level designation, 1, 2 or 3).  Even the largest motels will be allowed only 9 points worth of offenders — e.g., three Level 3s or nine Level 1s, or combinations thereof.  It is hard to image that such a law could withstand the kind of state-preemption analysis that recently voided Albany County’s sex offender residency restrictions.

afterwords (Feb. 11, 2009): I woke up this morning thinking about ways enterprising persons could cash in on Colonie’s floating 1500-feet sex offender residency ban.   A landlord in an area that didn’t have “its SO” yet, could hold an auction (or raffle off) an apartment or motel unit, or simply demand a much higher rent, knowing that both offenders and Social Service employees would pay a big premium to secure a residence in an attractive neighborhood (or, more likely, any neighborhood).  Meanwhile, a sex offender leaving town might also earn a little travel money by selling off rights to (or information about) a prime location that was opening up.

…………………………… ……………………………. 1500′

update (Feb. 26, 2009): The town of East Rochester, NY, is only 1.3 miles long, but it has just passed a law banning sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet of schools, playgrounds and parks, recreation and community centers and day care facilities. (see this report from WHEC.com/Ch.6)

….. 2000’………… ……. 2000′ …

1 Comment

  1. I find it fascinating that sex offenders are losing their rights faster than anyone else, simply to please a parent (or a politican looking for more votes) each time something happens, not thinking it out, and realizing that that type of action causes more molestings – By excessively punishing one part of society (for votes), we are creating many more crimes, i.e.: by forced registration of sex offenders, we are ‘thinking’ safe, when in reality 90% of sex offenses are family or friends of family that are on the inside when the door is supposedly locking out the bad guy, thus their guard is down, thus a flourish of molestings in the news. Keep it up with the registration and blaming a few guys for all societal problems and the molesting rates will skyrocket even more! (Or hadn’t you noticed…) Register ALL felons or none, or face molestings by many around you. ALL OR NONE! Simply one example: Drug pushers have sex with hundreds of minors (in trade for sex) but they never tell because the kids want more drugs, and if caught they never register for selling drugs yet they have the highest rate of molesting minors!!! Another example: Within the state of the Columbine shootings there were 17 laws against guns in schools. Afterwards they passed seven more laws about no guns on school property. Did you notice that there have been 23 school shootings AFTER it was publicised so much by politicians wanting to pass more laws just to look good (but putting the ‘shooting’ idea in peoples heads instead). Molesters are the same way…pass more laws, keep it in the news…and you challenge them to act! It’s the politicians LYING about statistics that also cause the problem saying that there is a 60% recidivism rate for sex offenders after being caught – LIE! According to the Department of Justice sex offender have THE lowest rate of recidivism. If they do commit a crime later it’s mostly trying to eat or rob a place because they lost their job, family, house, and any means to make a living. If you are intelligent enough to read my typing, learn this – CRIMINALS DO NOT CARE ABOUT LAWS, POLITICIANS DO! – Pass 10,000,000 laws on not carrying a gun into a school and they will come in hoards with guns! Harass the sex offender more and I GUARANTEE THAT THE MOLESTING RATE WILL CONTINUE TO GO UP EXPONENTIALLY!

    Comment by John Dowds — February 28, 2009 @ 12:12 am

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