National City’s lawmakers voted unanimously Tuesday night to remove an ordinance restricting predatory sex offenders from parks and other places where children gather.
The 2005 rule said convicted sex offenders must stay 300 feet away from schools and parks. So why did the city council make such an unpopular move?
The short answer is a 2014 court ruling gave the city council no choice. Earlier this year, a state appeals court ruled California has jurisdiction to regulate sex offenders, not individual cities.
U.S. & World
News from around the country and around the globe
“In a way it doesn’t make sense, but under the democracy we have, people are allowed to do that,” said Manuel Rodriguez, National City chief of police.
National City leaders say they’ll now fight to help change California law.
“There may be opportunities for the legislature to enact ordinances that provide some of the restrictions like some of the ordinances, like in National City, have done,” said Rodriguez.
The ordinance also came under fire in April when registered sex offender Frank Lindsay of Grover Beach, California, sued the city, claiming the measure “diminished” his ability to live.
He said the rule affected a vacation to National City because it limited where he could travel.
“That's not allowing me to enjoy my wholeness. I couldn't do anything but sit in their house," Lindsay told KSBY-TV at the time.
Lindsay was convicted of lewd and lascivious acts with a child under 14 in 1979. He says it was an error he made and has lived 35 years as an upstanding citizen, working for a nonprofit called Reform Sex Offender Laws.
The group was part lawsuits against 71 California cities to change municipal ordinances limiting convicted sex offenders’ movements.
City officials say Lindsay's case had nothing to do with the ordinance's repeal; it was in the works before the lawsuit was filed.
After the appeals court ruling came down, Mayor Ron Morrison told NBC 7 police would no longer enforce the ordinance.