The Lake Forest City Council voted to reverse its ban on sex offenders in city parks on last week, and Seal Beach might do the same.
The Seal Beach City Council will meet in closed sessions Monday to discuss the possibility of ending a city law that prohibits sex offenders from Seal Beach recreation areas: parks, the pier, the jetties, the beach and beach parking lots.
In March, the Council created
“We followed along with the very strong suggestion of the County D.A.’s Office that we impose a ban on sex offenders,” said Mayor Mike Levitt in a phone interview with Patch Wednesday. “On Monday, we’re going to consider whether we were a little premature in doing it.”
According to Levitt, proponents of the ordinance told Seal Beach officials that if all cities along the coast created similar legislation, “it would be a safer beach for everyone.”
“At the time, I thought it was a good idea,” Levitt said. “It would be safer for the majority of the citizens of Seal Beach and the visitors."
Levitt said he wanted to reserve judgment on possibly dismantling the law until the Monday meeting.
“I’m not going to be really saying anything (on the reversal) at this point," he said. "I don’t want to prejudge."
The Los Alamitos City Council has no plans at this point to reverse its ordinance banning sex offenders in city parks, according to Los Al Mayor Troy Edgar.
With the support of the Orange County District Attorney’s office, last year the Orange County Board of Supervisors approved a law banning sex offenders from city parks.
A number of cities including Mission Viejo, Seal Beach, Fountain Valley, Los Alamitos and Laguna Niguel created similar bans.
However, a recent appeals panel ruling overturned the conviction of a man who violated the county law. A state court may take up the case.
San Juan Capistrano discussed and ultimately rejected a proposed ban because of liability and legal concerns.
And on Tuesday, citing similar concerns, the Lake Forest City Council reversed its ban, becoming the first Orange County city to do so.
Levitt said the possibility of litigation is one of the main reasons discussing the item on Monday.
“Litigation can be very expensive,” Levitt said. “Economically this is not a good time for a city to take on a huge legal defense. If our stance would lead to expensive litigation, I would have to consider that as a possible reason to change it (the ordinance). I don’t want my city's citizens, taxpayers, saddled with high litigation costs.”
Levitt add that there is always the possibility of legal challenges to any city law.
“You can’t stick your head in the sand and say I will never take an action," Levitt said.
The Monday closed session meeting begins at 5:30 p.m. at City Hall in the Council Chambers, 211 8th Street.
Do you think Seal Beach should reverse its ban on registered sex offenders at the pier, in parks or the beach?