The Whittier City Council received a presentation from staff and an election consultant regarding its prior direction to draft a ballot measure that would allow Whittier voters to decide whether the City should prosecute its own misdemeanor offenses. The City Council voiced its interest in bringing the decision to amend the Charter to the voters after expressing concerns over the Special Directives issued by the Los Angeles County District Attorney. Following substantial discussion during its regular meeting on Tuesday, July 12, 2022, the City Council noted the significant financial unknowns associated with taking over all prosecutions as the primary reason to reconsider its advancement of the process.
“Our first responsibility to the people of Whittier is their safety,” stated Whittier Mayor Joe Vinatieri. “Our police department has made over 700 misdemeanor arrests since December 2020, only to have those arrests not prosecuted due to the District Attorney’s Special Directive 20-07. We are committed to making sure that all misdemeanors are prosecuted, and to that end, we have the opportunity as a charter city to address those prosecutions if the people of Whittier agree, through their vote to amend the Whittier City Charter, to add a city prosecutor. However, the costs and infrastructure to do so must be further investigated before a city prosecutor is put to a vote of the people, “he added.
As of July 12, 2022, no formal action was taken by the Whittier City Council to advance the ballot language. The City Council agreed to table the proposed ballot language until the next eligible election if necessary. For more information, please contact the Whittier City Clerk at (562) 567-9850.