Rancho Santa Margarita's proposed budget for 2011-12 will get a lot of attention at the Wednesday City Council meeting, but some new business being discussed will almost certainly be the most interesting of the night.
Brian Fitzpatrick, a senior deputy district attorney for Orange County, will speak before the council about sex offenders and city parks.
At the request of councilman Steve Baric, a former deputy D.A., the city is considering an ordinance to create a "child safety zone" in city parks and to do so by banning registered sex offenders from such sites.
"Any tools you can give law enforcement to combat sex offenders is important," Baric said. "As it relates to the city, we're lucky in that we've been very safe, but the recent show that no matter how safe we are, we still have scary people in our midst and we have to look at ways to limit access to our kids."
The plan is to enact restrictions similar to the county ordinance proposed by county District Attorney Tony Rackauckas and 4th District Supervisor Shawn Nelson; the county ordinance was passed unanimously by the board of supervisors April 5.
The ordinance makes it a misdemeanor for registered sex offenders to enter county recreational areas—parks, harbors, beaches and playgrounds—where children gather regularly.
Baric said that he broached the subject with city attorney Greg Simonian in December.
"When I was in the gang unit at the D.A.'s office, we had gang injunctions," said Baric, who left the office in 2007 after about 10 years. "I was there when we first started implementing those. That's what spawned the idea in my head—is there something similar to that that we can apply to sex offenders? Then the county started with their ordinance and that's how I ended up with the proposal that I made."
The council will also discuss and perhaps award a contract to RBF Consulting Inc. for project management services in preparation of a feasibility study for the development of the 92-acre Chiquita Ridge property that will eventually include a sports park.
The meeting begins at 7 p.m. at .