Three enthusiastic signature gatherers stood in front of the American River College cafeteria on Monday, Jan. 16, 2012, meeting, greeting, and discussing the current condition of California’s sex offender law. Anthony Richards, 36, of East Bay Petitions, a professional signature collection company, was the event coordinator. He was asking students to join in the effort to increase the penalties for sex offenders. His company’s goal: to get 300,000 signatures before the end of March in order for the bill to get on this November’s ballot.
Richards, who started as a volunteer, and is now a paid signature gatherer for democratic issues said, “I’m proud of the fact that we are helping our community. We are doing things that people are not usually thinking about.”
Also recruiting students to sign the petition on Monday were Earl Walker, 35, and Paul Williams, 28, both from East Bay Petitions. Walker stated that they had already gathered nearly 300 signatures by noon.
Walker displayed high energy as he reached out to students as they walked by, convincing them to sign the petition. “We meet the most basic need of the democratic process, education and action,” Walker said.
Assembly bill 1844 was being proposed by Republican Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher, who states on his webpage, “The bill seeks to increase the penalties, parole provisions, and oversight for the worst of the worst sex offenders in society; the violent sexual predator that attacks children. It also implements a series of legal provisions and programs commonly referred to as the ‘Containment Model,’ which will help reduce recidivism, preserve state resources, and better protect our communities.”
Kamryn Londenber, 20, a current ARC student, signed the petition and said, “I knew a sex offender, and he had no reason to change because he got out of jail too soon. This is something I believe in. Sex offenders get off too easy.”
Williams said, “I just want to get out of myself, so I can give back to my community. If we’re not willing to clean up our own backyard, how will we change the world?”