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Original post made
on Sep 10, 2009
I've just become aware of the placement of SVP Donald Robinson in East Palo Alto, a city with which I am very familiar. We have an identical situation here at Desert Center (pop. 300), Riverside County, with an SVP named Steve Willett. Sheriff's deputies informed us of his release on 4 June, but I was able to block the placement for two months due to land issues with his proposed residence. However, Willett did arrive on 2 September.
I have met Dr. DaBell of the Dept. of Mental Health and Jayne Shale of Liberty Healthcare. They were at the last court hearing for Steve Willett in the City of Riverside on 13 August, the day after they were at the hearing in Santa Clara County for Donald Robinson.
Our current position, which is supported by our Assemblyman, Manuel Pérez, is that Riverside County improperly interfered in the placement process. I submitted our legal argument to County officials this week, in preparation for the court filing.
I've contacted Mel Harris and Chris Bischof, members of the core group guiding the EPA opposition to the placement of Donald Robinson. Our group in Desert Center is several months ahead of the EPA group in research, and so I've been able to provide a great deal of information to EPA to save them the effort of uncovering it.
EPA's best chance to prevail is to challenge the process by which Liberty Healthcare selected the EPA residence. Per Welfare & Institutions Code §6608.5.e.2., Robinson should not live in proximity to an individual who fits the age and profile of one of his prior victims. His neighbor to the rear is similar to one of his victims - all he has to do is look over his back fence, and he is looking into the yard of a 92-year-old woman.
The larger issue is that there has been little consistency in the placements of the 17 SVPs released since 2003, and every placement has been exceedingly difficult on the community involved. Several more SVPs are to be released in the next year.
The EPA and Desert Center core groups have agreed to coordinate our efforts at the State level, presumably with the support of our legislative representatives, and will undoubtedly be joined by core groups from other communities as they discover that they are to become host to an SVP. State law is adequate up to the point of community placement, but then there is a gaping hole which has allowed officials, essentially, to "make it up as they go along." The results have proved unduly burdensome for the communities involved.
EPA's immediate concern is, of course, to have Donald Robinson removed, but the larger story at the State level is likely to play out over a much longer period.
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