On the surface, it looks like West Sacramento native Michael Rizo has repaid his debt to society.
After cycling in and out of foster care since he was a toddler, Rizo got caught up in gangs and robberies. Stints in juvenile hall followed, and at 17, he was sentenced to three-and-a-half years in the California Youth Authority for a fight with a rival gang member.
When kids in California enter the juvenile justice system, their families can end up owing thousands of dollars for court and detention fees, even if they have no ability to pay. While several counties stopped collecting the fees in the past year, a state senate committee is convening next week to consider whether or not all expenses imposed on juveniles and their guardians should be cut statewide.
California State Senators Holly J. Mitchell (D-Los Angeles) and Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) recently introduced a bill to eliminate administrative fees across the state for young people involved in the juvenile justice system.
“These fees run counter to the overall purpose of a fair juvenile justice system,” Mitchell said. “The primary goal should always be to help juvenile offenders reenter society so they can be productive and successful.”
Voters want politicians to be bold. They disrespect timidity. And trying to push every Californian into a government-run healthcare system is certifiably bold.The voters’ desire for boldness has a caveat, of course: They’ve got to like what the politician is being bold about.