What happens when a sexual predator is set to be released into a neighborhood, but the people who already live there are against it?
The answer, apparently, is nothing. Just ask the residents that live near 10320 East Ave. Q in the Sun Village/Littlerock area. Their new neighbor, Calvin Grassmier, was set to be released from a state hospital on Tuesday and taken to the neighborhood on East Avenue Q, where he will live.
Superior Court Judge James Bianco granted the man’s placement in the East Avenue Q house, on Sept. 1, at the request of the California Department of State Hospitals. Since that day, demonstrators have been in front of the house with signs, pans, whistles and noisemakers.
Georgia Halliman, a Keppel Union School District trustee, said in a Wednesday Antelope Valley Press report, that they’ve been out there since before the Sept. 1 court date. She said the protesters have been in front of the house in the morning and afternoon, but since Grassmier will be there under 24-hour surveillance seven days a week, the protesters plan to be there morning, noon and night.
We don’t blame them and wonder why the judge decided this is the best place for Grassmier to live — especially when the house is in close proximity to at least two schools. Furthermore, if he must be under constant surveillance, wouldn’t he have been better off remaining in a state hospital, rather than being allowed to live amongst the general public?
Bianco rejected a bid to have Grassmier placed in the Briggs Terrace neighborhood of La Crescenta, due in part, to the significant number of people living in close proximity to the proposed location and the fact that inconsistent cell phone reception was an issue. Strong cell phone service is needed for GPS monitoring, which is what Grassmier will be on.
The win for people in the Briggs Terrace neighborhood was a loss for those in the East Avenue Q neighborhood. Despite the proximity of the home to the two schools, it’s unclear why Bianco decided the Antelope Valley would be the best place for Grassmier. Perhaps it’s because it’s more rural? Or maybe he decided on the “out of sight, out of mind,” approach, thinking that placing him in a home in the desert is better than allowing him to reside in a more populated area.
Whatever the reason, we disagree with the judge’s decision. Regardless of whether the person is being monitored 24/7, no one wants a sexually violent predator living in their neighborhood. Shame on Bianco for not considering this decision more carefully. Just because the Antelope Valley is more rural than La Crescenta, doesn’t mean predators should be placed here. The best place for Grassmier is the state hospital, where he’s been living up to this point.