You have got to be kidding me.
San Francisco is seriously looking at making job seekers with criminal records a protected class, giving equal standing to non-discriminatory classes such as race or gender. Please note they do not currently plan on giving this protection to individuals with sexual or violent offenses.
Now, I know, there are already federal guidelines on how employers may use the criminal records of job applicants.
And I know California is a very pro-employee rights state, having worked there numerous times over the past 20 years.
So believe me, it already isn’t easy to be an employer in California.
In fact, I have often wondered why any company would ever have a facility in California because it is so unfriendly to employers.
Could you imagine having to hire a convicted embezzler to manage your company’s finances because he is the most qualified?
But as with all things, there could be an up-side if this goes into effect.
As most people know, the Kansas prison system is overextended. The cost to incarcerate criminals is a huge burden to the taxpayer.
So what if we got a little creative in the court system?
Instead of sentencing non-violent, non-sexual offenders to prison time, what if we gave offenders money for a few months of rent and a plane ticket to San Francisco, on the condition they did not re-enter the state without permission, until restitution is paid or for a certain period of time?
What would it cost, maybe $5,000 to $10,000 per offender?
It could save Kansas some big bucks.
Because we would be removing so many criminals from the streets, Kansas could become the “Safe State” where families and individuals looking for a safer place to live and raise their children could come.
Couldn’t you imagine it?
Convicted marijuana producers would be gone — they may even stay in California where marijuana is legal to grow!
Meth addicts could get help through California’s state-funded rehab programs.
California would offer offenders better opportunities in a less restrictive environment.
And, of course, if any of our offenders repeat, well then, that would be California’s problem.
You know, now that I think about it, maybe it’s not such a bad direction for California to go.
Besides, there are probably a few Enron executives still looking for a good management position.
Hmm, maybe the San Francisco controller’s office is hiring.
(Mary Hoisington is the publisher of the Great Bend Tribune. Her e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org)