The proposed legislation
would curb speed shows
and reckless driving
SACRAMENTO – The state Assembly Monday approved a proposed law that could help the Oakland Police Department deal with so-called “sideshows.”
The Assembly voted 65-1 to approve Senate Bill 1489, which has been named the U'Kendra K. Johnson Memorial Act in memory of a 22-year-old Oakland resident who was killed in February during a hit-and-run incident that authorities say was related to sideshow activities.
If made into law, the bill would allow police departments to tow and impound for 30 days the cars of those who engage in illegal speed exhibitions and reckless driving. The cars would not be returned until the owners pay impound fees, currently estimated at about $1,500.
The ‘sideshow’ bill was authored by state Sen. Don Perata, D-Alameda, and was carried in the Assembly by Assemblywoman Wilma Chan, D-Oakland.
Sideshows have been taking place in Oakland since the 1980s. They are loosely organized street gatherings in which participants snake though Oakland neighborhoods and take over streets and parking lots, where crowds stand next to cars that spin doughnuts and burn rubber, sometimes as passengers hang from an open car door or windows.
Oakland city officials say the proposed legislation could be one of the tools that allow them to finally end sideshows in the city, which adds $1.5 million each year to the city's budget in police overtime.
Under the current law, police can only hold impounded vehicles until their owners claim them and pay their fine. City officials claim that the law does little to deter sideshow activity, since some participants have been known to have their cars towed only to return to the streets hours later after paying the fine.
The bill now goes back to the state Senate, which has to approve naming the proposed law after U'Kendra Johnson – an Assembly modification.
The issue is considered non-controversial and the proposed legislation could be on the governor's desk as early as this week.