Commentary: Why Will Arnold’s Endorsement Might Be a Gamechanger in the DA’s Race

DA Jeff Reisig

Councilmember Arnold Exposes Reisig as Being Way Out of Step on Gun Control

We get caught up in the endorsement game.  It is interesting to see who will endorse whom.  And there is a piece angry at Bill Dodd and Cecilia Aguiar-Curry for supporting Jeff Reisig for Yolo DA.  But at the end of the day, most endorsements mean very little.

But that might be different for Will Arnold – although perhaps not in the conventional sense.  It is good news for Dean Johansson, who has largely been shut out of official endorsements from the Woodland and West Sacramento City Councils, that he has gotten Brett Lee and now Will Arnold.

The focus of this election has rightly been on the big issues facing the local prosecution of cases.  Indeed, a primary reason identified by Councilmember Arnold is criminal justice reform.  He cited the fact that Dean Johansson “is a proponent of Governor Brown’s criminal justice reform efforts, which have been strongly supported by Yolo County voters.”

He writes, “Unfortunately, our current District Attorney has consistently opposed those reforms.  It’s time for a change.”

We have referenced the fact that the DA opposed AB 109, opposed Prop. 47, opposed the death penalty reforms, and opposed Prop. 57, among other things.  Heck, he was even one of four DAs to oppose Prop. 64, the legalization of recreational marijuana, an issue where Will Arnold has been a strong proponent.

We know about all of that.

But the bigger news is that Will Arnold may have found an issue that no one seemed to know about – even me.  We all know about the record of the DA on law and order issues and mass incarceration, but what about guns?

Guns?

In 2010, the US Supreme Court issued a landmark decision, McDonald v. Chicago, in which it found that the right for an individual to keep and bear arms was protected under the Second Amendment.  According to Wikipedia, “The decision cleared up the uncertainty left in the wake of District of Columbia v. Heller as to the scope of gun rights in regard to the states.”

It turns out that the Yolo County DA (see page 70 of the amicus brief) signed onto a brief signed by 34 other California elected DAs “concerned with protecting the public safety benefits of citizens possessing firearms for self-defense.”

As pointed out, the post-Heller cases which includes McDonald and others, argue that the Second Amendment should be applied to the state and local governments through “selective incorporation.”

Among those in dissent were Justice John Stevens and Justice Stephen Breyer.  In his dissent, Justice Breyer wrote, “In sum, the Framers did not write the Second Amendment in order to protect a private right of armed self defense. There has been, and is, no consensus that the right is, or was, ‘fundamental.'”

This was a big victory because it applied Heller, filed by the NRA to challenge local gun control measures, to the states and challenged very basic levels of gun control..

In their amicus, Jeff Reisig and others cited the Heller decision which stated, “It is not the role of this Court to pronounce the Second Amendment extinct.”

They write: “Having saved the Second Amendment from that fate, it is equally true that it is not the role of this Court to deem Second Amendment rights less worthy of incorporation than other rights of the people enumerated in the Bill of Rights.”

They add, “Accurately considered the ‘true palladium of liberty,’ the people’s right to keep and bear arms should be incorporated into the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, and rightfully take its place alongside all the other fundamental rights that the right to arms secures.”

The amici wrap their argument in the right to bear arms, which they argue is “inextricably tied to the equally fundamental right to defend oneself,” but if we take a look at the specifics of McDonald, it is important to note that the specifics are not infringing on either the right to bear arms or the right to defend themselves, but rather the registration of handguns – the most basic levels of gun control.

It is not even control – it is licensing and accountability, and it is that which Jeff Reisig was fighting against in signing onto the amicus brief.

McDonald challenged four broad aspects of Chicago’s gun registration law:

  • Prohibit the registration of handguns, thus effecting a broad handgun ban
  • Require that guns be registered prior to their acquisition by Chicago residents
  • Mandate that guns be re-registered annually, with another payment of the fee
  • Render any gun permanently non-registrable if its registration lapses

As Will Arnold writes, “Of special concern to me is the issue of gun violence.  It is both a national and local issue.  I was disappointed to learn that our current District Attorney signed on in support of the NRA lawsuit to restrict local and state gun control efforts.  As a locally elected official who represents a community that wants to reduce gun violence, I want a District Attorney who shares that priority. This is a rare opportunity for Yolo County voters who share my concern about gun violence to send a message on this issue.”

Councilmember Arnold has now opened a whole new front in the DA’s race that we will be exploring in the coming weeks and months.  And it seems that Jeff Reisig is not only out of touch with the county on criminal justice reform issues, but also on the very basics of gun control.

—David M. Greenwald reporting


Enter the maximum amount you want to pay each month
$USD
Sign up for

About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

Related posts

24 thoughts on “Commentary: Why Will Arnold’s Endorsement Might Be a Gamechanger in the DA’s Race”

  1. Liz Kelly

    God bless Will! Thank you Will for seeing through Mr. Reisig. Many of us want a change and it’s great to see a council member of my hometown of Davis step up and say he’s concerned about Reisig. Many of us are.

  2. Howard P

    I still opine that endorsements, in large measure, are silly and/or useless unless they come from someone with some “gravitas”…

    I glance at them, but never give them much weight, excepting if they give their reasons, and if those reasons resonate with my views (lens) … I will consider Will’s reasons… but don’t care much about the identification as a CC member…

    Those who base their votes on endorsements, absent weighing the reasons, remind me of sheep (aka “bullet voters” [pun unintended]).

    Y’all can make your decisions, or predictions of outcomes, any way you wish…

    But I encourage all to think through what you know of a candidate, and/or their stated positions… then VOTE!  I’ll be in one of the precincts to assist you in that process.

     

     

    1. David Greenwald Post author

      The question posed here is actually an amicus brief filed by the Yolo DA opposing gun control measures not Will’s endorsement.  It is an issue I have no seen raised before.  You don’t address that issue in your post.

      1. Howard P

        The question posed here is actually an amicus brief filed by the Yolo DA opposing gun control measures not Will’s endorsement.

        fooled me, with the caption,

        Commentary: Why Will Arnold’s Endorsement Might Be a Gamechanger in the DA’s Race, and,

        As Will Arnold writes, “Of special concern to me is the issue of gun violence.  It is both a national and local issue.  I was disappointed to learn that our current District Attorney signed on in support of the NRA lawsuit to restrict local and state gun control efforts.  As a locally elected official who represents a community that wants to reduce gun violence, I want a District Attorney who shares that priority. This is a rare opportunity for Yolo County voters who share my concern about gun violence to send a message on this issue.”

        Councilmember Arnold has now opened a whole new front in the DA’s race that we will be exploring in the coming weeks and months.  And it seems that Jeff Reisig is not only out of touch with the county on criminal justice reform issues, but also on the very basics of gun control.

        1. Howard P

          Suggest you re-read how you captioned, what was included in the piece you wrote, and your statement,

          The question posed here is actually an amicus brief filed by the Yolo DA opposing gun control measures not Will’s endorsement.

           

        2. David Greenwald

          “But the bigger news is that Will Arnold may have found an issue that no one seemed to know about – even me.  We all know about the record of the DA on law and order issues and mass incarceration, but what about guns?”

          That was the point of the commentary – the gun issue.

      2. Ann Block

        In addition, David, you might have mentioned in your article, that the Woodland and West Sac endorsements of Reisig happened when he was running unopposed???  Big difference now that people have a choice.  Not sure why you are not ever getting this…

  3. PhilColeman

    Some suggestions for all tying to catch the fancy of the Yolo electorate to chose Mr. Johannson over the incumbent district attorney.  The last two columns in this publication is a continuation of a series of support for  the challenger. This all good, and part of our representative form of government. Unfortunately from the Johannson perspective, there’s also open and subliminal  support shown for his opponent.

    Don’t say, “gamechanger,” as it concedes that the current strategy “exposing” Reisig is simply not working. It’s true but you don’t need to say it. Changing the game plan during the game gives a public impression of increasing desperation.

    When “Top Democrats in Northern California” are openly criticized for endorsing the incumbent Yolo district attorney, it “exposes” the reality that Reisig has the support of the vast majority of elected public officials at the local, regional, and state level. Johannson’s political endorsement count is two, who pale by comparison, numerically and politically.  Bad move.

    Don’t include a posed smiley-face photograph of the incumbent as part of your attack on Reisig. Your guy needs the recognition. When you attack  the Democratic party (the reigning power in this State and more so in Davis) this is the constituency your candidate must have. What does assailing its past and present leadership, complete with photographs, do for your candidate? These highly successful long-term political leaders were described as “out of touch.”  So how did they become such effective leaders and achieve long-term success far greater than any accuser could present?

    If somebody wants to attack Reisig on the matter of gun control, be absolutely certain the Yolo electorate agrees this is a “gamechanger.” You’ll probably find that the majority voters of Yolo residents don’t share that same level of passion or concern of the level of gun violence in this County.

    Published case law arguments are boring. Should one want to persist anyway, be sure to delete the bio entry showing that the current DA was three times chosen the Yolo prosecutor of the year and has been serving in that public office for the past 12 years.

     

     

    1. Eric Gelber

      Don’t say “gamechanger.”

      This admonition might have relevance if you were advising the Johansson campaign itself; but the two articles referenced were not written by the campaign—written by supporters of the candidate, maybe, but not put out on behalf of the Johansson campaign. So, it’s unclear why you’d advise the authors to not express their opinions (an issue is a gamechanger) or relate facts (e.g., that top Democrats have endorsed the incumbent).

      As to the prosecutor of the year award, this is one of many recognitions within the DA’s office voted on by DA office staff. No big surprise they voted for the boss—albeit only 3 times in 12 years.

      1. David Greenwald

        Clarification on prosecutor of the year: The reference is from the screen shot from the Amicus Brief.  That was filed in 2009.  I believe those awards came when he was a deputy DA, ie, prior to 2007.

  4. Tia Will

    has been serving in that public office for the past 12 years.”

    Unopposed. So we really don’t know how long he would have served had there been an alternative.

    Another point mentioned but not stressed is the timing of endorsements. The current DA began his quest for endorsements when he was still unopposed. Some of his endorsers, according to private conversations with me, agreed to endorse so early simply because they were asked to do so without benefit of hearing alternative views from a viable alternative candidate.

    1. Howard P

      Gotta protect “sources” (endorsers) who have confided to you they might have wanted a “re-do”…

      Yet, they still can if they were inclined to… that could be a true “game-changer”…

      Or, perhaps they were just telling you what they thought you wanted to hear?

      Nahh… no politician would do that!

      1. Ken A

        I have had friends work for Republican and Democratic congressmen and congresswomen in DC that have told me that one job for staffers it to write BS responses for the elected official to respond to voters that don’t like the way he or she voted (this is especially critical if leadership “needs” the vote and in one of the rare cases they force a guy or gal to vote against the majority of the people in their district).  The percentage of elected officials at the county, state and federal level like our outgoing Mayor Rob who is an honorable man that actually ran for office to “serve” is so low it rounds to zero and the remaining ~99.55 will say anything to make people happy in the hope of getting re-elected and “moving up”…

      2. Tia Will

        Nahh… no politician would do that!”

        Nope. Although I can see how you could see it that way. My certainty comes from the fact that I consider them personal friends as well as politicians. But of course, you had not way of knowing that.

  5. Jeff M

    Due to Davis’s high population of voters that reject every development project while the rest of the region grows, Davis voters owning a different world-view than the average in Y0lo Country have lost relevancy in the county elections.  And when I talk to the voters in the other cities in Yolo County… there is a common theme to vote for any candidate that is disliked by the activists that seem to dominate Davis politics.

    And when I hear this I am again reminded how wonderful democracy can be.

    If you like low crime and greater safety in your neighborhood, vote for Jeff Reisig.

    If you think criminals are victims that just need more public assistance to help them better behave, then vote for Dean Johansson.

    And with respect to gun control, the Davis activists are wanting their cake and eat it to.  They block development attempting to keep Davis as a rural farming community instead of allowing it to grow into a more urban community, and then reject the lifestyle and values that come with being a rural farming community.

    1. David Greenwald Post author

      “And with respect to gun control, the Davis activists are wanting their cake and eat it to.  They block development attempting to keep Davis as a rural farming community instead of allowing it to grow into a more urban community, and then reject the lifestyle and values that come with being a rural farming community.”

      I get your point, I don’t know that you’re right.

      I pulled three samples to demonstrate it.

      Prop 47 in 2014

      Overall passed with 61.3 percent

      Davis supported it with 72.9 percent

      outside of Davis 53%

      REISIG OPPOSED

      Prop 64in 2016

      Overall passed with 60.5 percent of the vote

      Davis supported it with 69 percent

      Outside of Davis support it with 54.5 percent

      REISIG OPPOSED

      Prop 57 in 2016

      Overall passed with 68%

      Davis supported with 72.9

      Outside of Davis 66.7

      REISIG OPPOSED

       

      What is your take away?  I see the county overall passed these measures.  Davis passed them more.  But the county minus Davis is at odds with Reisig.

      I don’t have anything on gun control

      1. Jeff M

        That is reasonable data to make your point.

        However, it is now 2018 and the population of Yolo Country has increased.  In fact, it had the highest population increase in the state from 2015 through the end of 2017.

        I believe that the numbers that oppose prop-57 have increased with the obvious proof that it has led to more crime in many neighborhoods in Yolo County.

        My point about Davis residents wanting their cake and eat it too was not a point about the voting majority, it was a point about Davis activists.  As of right now I can hear the guns going off from the shooting range west of town.

        1. David Greenwald

          A lot of speculation without data to confirm it.  You could be right, I just wanted to make the point that Davis while influential isn’t completely driving the boat in Yolo.

    2. Tia Will

      If you like low crime and greater safety in your neighborhood, vote for Jeff Reisig.”

      I would like to rephrase this from my perspective.

      “If you like low crime and greater safety in your neighborhood, you are in complete agreement with everyone else.” This is what we all want.

      However, if what you want is low crime and greater safety delivered in a cost effective manner without over charging leading to futile trials and expensive over incarceration, vote for Dean Johansson.

      The current DAs actions have included:

      1. High rate of trials compared with other counties coupled with high rate of acquittals/dismissals.

      2. Regular overcharging. Best example is 8 years of incarceration at a cost of $600,000 + for a three strike bag of cheese worth less than $5.00 on a third strike.

      3. Known meth dealer and father of four ( Frank Dees) allowed to walk free in our communities dealing and fathering yet another meth addicted baby ( think of the NICU costs for both baby Justice and his 1/2 sibling) in exchange for testimony desired by the current DA to clinch a desired conviction. And I would love to hear anyone spin this as “law and order”, “safer communities” or “cost effective”.

      4. As not only admitted but proudly proclaimed as policy in person at the Citizens Academy: Targeting neighborhoods by ethnic group, choice of clothing color, “hanging out” in their own neighborhood, “associating with” their own relatives and neighbors….to be specially questioned and or charged….as though that is not what all of us do, every day.

      If you do not want your DA to behave as in the above actual cases, I recommend considering a vote for Dean Johansson.

       

Leave a Reply

X Close

Newsletter Sign-Up

X Close

Monthly Subscriber Sign-Up

Enter the maximum amount you want to pay each month
$ USD
Sign up for