Gascón Launches Reelection Bid For LA District Attorney

By David M. Greenwald
Executive Editor

Los Angeles, CA – Having survived multiple recall attempts in his first term, 68 year old DA George Gascón officially launched his reelection on Saturday at the SEIU Local 2015 office in front of a room full of supporters – many of them health care workers.

The DA noted his mother, an immigrant from Cuba often had to toil, working for below minimum wages.

That has translated into a commitment to fight for working people.

“We don’t talk about one of the biggest crimes in our history,” he explained.  “It’s a theft of wages.  A theft of labor.  Billions of dollars each and every year – which impacts all of us by the way, because when you steal from workers, you’re stealing from the tax base of our community. You’re stealing from families. You are taking food away from babies. You are often precluding people from having a roof over their heads.”

Gascón noted support from both Muslim groups and Democrats for Israel.

“for me, the symbolism today of having both Muslim brothers and Democrats for Israel here today touches deeply and it touches deeply because too many people want to divide us,” he said..

“We know there’s a horrible tragedy that is occurring today in the Middle East. We know that there were women and children in Israel that were murdered, and the word is simply murdered. There is no other explanation for it,” he continued. “And we know that tragedy is being visited upon so many families. And this morning I was at a synagogue and people were talking about how to bring people together.”

He said, “This campaign is about bringing people together.”

Gascón also noted that despite the decline in crime, he is being attacked for being soft on crime.

He said, “I find it interesting when Republicans like Ron Desante and fellow presidential run also out on TV and says, while he’s in la, he talks about how crime is out proportion here and how burglars are now being prosecuted and organized retail theft because of George Gascón.”

He said one of his staffer Googled organized retail theft in Florida.

“The first thing that pops up is videos of people storming stores in Miami and other parts of Florida. And then we went to Houston and we looked at some other southern cities. And guess what? It’s a national problem,” he said.

He noted that they aren’t pointing this out because it doesn’t fit their narrative.

He said, “We need to make sure that we do not embrace the narrative that the Republicans have been using for the last 40 years. You can go back to Nixon when we were talking about the war on drugs and the war on crime. And it’s the same thing. And it cycles over and over and over again. Even though today as a nation, we have historically some of the lowest numbers of crime that we’ve ever had.”

He added, “Now we’re seeing crime going down at a very rapid rate and hopefully soon approaching pre pandemic times. And some people say, well, we don’t believe those numbers.”

Gascón pushed back noting that those are the numbers from LAPD and the Sheriff’s Department.

“You believe those numbers two years ago. Why don’t you believe it today? We don’t make the numbers,” he continued.  He added, “But you know what it really tells us is that we can have reform and safety.”

Gascón also pushed back on the notion that he is anti-police.

He said, “the concept that I do not care for police is so foreign to me that I can’t even comprehend. I was a police officer for over 30 years.  LAPD is in my blood, even though I worked in two other agencies thereafter as the chief of police.”

He said, “I also recognize that the credibility of policing, and in fact the welfare of the men and women in uniform depends on the trust of all of our communities. And when all of our communities do not feel that the police is there for them, it creates a hazardous condition for police officers to do the work. It impacts all of our safety. And the system loses credibility.”

Congressman Tony Cardenas noted that Gascón is working “to make (the system) just for everybody.”

He said, “Far too often people like to isolate themselves, especially DA’s, and say, my job is to prosecute and to smash communities and families into believing that that is just, and it is not. Finally, we have a DA who is still prosecuting people and still doing his job, but he’s also recognizing that we need to look at it holistically.”

He added, “we know they’re good young men and women would’ve been spending 5, 10, 15, 20 years behind bars when that did not need to be the case.”

He said, “We know the families that they left behind and that’s what crushes communities.

Assemblymember Tina McKinnor  She explained she worked with a coalition of progressive groups to get George Gascón and Holly Mitchell elected in 2020.

She explained, “I hired a bunch of phone bankers guys, and they were all system impacted people. And so when we got ready to start making our phone calls, they looked at George’s bio, what they were ready to walk out. They said, no, we are not calling for a cop. So no Tina, we’re not doing it.”

She said they had to shut down the Phone Bank for an hour and let the folks do online research.

“So we took the hour, they went online. They found out that George was an ex-cop that wanted to reform the justice system. That was something they didn’t think they would ever see. All he wanted to do guys is make a police accountable. He no longer wanted kids to be prosecuted as an adult. He wanted to limit sentence enhancements and three strikes. He wanted to divert low level misdemeanors in the death penalty work to end cash bail. Wow, that’s amazing,” McKinnor explained.

“So what did they do?” she asked.  “They came back. They were energetic, they went up, they got on the phone. They were so into George, you wouldn’t believe, and they were great phone bankers and they helped us. Not only did they help us win, but they also helped us fight off a recall where it didn’t even get to go to the ballot.”

Councilmember Eunisses Hernandez said, “I have dedicated a decade of my life to working on criminal justice reform issues, abolitionist issues, and trying to repeal laws that have disappeared our people that have criminalized our people, that have disenfranchised our people.”

She explained that she has seen too many people that ended up jailed or criminalized rather than getting support.

She said, “I’m a survivor of sexual assault and the system didn’t keep me safe. It didn’t keep my loved ones safe. Instead of creating collateral consequences, literally disappeared our people. And so that’s why I’ve dedicated myself to trying to repeal these laws, to make this system one that will keep us safe and remove the power from the system that doesn’t keep us safe.”

She talked about her loved ones that try to throw the book at him, a ridiculous case of vandalism and they attempted to add two to five years of gang enhancements on him.

“I organized expungement clinics with many of you in this room,” she said.  “There would be people that would come in with 11, 15 31 convictions on their records. That means they were arrested, went through the court, were that many times and for what? It didn’t work except create collateral consequences.”

She continued, “I think many of us know that there are over 4,800 collateral consequences on the laws and policy books that keep our people from re-franchising, from living in certain places.”

Gascón, she said, “what you represent is a future where people get second chances, where they don’t throw the book at them, where you come back for the people who have been intentionally criminalized and disappeared and brought them back from unjust convictions that the DA’s office has put on them, you have created and implemented policies that prevent our people from getting sucked up in there without any thought.”

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.

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