Maneuvering Continues in Pamela Price Recall Election as the DA Gains Some Important Support This Week

Pamela Price at a press conference back in September 2021

By David M. Greenwald
Executive Editor

Oakland, CA – The recall election of Pamela Price, who was elected to office in November of 2022, has not even qualified yet, and there is already tremendous legal wrangling over a proposal by the Alameda County Board of Supervisors that could significantly alter the current county recall law.

As David Carpenter, Gillian H. Clow, and Brooke H. Bolender point out in Law.com, the proposal is “deceptively simple.”

It reads, “California state law applicable to the recall of county officers shall govern the recall of County of Alameda elected officers.”

However, they argue, “Making this change and linking Alameda County’s recall procedure to state law may create rather than solve problems, dilute the local electorate’s direct democracy powers, and cede local control to the state.”

At issue is the legislative reform instituted after Governor Newsom won his recall vote in 2022.

The writers point out that one of the major changes “abolished the replacement race for recalled local officials.”

They write, “Under the new law, affected localities must use the ‘automatic replacement’ or ‘by law’ model, where the official is replaced by succession or by appointment. This means that the affected local voters may no longer choose the new official who will replace the recalled officer.”

In the meantime, legal counsel for Pamela Price point out that the Board is considering putting a proposed amendment to County Charter section 62 on the March 2024 ballot.

Her attorneys argue “even if the Board places the proposed Charter amendment on the March 2024 ballot as drafted, and even if the voters enact the amendment, it will not take effect until after the Registrar’s office finalizes the results of this election and the Board certifies these election results.”

Their concern relates to “the current requirement that the individuals who are circulating recall petitions must be registered voters in the County.  The proposal would eliminate this current requirement.”

They argue that “the current version of Charter section 62 will govern the process for verifying the signatures regardless of the outcome of the election.”

They further note, “A recall is an extreme action about unseating a democratically elected representative from office.  Current Charter section 62 recognizes that it is not appropriate to allow individuals who live outside of the County to attempt to overturn the will of Alameda County voters, or to allow special interests from outside the County to interfere with a purely local election.”

Thus, in their view, “the County must follow County law until instructed by an appellate court to do otherwise, the Registrar’s office must reject any and all recall petitions which were circulated by anyone other than County voters, regardless of the proposed amendment to section 62.”

The maneuvering comes during a week when Pamela Price has gained significant support in her efforts to remain in office for her currently elected term.

Los Angeles DA George Gascón, who has survived two recall attempts and is currently vying for election to a second term in Los Angeles County, told the Vanguard on Tuesday, “It’s getting difficult to keep count of all the efforts to overturn voters’ choices of District Attorneys, School Board Members over issues of LGBTQ inclusion and safety, and other local offices across the state.”

Gascón added, “It’s become a cottage industry, which, among other things, generates massive amounts of misinformation that only distract from the work that local officials need to focus on in collaboration with the community.”

Opponents of Price blame her for the rise of crime in Alameda County, but supporters point out that this has been a long-standing problem.

For instance, one analysis in 2022 in the San Francisco Chronicle noted, “Oakland’s crime rates are significantly higher than those of other California cities. The Chronicle compared Oakland’s violent crime rate with those of eight other California cities closest to it in size and found that Oakland had the highest violent crime rate of all of them in 2022, with 1,500 violent crimes for every 100,000 residents.”

The ACLU of Northern California in opposing her recall this week and noted, “To blame DA Price for crime problems that have been decades in the making is blatantly dishonest.”

Like Gascón in Los Angeles, Price was “decisively elected on a platform that challenged the status quo by promising meaningful and compassionate public safety solutions that are consistent with the values of civil liberties and civil rights that Alameda County residents voted for and the ACLU supports,” the ACLU said.

They noted, “During her short time in office, she has held individuals who commit serious crimes accountable.”

“Yet at the same time, Price has acknowledged the baked in racism within the criminal legal system and advocated for policies that would reduce mass incarceration. Price has also made it a priority to prosecute rogue cops, finally holding police accountable to the public they have sworn to protect,” praised the ACLU of Northern California.

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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