Guest Commentary: In Response to Submission of Signatures in Effort to Undemocratically Remove DA Price from Office

By William Fitzgerald

(Editor’s Note: Political season is here. The primary is March 5 and the general is in November. The Vanguard will keep readers updated throughout the season on the latest news and announcements. The Vanguard accepts submissions on all sides of issues and campaigns.  Publication on the Vanguard does not imply Vanguard support or endorsement.)

Oakland, CA: On Monday, the group funded by multi-millionaires, including Philip Dreyfuss and Isaac Abid, will submit signatures in an attempt to undermine the results of a free and fair election. Our campaign is demanding that Secretary Shirley Weber, California Secretary of State, immediately dedicate resources to ensure that every single signature is individually reviewed and verified. We’ve received countless reports about deceptive and fraudulent efforts to collect signatures, including eyewitness testimony of petitions being left unattended and fake signature writing.

This effort has the potential to have incredibly serious consequences for our democracy: If successful, the board of supervisors would appoint an unknown individual to complete the remaining four years of DA Price’s term as District Attorney. Such an outcome would signify a serious regression for democracy in Alameda County, reverting to the outdated practice of appointing a District Attorney instead of electing one—a 100-year step backward that the people of Alameda County, residing in what is meant to be a democracy, should find concerning.

The Alameda County Registrar of Voters also informed the public last year that if an election moves forward, it would cost taxpayers $15 to $20 million dollars.

Per the Alameda County Charter, the County now has 10 calendar days to count and verify each and every signature. We will hold them to the law.

This attempt to overturn the election of the first Black DA in the history of Alameda County is not now, nor has it ever been a true people-led grassroots movement. Signature gatherers were paid as much as $9 for each signature collected. Up until the end of January the campaign had spent more than $2.2 million dollars. Dividing that amount by the number of signatures they claim to have collected: Each signature cost them $20. In the coming weeks and months, per a leaked campaign plan from the other side, they plan to raise an additional $4-5 million dollars to remove DA Price from office.

The roots of this attempt to remove the democratically-elected DA belong to a handful of super-rich people, who have propped up a smaller number of political actors to make it appear that Alameda County residents are the motivational force behind this effort. This is a fallacy. That is why people from outside of the county had to be paid to collect the signatures.

This undemocratic effort threatens to undo the strides we’ve made in Alameda County toward a more just and equitable criminal justice system. The biggest property owners in Oakland, such as Isaac Abid of HP Partners and one of the major donors, should not have more of a say in our democracy than anyone else. That’s not democracy.

It is disheartening to think that, if successful, this could jeopardize the historic progress achieved in recent years. DA Pamela Price represents a significant departure from the outdated method of appointing a DA in Alameda County. DA Price is the first non-anointed and non-appointed District Attorney in 100 years. Her election marks a departure from the old ways and symbolizes a century-long struggle for genuine electoral representation.

We urge our community to stand with us to defend the principles of democracy.

William Fitzgerald is the Protect The Win Campaign spokesperson 

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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