Alameda DA Pamela Price Recall Vote Part of National Progressive Prosecution Controversy 

Pamela Price at a press conference in September 2021, photo by David Greenwald

By Kaylynn Chang 

ALAMEDA, CA – A recent Politico article revealed not only is Alameda County District Attorney Pamela Price facing a recall vote in November, it reflects the ongoing national debate over progressive criminal justice reform.

This timing, coinciding with the general election, noted the Politico article, may increase Price’s chances of survival because of the higher voter turnout and a potentially more “liberal electorate.” 

The county supervisors had already confirmed the recall but delayed the decision on its timing, giving “Price’s defenders more time to mobilize,” suggest Politico.

Price was elected in 2022 with a commitment to transformative justice and reducing mass incarceration, wrote Politico, adding Price has led her campaign with promises to fight for “shorter sentences, reduce incarceration, and prosecute police officers when she determines they unlawfully use lethal force.”

The article stated that during an intense public comment session, Price’s supporters advocated for the November vote, while opponents preferred a costly special election. Registrar of Voters Tim Dupuis supported the November election, citing lower complexity and cost savings of $15 million to $20 million.

Moreover, the article states Price now faces a recall driven by reported rising crime rates in Oakland that “drew from major real estate and finance interests.” This mirrors the 2022 recall of San Francisco’s Chesa Boudin over similar progressive policies. If recalled, the board would appoint her successor.

According to Politico, Price’s campaign has challenged the recall process, alleging election law violations and slow signature verification by the registrar, and prompted an investigation into potential disclosure violations by a pro-recall committee. 

Because of the Price campaign request, the article reveals the “Fair Political Practices Commission is investigating if a pro-recall committee violated disclosure requirements.”

Looking at the bigger political scene, the Politico article states the recall effort is “dividing local Democrats.”

The Alameda County Democratic Party voted last year to oppose the recall, but Democratic U.S. Rep. Eric Swalwell has criticized Price for being “soft on crime” and urged her to “prosecute more,” a stance that has drawn pushback from Price’s campaign. 

The article said Price’s rebuttal to Swalwell notes it was a “long-standing problem that predates the current DA.” Swalwell, who once worked for Price’s predecessor and recall supporter Nancy O’Malley, declined to comment further.

About The Author

Kaylynn Chang is an undergraduate student at UC Berkeley looking to major in Legal Studies with a strong interest in criminal justice and judicial law. Having years of experence with journalism and leading a publication, she loves to look for the stories of her community, focusing on the hidden voices and intriguing tales of people. She hopes to attend law school in the future, but for now she is looking to gain experience and experiment with her path. A passionate creator, a cafe connoisseur, and a library enthusiast, Kaylynn is always looking for small adventures along with accomplishing big goals.

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