Gascón recall Proponents Deliver 717,000 Signatures to County

Former DA Steve Cooley, one of the recall organizers, called the campaign ‘a Herculean effort with a lot of moving parts to obtain the signatures’

Campaign organizers seeking to recall embattled Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón submitted 717,000 signatures to election officials Wednesday, July 6, hoping to force an election that could oust him after less than two years on the job.

A group of sign-waving recall supporters, many of them families of murder victims critical of Gascon’s policies, greeted a truck that delivered the petitions to the Los Angeles County Registrar’s Office in Norwalk. Supporters need 566,857 signatures — representing 10% of the total registered voters in the county at the time of the November 2020 election that Gascon won — to qualify the recall for the ballot.

Supporters hope the extra signatures will provide a sufficient cushion to allow for disqualified signatures.

“It was a Herculean effort with a lot of moving parts to obtain the signatures,” said former Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley, who is co-chairman of campaign to recall Gascon.

Wednesday was the county deadline to submit the recall petitions. Cooley predicted that if the signatures are certified, Gascón will be turned out of office in a landslide.

30 days to verify signatures

The county will have 30 days to verify the signatures before scheduling a recall vote.

“They are still determining whether they will count the entire submission, or only a 5% sample batch,” campaign spokesman Tim Lineberger said. “If the recall ultimately qualifies, it would likely take place in a special election early next year. For it to appear on the November ballot, the process would likely need to be expedited.”

If the recall issue qualifies, the same ballot will ask voters to choose a replacement candidate for district attorney. The candidate with the most votes would capture the election outright without a runoff election.

While the initial campaign to recall Gascón fizzled early last year due to a lack of signatures and the onslaught of the COVID-19 pandemic, the rebooted effort that began in October has received a groundswell of public support and endorsements from unlikely political corners.

“This effort was different from the first effort in that skilled professionals took over the reins of the effort,” Cooley said. “They were very dedicated to the cause. The first effort was buoyed by a lot of enthusiasm but not the leadership nor organization to obtain the needed signatures in the required time frame. There were lessons learned from the first unsuccessful effort, the most important of which is that certain skill sets are vitally required to succeed in a recall effort.”

Recall proponents

The Los Angeles Association of Deputy District Attorneys, the Los Angeles Police Protective League, the Los Angeles County Professional Peace Officers Association along with county Supervisor Kathryn Barger have endorsed the recall.

“I typically support election outcomes as a way of respecting the public’s right to choose, but our D.A.’s policies have led to disastrous consequences,” Barger said in a statement issued in May. “Public safety in L.A. County has visibly deteriorated. I believe Gascón must be replaced with someone that is committed to championing victims’ rights, safety and justice.”

In a stunning reversal, former Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck withdrew his support for Gascón, saying the public would be better served by a district attorney who “emphasizes the rights of victims and the safety of our police officers.”

Gascón did not respond to a request for comment Wednesday, directing inquiries to his campaign spokesperson.

“We are waiting to hear the official count of validated signatures,” Elise Moore, his spokesperson, said in an email. “This will likely take several weeks. In the meantime, we remain focused on the work of keeping communities safe and creating a more equitable justice system, as we have been since day one.”

Reform has ‘broad support’

Cristine Soto DeBerry, executive director of the Prosecutors Alliance of California, said the recall effort is being bankrolled by “fringe conservatives, political operatives, and mega-donors” that support former President Donald Trump and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

“Criminal justice reform has broad support from people across the political spectrum as voters know the status quo has failed them on every level,” DeBerry said in a statement. “This is a system defined by soaring rates of recidivism, shocking levels of racial disparities and wasteful spending of taxpayer money. It is a system that created a revolving door from the streets to our jails and prisons while ignoring the underlying problems that drive crime in the first place.”

DeBerry added that Gascón, who served 30 years with the LAPD and previously as San Francisco district attorney, was elected to prioritize “safety, accountability, healing and justice.”

Click here to read the full article in the Los Angeles Daily News

Comments

  1. Philip Gallanders says

    Good.

    Let the Recall bring a much-needed healing and cleansing to the District Attorney’s office. By removing the cause of the dangerous unsafe policy foisted by the current LADA, L.A. will be safer, villains will be taken off the streets and crime rates should fall.

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