As organizers of a drive to recall Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón claim their momentum has him “running scared,” leaders from 24 cities have now issued votes of “no confidence” in his policies.
The Southern California News Group (SCNG) reported that the La Verne City Council voted 3-2 on Monday “to condemn directives from the District Attorney’s Office, calling the policies a risk to public safety.”
Gascón was elected in November 2020 and issued a set of special orders in December that sparked a backlash from law enforcement groups, deputy DAs in his own office, and families impacted by violent crime. The directives included stopping the practice of trying juveniles as adults, ending cash bail for low-level nonviolent offenses, taking the death penalty off the table, and a ban on prosecutors seeking all sentencing enhancements – a change that he later scaled back after public outcry.
La Verne Mayor Tim Hepburn reportedly said, “This is making it that the criminals have more rights than the victims, it is just not right.”
According to SCNG, the two councilmembers who voted against Monday’s resolution asked “to table the decision until after a potential community meeting with Gascón’s office.” Officials had requested a representative from the D.A.’s office attend the meeting but did not receive a response, La Verne’s city manager said.
Leaders in San Dimas approved a similar motion last week, describing Gascón’s directives as “detrimental to the city.” The other cities that have adopted no-confidence resolutions are Santa Clarita, Beverly Hills, Pico Rivera, Whittier, La Mirada, Covina, Lancaster, Rosemead, Azusa, Santa Fe Springs, Diamond Bar, Redondo Beach, Arcadia, Manhattan Beach, Palos Verdes Estates, San Gabriel, Temple City, La Habra Heights, Hidden Hills, Norwalk, Torrance, and Walnut.
BREAKING NEWS: The La Verne City Council makes it #24 tonight with their “No Confidence” vote in LA DA George Gascón’s directives.
— jonathanhatami (@jonathanhatami) July 20, 2021
L.A. County Deputy District Attorney Jon Hatami, a 15-year veteran of the prosecutors office, has been a vocal critic of Gascón. Hatami has accused him of implementing “blanket policies” based on a political agenda while abandoning victims of violent crime, their families, and public safety.
Gascón has portrayed the effort to oust him as a “right-wing recall attempt” funded by some of the same “mega-donors” who backed former President Donald J. Trump.
Desiree Andrade, a lead organizer with the Recall Gascón campaign, however, says she is a registered Democrat and insists the effort “is far from a political issue.” Andrade’s son was murdered in 2018. She said she opposes Gascón because her son’s killers will be eligible for parole under his new policies.
Recall organizers must collect 579,062 valid signatures from registered voters in the county by October 27 to trigger a recall. If they are successful, voters would likely decide Gascón’s fate in a special election next year. Last week, leaders of the effort sent an email to supporters that said their campaign had gathered more than 100,000 signatures, raised $1,000,000, and enlisted more than 1,000 volunteers countywide.