AMAC Exclusive – By Andrew Abbott
It’s been just under three weeks since San Francisco voters recalled their radically progressive District Attorney, Chesa Boudin, and already Californians look poised to take down another radical DA just to the South – Los Angeles top prosecutor George Gascon. Gascon assumed office 11 months after Boudin thanks in large part to massive donations from progressive megadonor George Soros, but is now facing his second recall effort in as many years. If polls are correct, he may not survive this time around.
The first recall effort against Gascon – which began just months after he took office – fell short of the signature requirements to make it to a city-wide ballot. This time around, however, the backlash against Gascon’s radical policies appears far more robust. According to the latest reporting, the Recall Gascon Campaign has already gathered well over the 569,000 signatures needed to advance the measure to the ballot this fall. However, the recall campaign has continued to work to gather more, as all signatures must be verified. By some estimates, up to 30% of signatures will be discarded as either unverifiable or duplicates, meaning that the campaign likely will need around 700,000 signatures to safely ensure that the recall measure will indeed make it on the ballot.
As the Recall campaign has grown, it has continued to find unprecedented support among normally liberal enclaves of voters. On Wednesday, The El Monte City Council gave a unanimous vote of ‘no confidence’ against Gascon. In the resolution, they state that they “believe that DA Gascon’s policies have now been shown to be detrimental to public safety in El Monte and Los Angeles County, and also detrimental to the goal we share, of rehabilitating people away from criminal activity, as shown by the high failure rate of DA Gascon’s policy of not holding people accountable for their criminal acts.”
The resolution makes El Monte the 35th local governing body in LA County to pass a vote of “no confidence” against the Los Angeles DA. The majority of these cities and localities specifically cite his “woke” criminal justice policies as making their citizens and communities less safe.
The El Monte City Council resolution was prompted by the murder earlier this year of two city police officers by a violent criminal whom Gascon’s policies had allowed back on the streets. The perpetrator, Justin Flores, was arrested in 2021 for charges relating to illegal drug and gun possession, just the latest in a string of crimes for Flores that included a prior conviction and prison sentence for car theft, a second prison term for burglary, being a member of a violent gang, and multiple misdemeanors from 2013-2020. Despite this extensive criminal background, Gascon declined to seek jail time for Flores and, instead, sought his release on probation. On June 14th, he shot and killed Corporal Michael Paredes and Officer Joseph Santana before taking his own life after a standoff with police.
In yet another sign of his callous indifference to the harm his policies are causing, Gascon has dismissed criticism for his lenient sentence, stating “He [Flores] was arrested for possession of drugs and possession of a gun, not the use of a gun…Under the circumstances, I believe it [probation] was an appropriate outcome.”
Tragically for the residents of Los Angeles, known criminals committing heinous crimes against innocent citizens has been a recurring theme of Gascon’s tenure. Last month, a 17-year-old intentionally drove his car into a woman walking her baby in a stroller. The driver was on probation at the time from a prior conviction for spiking a girl’s drink with date rape drugs in 2019. The perpetrator was charged in the hit-and-run incident with two felony charges of assault by means of force likely to produce great bodily injury and one felony count of hit-and-run – but notably, not with attempted murder.
Once again, Gascon did not press for jail time, and the teen was sentenced to five to seven months in a juvenile probation camp. Prosecutors describe the camp as “less than a military school and a little bit tougher than a summer camp.” The victim blasted Gascon for the lenient sentence in a statement to the New York Post, saying that “George Gascon doesn’t value my life or the life of my child, or any other victim out there, and would rather reward the monsters like [the juvenile suspect] by demonstrating to them that their actions have no consequences.”
With the deadline for signature submissions on July 6 fast approaching, there are some signs that Gascon may be starting to come to grips with reality. Though he remains as unrepentant as ever for the devastating effect of his policies, Gascon recently told the Los Angeles Times that “I’m not denying the perception [that crime is rising]; the perception is there… The perception is reality.” For Gascon, that reality which so many Los Angeles residents are facing and which he so long ignored may prove to be his downfall.
Andrew Abbott is the pen name of a writer and public affairs consultant with over a decade of experience in DC at the intersection of politics and culture.