By The Signal Editorial Board
2020 has been an interesting and eventful year, no doubt about it. Of course, much of it is due to the pandemic that has changed all our lives, but it’s also partly because of the March primary and November general elections.
With a presidential election still in dispute, a congressional election won by only 300 votes and very close city and county elections, it was a very interesting political year.
But there is one race that will affect us more than any other race this year. It’s the least publicized but most consequential election not only this year but in many years.
Who could have that kind of impact on our life?
No, it’s not the presidential election. No, it’s not the congressional race. No, it’s not the City Council or any other federal or state election.
Who is it? Who could have more impact on your life than anyone else?
It was the race for Los Angeles County District Attorney.
The race between incumbent Jackie Lacey — who was endorsed by multiple organizations representing law enforcement — and challenger George Gascon will have the greatest impact on all of us and could change our quality of life and our personal safety for years to come.
The election of Gascon was a great outcome — if you’re a criminal.
Gascon was elected on Nov. 3 and, upon his swearing-in this past Monday, immediately implemented the platform upon which he campaigned. The new district attorney issued a total of nine “special directives,” virtually all of which can easily be classified as pro-criminal and anti-public safety.
Prosecutors will no longer request cash bail. Ironically, the elimination of cash bail was on the November statewide ballot in the form of Proposition 25, and was rejected by the voters.
Instead, Gascon’s policy is to presume crime suspects should be released with the least possible restrictions. In other words, more people awaiting trial on a variety of crimes will be back on the streets with less incentive to refrain from fleeing or skipping their court dates.
The D.A.’s Office will no longer seek sentencing enhancements including three strikes, gang enhancements, hate crimes, use of firearms and killing of police officers. This is all retroactive, too. He seeks to go back and reverse these enhancements for anyone in prison now, which could let thousands of criminals out of prison.
He will not prosecute crimes he does not care to prosecute — they will simply be declined or dismissed. These include trespassing, disturbing the peace, unlicensed drivers, criminal threats, drug possession, drunk in public, loitering, prostitution, resisting arrest, and more.
There will be no more body attachments for any defaulting witness; thus, subpoenas are totally meaningless. Witnesses can simply disregard subpoenas, and there’s nothing law enforcement can do about it. Many serious gang, domestic violence and sex crime cases will never see a jury. They will be dismissed because the necessary witnesses won’t show up.
He will not seek the death penalty in any case and will seek resentencing of anyone on death row now. He will reevaluate the sentencing of anyone currently in prison for 15 years or more.
No more juvenile prosecution as adults, no matter what they do. A 17-year-old can murder a police officer, be a serial killer, murder someone during a rape, and they will be out by the age of 25. There are no exceptions.
He has in one day destroyed our county’s justice system and demoralized the deputy district attorneys in his office along with law enforcement personnel.
If you’re a law enforcement officer, you have to be thinking, “Why should I risk my life when they will be back on the street in a few hours?” And, even if convicted, they will hardly serve any time.
We will see many great law enforcement officers retire in the coming year. Being a law enforcement officer is tough enough, and knowing the so-called chief prosecutor isn’t interested in backing you up as you fight crime will only make it tougher.
Gascon will be creating a situation in L.A. County very similar to what you will find in San Francisco. You can’t take a walk in San Francisco now without being abused by drug addicts in the streets, and you will find needles and human waste on almost every corner. No, it’s not a coincidence.
L.A. County will become just like San Francisco — you see, Mr. Gascon was the district attorney of San Francisco from 2011 to 2019.
Yes, you guessed it: He started the very same rules for San Francisco as he has announced for Los Angeles County. And thus began San Francisco’s backward slide from its long-held position as a jewel of the West Coast. We can only hope L.A. County doesn’t give Gascon as many years in office as San Francisco did.
We can’t afford the damage he would do over an extended period — and, frankly, we would gladly lend our support to a recall petition. Now.
It’s unfortunate that county voters didn’t listen when London Breed, the current mayor of San Francisco, warned against electing Gascon as L.A. County district attorney.
“San Francisco’s former district attorney, George Gascon, who left town before his term was finished so he could run for D.A. in Los Angeles, has a long history of going whichever way the winds blow, saying whatever suits his political purposes, and only looking out for himself,” Breed wrote in a guest commentary for the L.A. Sentinel. “Like countless others who have witnessed Gascon’s brand of ‘leadership’ up close, I have opposed his candidacy from the start, and for very simple reasons: Gascon was bad for San Francisco, and he would be bad for L.A.”
How did he get elected here?
Gascon received millions from wealthy individuals, including $2.25 million from Hungarian billionaire George Soros. Soros has supported other radical D.A.’s all across the country in his attempt to overthrow our democracy.
We have great law enforcement here in Santa Clarita with the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department. We are a contract city, so the city manager and City Council hire the Sheriff’s Department to keep the community safe. Our valley is isolated from most of L.A., but this does not completely protect us from the policies of Gascon and the District Attorney’s Office.
His reckless policies will of course have impacts countywide, but they will most likely display their worst manifestations in the more heavily populated, metropolitan areas of the county.
Be careful when you go into Los Angeles — and at least for now, be thankful you live in Santa Clarita.