Our View | City Takes Lead for Safety

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2020’s most quiet disaster, as we stated in our editorial of Dec. 12, is becoming less and less quiet.

“The least reported, most consequential election” of last November has become more and more looked at and reported on since the election.

Thanks to family members of crime victims, Santa Clarita resident Deputy District Attorney Jon Hatami, former District Attorney Steve Cooley as well as many other deputy district attorneys, the Deputy District Attorneys Association and many others, the election of George Gascón as Los Angeles County district attorney has become infamous. Infamous not only in L.A. County but nationwide as well.

Los Angeles County has become known for becoming a criminal-friendly county, courtesy of Gascón. 

The district attorney has become known for being pro-criminal and caring more about the criminals then the victims of crime and their families. He has implemented directives and policies that endanger the safety of our community and our quality of life.

He has become known for this because of the unlawful directives, he issued such as no longer allowing prosecutors to request cash bail for misdemeanors and nonviolent felonies. Ironically, the elimination of cash bail was on the November statewide ballot in the form of Proposition 25 and was rejected by the voters. 

Gascón’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.

This has led to many repeat offenses, including a case we reported on a couple of weeks ago in which the robbery suspect had been released from custody only an hour before committing another armed robbery. This same suspect had been arrested 12 times in the last year and he is one of many repeat offenders right here in Santa Clarita.

Gascón has also picked a slew of misdemeanor crimes that he personally does not like to prosecute, including trespassing, disturbing the peace, unlicensed drivers, criminal threats, drug possession, drunk in public, loitering, prostitution, resisting arrest, and more. So, he has directed his deputy district attorneys to not prosecute these crimes. They will simply be declined or dismissed.

There were 230 crimes in November and December here in Santa Clarita alone that the DA did not pursue after the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department referred them for trial.

He will not seek the death penalty in any case and will seek resentencing of anyone on death row now, and 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, under Gascón’s reign.

There are other directives too, some of which have been deemed illegal in court and have been suspended awaiting appeal by Gascón.

Gascón will be creating a situation in L.A. County very similar to what you will find in San Francisco, where he was district attorney for eight years.

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.

The outrage against these directives has started a recall effort that is building, as we first suggested in the Dec. 12 editorial. 

The latest development in this saga occurred this week when the city of Santa Clarita made a statement and took a bold leadership role by a unanimous City Council vote of no confidence in DA Gascón.

Led by Mayor Bill Miranda, Councilman Jason Gibbs and City Manager Ken Striplin who spearheaded the effort, the council voted 5-0 in favor of the vote of no confidence in Gascón and his directives.

“I have absolutely no confidence in somebody that, within less than five hours of putting his hands up and swearing an oath to the Constitution, will issue nine directives that greatly affect public safety in this community,” Gibbs said last month. 

Said Striplin: “The reason we put people in prison is to remove them from society for specific reasons. He’s not wanting to do that.” 

Striplin also said these policies are going to have long-term impacts on public safety in general.

The city has shown its dedication and concern for the safety of its residents with this vote, and as Miranda said, Santa Clarita must be “on the leading edge of this fight for public safety.”

We congratulate the city for taking this leading role in protecting its citizens and we are now urging all the other 87 independent cities in Los Angeles County to take Santa Clarita’s lead and show concern for residents’ safety by making similar votes of no confidence in Gascón.

Then it’s up to all of us, the voters of Los Angeles County, to show that we also care about each other’s safety — and vote to recall George Gascón.

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