The other night I was speaking with my family in Israel. Their house had been damaged in the recent rocket attacks from Hamas that have had 70% of the population of the country running to bomb shelters. Thankfully, they were unharmed and able to safely take refuge with friends.
If not for Iron Dome technology, who knows what might have happened. Here in Los Angeles County, the Jewish community likes to think that we are safe from such attacks. While it is true that attacks against us are unlikely to come from rockets, it doesn’t mean that we are not still targeted.
This targeting is not one for which the Iron Dome could protect us. Rather, we are supposed to be protected by an equitable enforcement of the rule of law. However, thanks to the perilous policies enacted by Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón, this equitable enforcement has been disregarded. Instead, it has been replaced by a highly selective process in which one man picks and chooses which laws will see prosecution and which will be summarily dismissed before ever having their day in court.
Earlier this year at a Jewish Temple in Koreatown, there was an act of vandalism in which the temple was defaced with a spray-painted message that said, “I hate your race!!”As the year progressed the number of hate incidents and crimes would only increase. It rose to the point of concern for L.A. County Sheriff Alex Villanueva, who expressed his disappointment in a failure to see one such incident taking place in April being prosecuted.
Of course, Sheriff Villanueva is not the only one to express disappointment in the actions of DA Gascón. The Association of Deputy District Attorneys for Los Angeles County took their concerns over the disregard of law and failure to prosecute special enhancements to court, where the ruling handed down was mostly in their favor.
In that chastising ruling, Judge James Chalfant issued an order stating that DA Gascón’s policies are unlawful and unethical, and that Gascón must stop breaking the law. He must enforce the Three Strikes Law, not abandon it. He must stop his blanket policy of dismissing all gun, gang and great bodily injury crimes.
Gascón’s policies include disregarding the rule of law, refusing to prosecute crime, ignoring the will of the voters on bail, dismantling the hard-core gang unit, drastically slashing the narcotics unit; along with dangerous directives on sentencing, whether in refusing to prosecute any special enhancements or refusing to prosecute even the most violent juvenile offenders as adults, all while exhibiting a callous dismissiveness to victims and families of victims.
These are all clear reasons why he should be recalled from office.
Every day it is more and more evident the risks faced by each and every resident of Los Angeles County as a result of Gascón’s dangerous directives. Particularly alarming are the spikes in murders reported by the sheriff’s statistics in which homicides were up almost 200% from last year at the same time.
Such threats must be met with a solution that works. It clearly is not to resort to policies in which crime is not prosecuted and criminals face no consequences for their actions. The data already reflects that does not work. In a press release issued by Michael Rushford of the Criminal Justice Legal Foundation, he offered the data “comparing crimes reported in 1992 with 2011, there were 932,996 (45%) fewer of the seven major crimes, 190,681 (55%) fewer violent crimes, and 2,129 (54%) fewer murders. ‘That’s almost one million fewer victims when we were enforcing tough sentencing.’”
Gascon’s “data” is really not data at all, nor do his conclusions match with common sense and reality. Rather the solution is clear — Gascón must be recalled now. Los Angeles County can’t wait four years, nor should Angelenos have to wait that long for a district attorney who will do the job for which he was elected and hired — the job of prosecuting offenders.
Mihran Kalaydjian is the co-chair for Stop the Madness: Support Recalling District Attorney Gascón Now. A Woodland Hills resident, he is active in neighborhood councils. He has worked in Santa Clarita on developing advanced metal-matrix composites for use in aerospace.