Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón declined an invitation from his employees to speak at a town hall and declined to comment Wednesday on why he would not attend.
The Association of Deputy District Attorneys, or ADDA, the union that represents more than 800 deputy district attorneys working under Gascón, said they had invited their boss to explain “why he should not be recalled” on the basis of a number of his policies they, as prosecutors, disagree with.
When reached for comment on Wednesday by The Signal, a spokeswoman for Gascón’s anti-recall campaign, Elise Moore, said the campaign had no comment and would not provide an explanation for why the county’s top prosecutor declined the town hall invite from his own employees.
The town hall invitation comes on the heels of a second effort being announced — and already collecting signatures — to recall Gascón. The recall petition, which was announced last month, has until July 6 to collect 566,857 signatures — 10% of the registered voters in L.A. County — to qualify to be placed on the November ballot.
While proponents of the reform-minded district attorney have said in the past that the directives Gascón implemented in December 2020 are designed to fight systemic racism and promote civil rights, the organizers of the first recall effort — which ultimately failed to reach garner enough signatures to be placed on the ballot last year — as well as this latest effort say his policies have harmed crime victims and led to an increase in violent crime around L.A. County.
In a statement released by the ADDA on Wednesday, the union’s leadership said Gascón’s rejection of their invitation to attend and answer their questions was evidence that his campaign promise of having a transparent administration was “merely a political platitude.”
“Unfortunately, his refusal to meet with his own deputies is consistent with the secrecy with which he manages his administration,” read the ADDA statement. “Not surprising from a man who rarely shows up to his own office.”
The ADDA said in a letter released on Friday that its members had been mulling the question over the past few months on whether their organization would support the most recent recall effort. They decided to hold a virtual town hall on one of four dates next week that would allow their members to speak directly with their boss, after which time they would hold a vote on whether to support the recall effort.
“Our invitation to the district attorney was intended to give him an opportunity to defend the wisdom of policies,” read the latest ADDA statement. “Our goal was to ensure that our membership’s decision-making process was deliberative and transparent.”
The ADDA officials added that they had not come to their decision to hold a membership in haste, but that it was preceded by more than 30 cities issuing votes of no confidence in Gascón, as well as the municipalities saying that they would explore other options circumnavigating L.A. County’s prosecutorial process. The city of Santa Clarita is among those cities that have issued votes of no confidence in Gascón.
“The deputy district attorneys of Los Angeles are intimately familiar with how the district attorney’s policies have impacted our office, our law practices, the victims with whom we work, and the safety of the communities in which we live,” the statement read. “We are confident that our upcoming membership vote on the recall will be valuable for the voters of Los Angeles as they decide this issue.”