The Santa Clarita Valley Chamber of Commerce announced Wednesday its support for the recall of L.A. County District Attorney George Gascón, becoming one of the first business organizations in the county to do so.
The decision, officials said in a statement, reflects the fact that public safety is a key public policy priority for the chamber.
“We know this is a bold move and a unique move by the SCV Chamber,” said Hunt Braly, co-chair of the Chamber’s Government Affairs Council, via a statement sent out Wednesday. “Our businesses – from local mom and pop shops to larger companies – need to feel safe as they operate, especially coming out of the pandemic.”
“We take public safety seriously and we need a serious district attorney to protect our businesses and community,” Braly added.
A number of local groups and community leaders have already expressed their concern over the policies implemented by Gascón upon his entering office in December 2020. The policies, some of which have been subsequently curtailed, have included: lessening punishments on addiction-related cases, limiting the use of sentencing enhancements, and lowering, or even eliminating, cash bail on certain misdemeanor and nonviolent crimes.
In March 2021, the Santa Clarita City Council issued a vote of no confidence in Gascón. Subsequently, more than 31 cities in L.A. County have also issued votes of no confidence in Gascón.
“All businesses, large and small, are the backbone of our economy in the Santa Clarita Valley and we must work to promote and guarantee they are successful and not subject to policies that hinder that ability,” said Ivan Volschenk, president and CEO of the SCV Chamber of Commerce. “Retail stores are witnessing a huge increase in crime, and we are responsible to advocate for policies that will help tackle this rise in crime.”