Christopher Lucero | An Endorsement of Emotive Appeal

Letters to the Editor
Letters to the Editor
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The Signal editorial board again moved to support one district attorney candidate out of emotive appeal, but failed to cite the sources for all the assessments it lays at the feet of incumbent George Gascón. That makes their position impossible to research or to refute. How very crafty.

They even got David Hegg to sneak in a supportive political position when he pledged that he wouldn’t … a duplicity wholly unbecoming of a holy man.

I am not a fan of any particular politician, but I am a fan of law and order. That is, the prevailing law and the order bestowed by compliance. Levering the existing system is always a more effective tactic toward success than standing outside shouting against it.

Here’s the critical problem: Why has nobody noticed the giant hole in the doughnut that The Signal board, and the candidates for DA are not addressing?

California suffered a deep rendering in 2011 when the U.S. Supreme Court determined that California (Department of Corrections, Gov. Jerry Brown, et al)  had violated rights enshrined in the U.S. Constitution. As a result, California was moved to change its incarceration occupancy to a maximum of 134%. Since then, through elections and administrative policy, the state has achieved compliance to and adhered to that SCOTUS order. California has adhered to and supported our sacred Constitution.

Neither The Signal editorial board nor its candidate(s) of choice have publicly proposed any alternative plan to assure that L.A. County would support the Constitution and adhere to the SCOTUS order. If their rhetoric is to be believed, and “lock ‘em up” policies would prevail, the county or state could predictably end up in noncompliance, causing a fiscal crisis when federal and/or state law enforcement funding are reduced or withheld.

If California is also then found in violation of the SCOTUS order, a predictable “bad press day” and emergent activity to remediate the same old problem will have precipitated via conservative policies and politicians, which they’d predictably blame on someone else. All the while, we could have merely been constructive, attentive and proactive to maintain compliance. (FYI: The county Sheriff’s Department maintains a daily list of the number of incarcerants in county jails that anyone can examine, as well as percentage figures to show compliance or set warnings of noncompliance to the SCOTUS mandate.

In the same editorial, and in the past, we have heard from The Signal editorial board that they credit all the good things about the city to its current leadership, or historic leadership, or enforcement personnel. This deeply shortchanges the real reason the place is safe, and/or a nice place to live: its citizens. Every decent citizen should feel insulted by The Signal board, who shortchanges the law-abiding majority just to curry favor with the political class. Likewise the insult from the political class itself if they accept credit for law-abiding habits of citizens. Good people are good not because of the threat of punishment, but because they are good. Even before this place was a city it was safe by virtue of the behavior of those who live(d) here. In the early days, it regularly garnered top honors, but has actually slipped over time, roughly corresponding to the tenure of its political elite.

We must be wary of potential for misuse of statistics by The Signal editorial board. No sources are disclosed. Almost every other discussion of crime in California and L.A. County (Stanford Law School, for example) reaches a different conclusion about long run (10-, 20-, 30-year) crime stats, so The Signal’s position is suspect and/or myopic.

Without their sources disclosed, a single location could/may have actually been a single driver of The Signal’s burglary statistics. If the “39% increase” in burglaries is a rounded figure, it could be as few as five more burglaries in 2023 if the number of occurrences in 2022 was 12. Maybe less, maybe more. Who knows? It may have been Ulta Beauty. If I recall, it was burglarized multiple times … even while the sheriff’s station was less than a mile away. LASD parked a cruiser in the parking lot in front of Ulta Beauty for months, to no apparent effect. Without actual numbers, locales, specifics, the statistics claimed by The Signal board are questionable at best.

I look forward to any DA candidate (or The Signal editorial board) disclosing their alternative plans for compliance to the SCOTUS order and how they fit with existing law and policy to continue to comply with the order, or how they’d carefully, cost sensitively and constructively change policy.

“A failure to plan is a plan for failure.” Such failure, driven by unplanned irrational emotive policies, could result in even greater crisis, and a fiscal crisis, and reputational damage, and greater cost to taxpayers.

Christopher Lucero


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