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Tags: george gascon | crime | los angeles
OPINION

Calif. May Learn Yet, Not Getting Tough on Crime Doesn't Pay

Calif. May Learn Yet, Not Getting Tough on Crime Doesn't Pay
Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascon (AFP via Getty Images)

Debra J. Saunders By Thursday, 28 December 2023 09:57 AM EST Current | Bio | Archive

In 2020, after Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascon won office with nearly 54% of the vote, advocates for so-called reforms in the criminal justice system could exhale.

When he runs for reelection in 2024, however, Gascon's sweet ride may come to an abrupt halt. During his tenure, Angelenos have become more concerned about crime, not less. Incarceration is not the dirty word it once was.

According to the Public Policy Institute of California, violent crime in California rose by 5.7% between 2021 and 2022.

Critics point to Proposition 47, a ballot measure approved by voters in 2014 that reduced penalties for nonviolent crimes and downgraded theft under $950 from a felony to a misdemeanor. A shorthand description of Prop. 47 would be: Steal a gun, don't go to prison.

Gascon, then San Francisco District Attorney, was a co-author of the measure. He can't escape history, so he's repeating it.

Gascon just named a new chief of staff, Tiffiny Blacknell, a former public defender who, as the 2020 George Floyd riots erupted, posted an expletive-laden rant on the platform then known as Twitter.

"So please don't come on my page complaining about protesters or looters," Blacknell wrote. Blacknell, who is Black, also described America as "a country where your people are murdered by a militarized police force paid to control YOU."

Morale has not been particularly high in law enforcement of late. So what does Gascon do? He hires as his chief gatekeeper someone who defended looters while she trash-talked police.

And he has done so with the arrogance of a politician who hasn't really paid for his mistakes. Yet.

Gascon is a political animal. He had the right progressive politics as he rose in office. Ergo, in 2011, he was appointed to serve as San Francisco district attorney after (now Vice President) Kamala Harris was elected state attorney general.

Unlike Harris, Gascon had yet to try a case in court — but that didn't stop then Mayor Gavin Newsom from making Gascon the city's top prosecutor.

The savvy politician sees how public opinion changes — slowly, then all at once. But Gascon doesn't seem to see where this likely ends.

You've heard the saying that a conservative is a liberal who got mugged.

California voters don't want to think they were wrong to pass Prop. 47, which is why past attempts to shave it back have failed. But they also don't want to be afraid to go out at night.

If someone must be afraid to venture forth, let it be shoplifters and burglars. Because they're not afraid now.

Debra J. Saunders is a fellow with Discovery Institute's Chapman Center for Citizen Leadership. She has worked for more than 30 years covering politics on the ground. She has also covered politics in Washington, D.C., as well as American culture, the media, the criminal justice system, and dubious trends in our nation's public schools and universities. Read Debra J. Saunders' Reports — More Here.

© Creators Syndicate Inc.


DebraJSaunders
When he runs for reelection in 2024, however, Gascon's sweet ride may come to an abrupt halt. During his tenure, Angelenos have become more concerned about crime, not less. Incarceration is not the dirty word it once was.
george gascon, crime, los angeles
493
2023-57-28
Thursday, 28 December 2023 09:57 AM
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