Now it’s Los Angeles’s turn to engage in the debate over justice reform as national attention is focused on the L. A. County district attorney’s race. Will L.A. voters keep the hard-line progressive social justice reform train rolling or stop it in its tracks?
The March 3 primary high-profile event for both Los Angeles County and arguably the state (outside of the presidential primary contest) is the district attorney race, featuring incumbent Jackie Lacey, and former San Francisco D.A. George Gascón. The other candidate in the race is public defender Rachel Rossi, who politically is closer to Gascón.
Gascón represents the national movement to replace district attorneys around the country with progressive standard bearers who promote social reforms.
But the social justice agenda could lead to less actual justice, a danger for the community at large.
Incumbent D.A. Lacey, a Democrat, is not an overzealous prosecutor in the traditional sense by any means, but as the candidate of the establishment she is now targeted by the progressive social justice movement.
One of the first successes of this effort came in Philadelphia where progressive candidate Larry Krasner was elected. He fulfilled promises of reducing arrests and prosecutions. But at the same time, crime has risen in the City of Brotherly Love.
Critiquing Krasner’s administration, Jennifer Stefano of the Commonwealth Foundation, a Pennsylvania free market organization, writing in a Wall Street Journal op-ed, quoted a U.S. Attorney that Krasner created a “culture of disrespect for the law.” She concluded, ”There is nothing progressive about public servants who shirk their duty.”
The beat continued in California when San Francisco elected public defender Chesa Boudin, who began his tenure by firing multiple prosecutors and re-shaping the direction of his office under his progressive agenda.
Michele Hanisee, president of the Association of Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorneys wrote of Boudin’s approach, “Boudin’s firing of experienced prosecutors immediately upon entering office, in combination with his announcements that he will refuse to enforce the laws of this state, particularly enhancements for gang crimes, appear to support the position taken during the election by the San Francisco Police Officers Association who said that Boudin was the “the number one choice of criminals and gang members.”
Hanisee warns that “Los Angeles faces the same peril” arguing that Gascón plans not to enforce a list of crimes including gang enhancements in the gang capital of the nation.
The old maxim of ‘Justice delayed is justice denied,’ just might need an update to justice ignored is justice denied if these arguments against the progressive justice reform agenda prove true.
The stakes are high in the LA County DA race for both sides of the justice debate.
The first debate with all three Los Angeles D.A. candidates is January 29 hosted by radio station KPCC and the Los Angeles Times.