Facing a Recall Campaign, DA Gascón Rallies Supporters

RECALL-L.A. County District Attorney George Gascón said Friday that the people backing the effort to unseat him, less than six months after he took office, are supporters of former President Donald Trump.

The DA spoke to about 50 supporters outside the Hall of Justice, in his first public rally against the recall.

“You must follow the money,” Gascón said. One campaign finance report showed an early big supporter was Geoffrey Palmer, a major real estate developer in Los Angeles who hosted a re-election fundraiser for Trump at his Beverly Hills home in 2019.

While a recall remains a long shot, the rally was an effort by Gascón to get out ahead of any effort that might gain steam. Recall efforts have become more popular, with campaigns underway against San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin and Gov. Gavin Newsom.

Both Gascón and the campaign to recall him must file more complete fundraising reports by June 30. Those reports will provide a better picture of who supports the nascent recall campaign and its viability.

The leader of the recall, Desiree Andrade, said she is a registered Democrat who wants Gascón gone because he refused to seek the death penalty or life without the possibility of parole for her son’s killers. “This is far from a political issue,” Andrade told KPCC.

Seventeen city councils in L.A. County have issued "no confidence" votes in Gascón. Their resolutions generally condemn Gascon’s efforts to reduce prison sentences for most defendants.

There are 88 cities in the county. Sheriff Alex Villanueva and former DA Steve Cooley are two high profile supporters.

Gascón said his policies are aimed at correcting a racist system.

“Our criminal legal system is deeply embedded in the institution of slavery,” Gascón said. “We cannot walk away from that.”

Black Lives Matter-L.A. leader Melina Abdullah, Father Greg Boyle of Homeboy Industries, county Supervisor Holly Mitchell and L.A. City Councilman Mike Bonin attended the rally. Leaders from SEIU 2015 were also there. The union represents home care and other workers and is the largest in California.

The recall of Gascón remains a long shot. Organizers must gather signatures from 10% of registered voters in L.A. County. That’s more than 579,000 people. The deadline is Oct. 27.

(Frank Stoltze is a criminal justice correspondent (he/him) and this story was originally featured in LAist.com)