It’s another swing and a miss for opponents of Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón, as their second attempt to force the reform crusader into a special recall election has failed.
The county clerk’s office announced on Monday that recall organizers submitted only 520,050 valid petition signatures, while 566,857 were needed to make Gascón face voters well ahead of the end of his term and a potential reelection bid in 2024.
In July, the recall campaigners submitted 715,833 signatures to the L.A. County Registrar’s office but, as the Los Angeles Times notes, a number of them were inevitably going to be disqualified if they were signed by people who were not properly registered to vote in L.A. County or if a registered voter’s signature didn’t match the one on file with the county Registrar.
Joshua Spivak, an expert on recall elections at UC Berkeley Law School’s California Constitution Center, tells the Times that most recall drives in California see between 20 percent and 30 percent of collected signatures disqualified. The recallers also solicited signatures through a mass-mailing campaign, which some observers feared would lead to more disqualifications.
Gascón took office in 2000 on a massive criminal law reform platform—and quickly grew unpopular as violent crime and property theft rocketed while he pushed through policies like zero-dollar bail, eliminating gang- and gun-related sentence enhancements, and no longer charging any violent juveniles as adults.
Along the way, Gascón’s image as being velvety-soft on crime has linked him intrinsically not only with the overall rise in crime—and the lengths to which people and businesses must go to combat it—but also to various, specific heinous acts, including but not limited to: the home-invasion murder of Jacqueline Avant by a man who was on parole, and the murder of two El Monte cops by a man who may have gotten out of prison early thanks to a Gascón policy.
Gascón has also been partially credited with a 137 percent rise in crime in West Hollywood over the last year because gangs are reportedly sending younger criminals to carry out their dirty work in a response to Gascón’s rep for not punishing minors.
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