Petition to Recall Gascón Approved

The Los Angeles County Registrar has approved a petition to recall  District Attorney George Gascón, starting the clock on a 160-day window to gather hundreds of thousands of signatures. This marks the second attempt to recall the progressive prosecutor, who was ushered into office amid a wave of criticism of law enforcement and the judicial system.

The petition asks LA County residents whether they want to recall Gascón, arguing that the DA has “deserted crime victims and their families” and “disregarded the rule of law and weakened lawful sentencing requirements for the most violent criminals.”

“George Gascón’s new policies treat career and repeat violent offenders as if they had never committed a crime, ignoring public safety laws approved by the people,” the petition declares.

Hoping to seize on the discontent with Gascón in Beverly Hills, organizers with Recall District Attorney George Gascón plan on holding a petition signing and distribution event on Feb. 5 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Via Alloro Restaurant at 301 N. Canon Drive.

In response to the approval of the recall petition, Gascón campaign spokesperson Elise Moore told the Courier that Gascón made no secret about the progressive policies he would implement if elected.

“The voters of LA County agreed and voted overwhelmingly to embrace reform,” she said, characterizing the recall as an effort to “undermine the will of the voters.” 

“People of LA County are far more interested in actually enhancing community safety for families, victims and all those living in LA County than they are in yet another politically motivated recall attempt,” said Moore.

The organization Recall District Attorney George Gascón, which submitted the petition to the Registrar, has pushed back against Gascón’s accusation of conservative leanings.

“His only rebuttal is to call it a partisan effort,” Tim Lineberger, spokesperson for Recall District Attorney George Gascón, told the Courier. “It’s led by victims and a bipartisan group of folks.”

Under Los Angeles’s recall rules, recall proponents have 160 days from the approval of a petition – July 6, in this case – to gather valid signatures equal to 10% of registered voters. This comes out to over 560,000 signatures. Factoring in normal rates of invalid signatures, Lineberger says that the campaign expects to need closer to 800,000 signatures.

The first recall attempt only managed to gather around 200,000 signatures and failed to attract significant funding. Lineberger says that the organization is going into the second effort with a “large infrastructure” and $2.7 million in funding this time. There are no limits to the number of attempts that can be made to recall an elected official in Los Angeles.

If the effort reaches the required number of signatures before July 6, LA voters will have the option to recall or keep Gascón on the Nov. 22 ballot. Voters would encounter a similar question as the one they faced in the 2021 gubernatorial recall. Angelenos would first be asked whether they wanted to recall Gascón. For those who answer yes, they would then select the candidate they want to replace him with. If 50% or more of voters say yes on the first question, then the candidate with the most votes wins.

California and Los Angeles have seen a spate of recall attempts over the last year, with Newsom’s recall as the most notable and costly among them. Bids to oust Los Angeles City Councilmembers Mike Bonin, Nithya Rama and Kevin de León all failed to realize their goals.

Beverly Hills has become a prominent voice against Gascón during both the current and former recall campaigns. The City Council made the unprecedented move in March 2021 to issue a vote of no confidence against the new DA. The Council voted 3-2, with Mayor Robert Wunderlich and Councilmember John Mirisch casting dissenting votes, citing reservations with the process rather than support for Gascón. In January, a unanimous Council voted in favor of supporting the second recall attempt.

“We should be a city where people could feel safe. And I don’t mean just Beverly Hills, I mean everywhere in Los Angeles,” said Vice Mayor Lili Bosse in voting to support the recall. “People should be able to feel safe to walk the streets of their city. People should feel safe to sleep at night in their homes, in their beds, anywhere.” 

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