LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) - A second campaign for the recall of Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón is officially underway.
Organizers gathered in front of Gascón's office at the Hall of Justice in Downtown L.A. on Monday to announce their renewed efforts. Many of those who gathered were also victims of crime.
They will have 160 days to collect at least 579,000 signatures from Los Angeles County voters in order to force a recall election. This number would be the required 10 percent of voters in the county.
A previous effort earlier in 2021 fell short, when campaign organizers failed to collect the required amount of signatures - by nearly 300,000 - collecting somewhere around 200,000.
They cited a number of reasons for their failure to collect the proper number of signatures, including the COVID-19 pandemic mandates and a premature start to their efforts. Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva was a strong supporter during the first recall effort.
This time around, the group says they are better funded and better prepared.
Recall Gascón Now spokeswoman Karen Roseberry told City News Service that rising crimes rates are a huge reason in why their recall efforts have been relaunched. She also indicated that of the city councils of 31 cities in Los Angeles County have issued a "vote of no confidence" involving Gascón.
A "vote of no confidence" is a vote that shows the majority of a legislative/government body does not support a leader, their policies or a governing body.
Roseberry issued her own vote of confidence in the recall efforts, stating that the ever-rising crime rates should lead to a push in public interest for a change. "There's no reason why we can't get him recalled," she said.
Since his time in office began, Gascón has been under fire for his progressive policies. These policies include refusal to seek the death penalty, re-evaluation of prisoner sentences that have been withstanding for over 20 years, and the dropping of "sentence-enhancing" allegations in criminal cases. He has also ended the use of associating gang affiliation in sentencing and charging juveniles as adults.
Crime rates have been surging in Los Angeles, with hundreds of "follow-home robberies" and "smash and grab robberies" happening over the last few months. New task forces have been instituted in an attempt to curb these incidents in recent weeks.
According to a report from Los Angeles Magazine, Mayor Eric Garcetti, who backed Gascón in his run for District Attorney, seemed to take issue with how these incidents have been handled:
"There's no place for this kind of criminal behavior. It needs to be addressed. There need to be consequences. We need a jail system that will step up and do some of the rehabilitative work."
This recall effort also comes less than a week after 81-year-old Jacqueline Avant, wife of legendary music executive Clarence Avant, was shot and killed in a Beverly Hills break-in on December 1. The man arrested and charged with her murder, Aariel Maynor, has an extensive criminal history and was out on parole, instead of spending time in prison.
Newly initiated Beverly Hills Chief of Police Mark Stainbrook addressed the growing issue, especially the lack of jail time for perpetrators:
"Literally, we're arresting the same people again and again and letting them right out to commit more crime. So, if you look at Mrs. Avant's case, that individual has a lengthy criminal history. He was out on parole and he was out committing crime. He should never have ever been out in the first place."
Gascón was unavailable when CBS LA reporters attempted to reach him for comment.
Prior to his time in office in Los Angeles, Gascón held the same position in San Francisco for nearly eight years, beginning in 2011. He was appointed to that position by Governor Gavin Newsom, when he was Mayor of San Francisco.
Gascón was Chief of Police for the San Francisco Police Department from 2009 to 2011, Chief of Police for the Mesa Police Department in Arizona from 2006 to 2009, and assistant Chief of Police for the Los Angeles Police Department from 2003 to 2006. His law enforcement career began with the LAPD in 1978.
(© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)
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