Public Safety & Crime Victims’ Rights Under Attack

The following is an editorial by SJPOA President Paul Kelly:

Across the country there’s a disturbing trend emerging; the office of the District Attorney is being targeted by well-financed groups that seek to put candidates into office who will implement radical, pro-criminal agendas under the banner of “criminal justice reform.”

For example, in Philadelphia, George Soros’ Political Action Committee has spent over $1.5 million to elect criminal defense attorney Larry Krasner into office. Krasner has implemented practices such as not prosecuting theft cases under $1,000 and recently proactively attempted to reduce a double murder’s first-degree murder sentence from life in prison to third-degree murderer's and eligible for parole.

This past November, San Francisco also elected a career criminal defense attorney as it’s District Attorney, Chesa Boudin. He has pledged to completely abandon all gang enhancement charges, regardless of the crime, and to not oppose the parole of any convicted criminal who accepts a plea deal.

And currently, San Francisco’s former District Attorney, George Gascon, quit his job in San Francisco to run for the same job in Los Angeles. Gascon was the author of Proposition 47, which as you know has been disastrous for crime in our communities. Gascon leaves behind a record of thefts from motor vehicles skyrocketing 130%, burglaries increasing over 20%, and larceny increasing over 60% on his watch. Gascon is challenging a well-respected incumbent who is regarded as a fair career prosecutor and is an advocate for crime victims.

These candidates, like Gascon, talk about “successes”, but have no real metrics to back that up, other than they passed their pet policies. One only needs to spend 5 minutes walking around San Francisco to realize that the conditions residents are enduring on a daily basis are at crisis levels: open air drug markets, rampant theft, and dangerous and unsanitary living conditions. That is Gascon’s legacy.

As the push for so called “criminal justice reform” has intensified, it is rare to see any thought given to crime victims or the impact on innocent residents who follow the law and take personal responsibility for their actions. The focus is entirely on what’s “fair” to those who prey on victims. You’ll notice that very little discussion is actually dedicated to the effectiveness of prison/jail rehabilitation programs. Rather, the entire discussion is on how to either prevent a criminal from going to jail or how to get them out early.

The risk for us in San Jose, and all of California, is that more candidates like a George Gascon, who helped oversee the downfall of a major city, gets elected to office and make the problem worse.

The SJPOA has been, and will continue to be, actively involved in these fights in coordination with other law enforcement interests. In 2018, for example, the SJPOA helped lead an effort to defeat Soros-backed DA candidate Pamela Price in the County of Alameda who ran on a platform that included a proposal to stop the prosecution of all misdemeanors. Imagine that. Crimes as serious as luring a child with the intent to harm would have gone unpunished.

We cannot afford to allow the policies of people like Gascon to become the rule of law throughout our state and country. The stakes are too high. The rampant disregard for the law that has been cultivated from this approach has made our communities less safe for our residents and for police officers. It’s time we say enough is enough.