The Recall DA George Gascon campaign announced on Wednesday that more than 450,000 signatures have been collected as of May 13th, closing in quickly on the 566,857 needed and the safety goal of 800,000 that the group wants to submit to the LA County Registrar in 50 days.
The second petition to recall Gascon has seen an explosion of support in recent months, especially when compared to the first petition. Following the election in 2020, Gascon, who previously was the DA of San Francisco, quickly instituted several so-called “reforms,” including ending policies that had juveniles being tried as adults, many crimes reduced to misdemeanors or having jail time reduced, and the removal of cash bail for most crimes despite California voters voting to keep it in 2020 in Prop 25. However, these policies led to criminals being emboldened and rising crime in the County, despite the COVID pandemic. Crime rates went up in everything from homicides to robberies. A petition was started up last year, but it fizzled out by October.
Supporters vowed to get another petition in place, and were emboldened by the smash and grab crime spree in LA and San Francisco in late 2021. With the public more aware of Gascon’s policies, more and more people began voicing opposition against Gascon. Entire City Councils, including the Beverly Hills City Council, voted outright in favor of his recall, and more than 30 cities in the County voted no confidence in him. The successful signature effort in San Francisco to recall their DA, Chesa Boudin, also encouraged many to give it a second chance.
In late January the second petition was approved by the County. With high crime, a lack of prosecution attempts against criminals, crime victims believing that the DA supports the criminals more than them, and previous petition factors being amplified, the 2022 petition quickly garnered signatures. Many lawmakers and political candidates immediately threw their support behind the recall, and by mid-March over 125,000 signatures were collected.
Over 450,000 signatures collected so far
On Wednesday, that figure shot up by over 300,000 signatures. As recall supporters are to send out more petitions to millions of LA County residents ahead of the June 7th primary, the recall campaign is now on track to not only meet the 566,857 needed signature line of 10% of all county voters, but is also likely to hit the 800,000 safety figure to account for double signatures, invalid signatures, and other factors that may result in their signature being removed.
“With 50 days to go, we are continuing to see increases in signature collection and anticipate additional bumps as our mail program is fully deployed,” the Recall DA George Gascon campaign said on Wednesday. “We are on the cusp of qualifying this recall and positioned exactly where we need to be to hit our goals within the remaining timeframe. If residents and community leaders continue to step up, this will be the beginning of the end of George Gascon’s reign of terror over Los Angeles.”
Experts noted that other outside factors may only increase the number of signatures in the final stretch of collection days until the deadline in early July.
“Crime continues to play the big reason people are signing the petition. That and Gascon not prosecuting or going after criminals,” said James Long, a neighborhood safety planner in Los Angeles, to the Globe on Wednesday. “I mean, he is, but to nowhere near where he should be, not with crime this high and those arrested just walking out.”
“But that Boudin recall up in San Francisco has been encouraging to many. Outside at petition signature gatherings, one of the oddest groups of people who have come out in support of the recall have been former San Francisco residents who moved here. They still see the news from back home, and they have seen that Boudin is now all but certain to be recalled next month. To them, that’s amazing. They’ve seen how wrong things have become in both cities, and hey, if San Francisco can recall their guy, so can LA.”
“A lot of progressive policies and candidates that Californians later regret get passed or elected in every year, and we have to find avenues to fight it. California is way more conservative than people think. We see those changes slapped back in court, like those racial and gender board minimums being struck down in the last few weeks. We do it at the ballot box through propositions. I mean, we still have no affirmative action here. We get it done through local actions. And we also have this way, the recall. It’s not buyers remorse, it’s genuinely want someone who is actively damaging the County out of office. Someone who has done wrong. Well, Gascon and Boudin fit that to a ‘T.'”
The deadline for submission to the Registrar is July 6, 2022.