LA DA Candidates Q&A Part One: Prop. 47 and the Concept of the Misdemeanor

As the Globe has done for a number of other important political races in the past, we asked each of the candidates for Los Angeles District Attorney if they wished to take part in a question and answer series on the major issues facing the office.

Five of the candidates are participating – thank you! – while incumbent George Gascon and five others declined or did not respond.

We asked ten questions and will be printing – verbatim – the responses over the coming five days, two questions per article.

The first question couplet involves Prop 47 and misdemeanors. The passage of 47 and the failure to prosecute misdemeanors – often called “quality of life” crimes – have played significant roles in creating the degraded state of public safety in California’s cities.  Smash and grab robberies and rampant shoplifting and increased street drug use and violence are just two of the consequences of these policies.

Let’s get to the questions!

Questions about proposition 47 have continued to roil law enforcement circles and the public.  Do you believe there is a direct relationship between its passage and the increase in property crime?  Also, do you believe there is a direct relationship between its passage and increased drug abuse due to its removal of potential penalties?  Would you support its repeal and/or amendment?


I support the amendment of Prop 47 to better address the current issues with public safety that the

county is experiencing. What Prop 47 has done, in conjunction with the current DA policies and the new zero bail system, is take away our ability to effectively prosecute repeat offenders. As we have seen in the recent smash and grab thefts, many of those involved are repeat offenders who are not being held accountable for their actions. We must restore our ability to prosecute these incidents as felonies after the offender commits two or three petty thefts. Our legislation must adjust to the increase in crime whatever the reason for it. I also believe that there is some correlation between the increase in drug abuse and Prop 47 in that it hindered our ability to get drug abusers into treatment as part of their case resolution. Again, no accountability leads to an increase in the conduct.