For Los Angeles voters, there’s a heated race on their November ballot— and we’re not talking about the presidential one.
Incumbent District Attorney Jackie Lacey, who is backed by local law enforcement, is facing a challenge to her bid for a third term by former San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón. After a summer of protest following the police killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, Los Angeles’ D.A. race is coming at a time when many American municipalities are facing pressure to adopt more reformist stances on criminal justice.
Jackie Lacey has faced criticism by Black Lives Matter activists who believe she is hesitant to charge police officers in killings, and George Gascón has also faced some scrutiny of his record. But Gascón’s history of using restorative justice programs over incarceration for nonviolent offenders has brought him political support from progressive leaders, inducing Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont. Most recently, L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti came out in support of Gascón, as did California Governor Gavin Newsom.
Ahead of a KPCC/ LA Times co-moderated debate tonight between the two candidates, we are getting the latest on the D.A. race. What’s at stake? And how will the two candidates’ visions shape criminal justice in Los Angeles? To share your thoughts, give us a call at 866-893-5722.
KPCC/LAist Public Safety Correspondent Frank Stoltze and L.A. Times Criminal Justice Reporter James Queally will moderate a virtual debate between the two candidates for District Attorney tonight from 6:30pm-7:30pm. To learn more and RSVP, click here.
Fernando Guerra, professor of political science and Chicano/Latino studies and director of the Center for the Study of Los Angeles at Loyola Marymount University; member of the KPCC Board of Trustees
Zev Yaroslavsky, director of the Los Angeles Initiative at UCLA’s Luskin School of Public Affairs; he is a former member of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors (1994-2014) and a former member of the Los Angeles City Council (1975-1994); he tweets @ZevYaroslavsky