On Tuesday, city councils in Lancaster, La Mirada, and Whittier approved votes of “no confidence” in L.A. County District Attorney George Gascón. The votes are symbolic and not legally binding; in December Lancaster’s city council issued the same type of no confidence vote to County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer.
The three L.A. communities join the city councils of Beverly Hills, Santa Clarita, and–by a single vote–Pico Rivera, which previously approved no confidence votes to rebuke Gascón’s policies.
Dialing into the Lancaster City Council meeting, which was conducted remotely, was Deputy District Attorney Jon Hatami, who has dedicated considerable effort to a campaign against his boss Gascón. Hatami and other critics feel the DA is acting unilaterally and overstepping his authority.
Gascón counters that he has a mandate from the voters who elected him on a platform of attempting to reform the county’s criminal justice system, to make it more fair and equitable–a sentiment some lawmakers support.
“Many of our city’s youth have been caught in this system—a system that does not seek to rehabilitate but sets them on a path to commit more crime,” said Pico Rivera City Concilmember Gustavo Camacho, one of that city’s lawmakers who voted against censuring the DA. “We should be discussing how we change this.”
Gascón accuses his critics of attempting to score political points by scaring the public with “soft on crime” rhetoric.
“They continue to follow the playbook of the ’80s and ’90s,” he said last month. “It’s a simple message, right? Scare the heck out of people, and hopefully that will work for you.”