LOS ANGELES, CA – I take no joy in writing this piece, but feel it must be done for the good of political cause everywhere in California. Before going any further though, it must be stressed that the countless hours of volunteer labor, sweat, and tears poured into the effort to Recall Gascon can never be discounted nor diminished. Nor the pain the victims have gone through, time and again, especially after being given false hope with two rounds of recalls.
Sadly, precious resources were squandered along with approximately $8 million dollars wasted by the incompetent “professionals” entrusted to run the recall effort and the “committee” led by a consummate and ruthless politician (who thankfully lost to current Vice President Kamala Harris in his bid for AG over a decade ago), that placed shady consultants in a position to abuse their power, and trashed good faith grassroots efforts to consolidate his own power, accusing us of the very thing he was doing: grifting and gasping for relevance. Yet, we stepped aside, entrusted him, and they delivered failed results.
When it was all said and done, let’s look at the bottom line. Nearly 200,000 signatures failed to qualify and the total needed fell short by over 45,000 signatures. Why? Because almost 90,000 petitions were signed by unregistered voters that the campaign failed to register. Also, not to mention the fact that almost 45,000 signatures – the amount needing to qualify – were signed more than once, with the campaign failing to perform even the simple due diligence of checking their signatures for duplicates – despite the assertions that they had done so.
The reality is every effort was made by the community and media to make the recall of Gascon successful. Even San Francisco was able to recall DA Chesa Boudin. Yet in Los Angeles County, the consultants of corruption were incapable of delivering on the task despite overwhelming union support, unprecedented press coverage of crime, unmatched fundraising and volunteer labor on the effort. But I had warned about this in two pieces before, published by Newsweek and The Published Reporter. Leadership matters.
The failure of leadership starts with committee chairs, co-chairs, and colleagues – a former District Attorney, two former Deputy District Attorneys, a former LA City Councilmember – all whose unchecked egos sadly misled victims in lending their names to this botched effort.
It was this committee who entrusted the effort to the alleged “professional consultants” one scoreless in recall efforts in Round 1 and already the subject of corruption investigation, and his press person, who served up “lie” burgers, instantly deflecting their lack of due diligence and follow through by falling on tired conspiracy theories, because many Republicans eat that up without researching the details. Don’t forget a fundraiser that was so ruthless that she went after my tiny grassroots PAC just so we wouldn’t interrupt her ability to raise dollars. I gladly stepped aside for Round 2 after issuing my warning and wanted them to own it. Despite my PAC’s executive director not wanting to donate our remaining funds, I led my committee, in good faith, to do so and to wish them all the best. Yet, it was squandered, along with another $8 million, like we had predicted. I desperately wanted to be wrong for the cause. Sadly, I wasn’t.
Attempts made by smaller operations, not limited to ours, to keep this committee accountable were met with open hostility and even name calling by the aforementioned washed up politician that enabled this gross mismanagement of $8 million donor dollars.
So now, after the campaign failed to perform due diligence on at least 130,000 signatures, where does that leave Angelenos? We are stuck with a now more powerful Gascon who has escaped facing consequences not once, but twice, for his failed policies. Now we are in greater danger and peril while the “professional political consultants” merely slither back south to Orange County– none of whom have to live in the mess they made worse by their failure.
The lesson to be learned is to heed the warnings of passionate grassroots efforts, whose purpose was the cause and cared about results. Elitism in the political world is no longer enough to win races. Outreach matters. Perhaps, people will finally learn their lessons and be discerning of who to hand over duties and resources to. Maybe on the conservative side, we need to practice what we preach: giving “we the people” a chance to be involved, and not worship our own idols in consultants who ultimately can’t get the work done and are not accountable if they fail, yet want everyone pushed aside because the “big boys got it taken care of”. What a joke: they couldn’t even integrate a successful verification process, that even Recall Newsom was able to do.
Until then, it is on to November 2022 for some change, but I don’t see that likely for California, and specifically for Los Angeles justice, we wait until 2024 with emboldened Gascon and due to his policies, emboldened criminals.