POLITICS (State, Local/Bay Area): San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon, controversy, statewide ballot measure, reclassification of drug possession and property crimes ....
* San Francisco Chronicle (Matier & Ross):
Ouch: San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón is catching flak from prosecutors elsewhere in the state over an initiative he and recently retired San Diego Police Chief Bill Lansdowne helped qualify for the November ballot to make most drug possession and property crimes misdemeanors.
In an e-mail to Gascón, Merced County District Attorney Larry Morse complained that "to the best of my knowledge, none of our elected colleagues were consulted by you regarding its merits, its drafting or the anticipated consequences which certainly will reverberate in every one of our counties if it passes." Morse was also burned that Gascón never brought up his proposal at any of the California District Attorneys Association confabs that the two attended.
Morse characterized the initiative, Proposition 47, as "essentially a unilateral gambit by one D.A. representing one county of less than 1 million people purporting to tell those of us who represent the remaining 37 million Californians what is best for public safety. ... It is breathtaking in its hubris."
Gascón said the ballot plan was hardly a secret. And he noted that the district attorneys association also opposed last year's Proposition 36, which removed nonserious, nonviolent offenses from "three strikes and you're out" sentencing rules. It passed easily.
"I find it incredible that people who are elected officials have such a hard time asking the voters whether we should continue to waste billions of dollars in prison space for low-level offenders," Gascón said.