District Attorney Town Hall
The two individuals who most set the tone for justice in Contra Costa County are the Sherriff and the District Attorney. For years we have been battling the Sheriff and the priority of building jails rather than providing the services needed to help people not in jail.
The other powerful individual is the County District Attorney. The previous DA, Mark Peterson, illegally diverted campaign money to his own use, was caught and had to step down. But he was also a District Attorney who was at odds with the values of our community. He reinforced institutionalized racism, supported the unfair bail bond system, and directed his attention to petty crime instead of the crimes of corporations and the wealthy. He failed to investigate seriously the murder of Pedie Perez and was quick to exonerate the cop who shot the unarmed youth.
On Sept 12 The Board of Supervisors gets to select the temporary DA until the election next year. But the temporary DA will be running as the incumbent which gives her/him a tremendous advantage in the elections. We need a DA for the people. Some members of the Board of Supervisors have already indicated support for a traditional DA who will carry on Peterson’s policies.
We need to make it clear to the BOS that we want a different kind of DA -- one who not only gives lip service to community values but one who will lead the fight for them. A coalition of progressive labor and community groups have been interviewing potential DA candidates and have published a scorecard showing the candidates’ stands on issues. (See candidates’ answers to community questionnaire here)
Unfortunately there has been a well-organized smear campaign against the top-ranked candidate, Judge Diana Beckton, who come closest to our values.
To learn more, and to hear from the DA candidates directly, you can join a District Attorney Town Hall on Saturday, September 9 at 1pm at Miracle Temple, 2425 Cutting Blvd., Richmond. We also need as many people as possible to attend the Board of Supervisors meeting on September 12, 9am at the County Building in Martinez. (Watch for announcements about carpooling and busses)
Members of the coalition include: ACLU of Northern California; Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE); Contra Costa AFL-CIO Central Labor Council; Contra Costa County Racial Justice Coalition (CCCRJC); Courage Campaign; Democratic Party of Contra Costa County; East County NAACP; Healthy Richmond, Safe Return Project; and Smart Justice California.