Los Angeles Magazine: Covina City Council Issues Vote of ‘No Confidence’ in DA
UPDATE: MAY 5, 2021 – The City of Covina has become the latest to pass a resolution expressing “no confidence” in District Attorney George Gascón, following a three-to-one vote at last night’s meeting of the Covina City Council.
The symbolic resolution, similar to ones previously passed by several other cities within Los Angeles County, stems from controversy over the new DA’s criminal justice reform efforts. In particular, directives from the DA to not prosecute certain low-level offensives and not apply sentencing enhancements.
“Last night, our council voted to communicate with our District Attorney in a public and direct way. I know that our council voice may be lost in the bigger discussions taking place, but I and my colleagues are hearing concern, fear, and anger from our community around Mr. Gascón’s directives,” Covina City Councilman John King told Los Angeles. “Our action has no immediate impact other than to give voice to those that are fearful that Gascón’s directives will continue to erode the quality of life in our communities.”
At the meeting, council members heard from members of the public and local police, and had an opportunity to question a representative for the DA.
“Covina believes in having a quality of life for citizens,” Councilman Walter Allen III said during the session, mentioning issues in Covina including public defecation, drug sales, and graffiti. “Our citizens don’t like the idea of these so-called ‘lightweight misdemeanors’ not being filed by our police department.”
Gascón spokesman Max Szabo responded by stating that, while he understood the concern over those “quality of life” issues in the community, criminal prosecution may not be the best solution to every dispute.
“We would be foolish to think that the criminal justice system and applying criminal convictions to low-level behavior–which precludes people from employment and housing opportunities and is also a primary driver of recidivism–is not exacerbating our homeless epidemic,” Szabo said.