You’re a racist! That’s what District Attorney George Gascon’s campaign has hurled at our union for airing this commercial aptly named The Con is On with George Gascon. The charge would be infuriating if it wasn’t so bizarre and communicated through a comical, over-the-top, foaming-at-the-mouth press release.
What’s ironic in Gascon’s off-the-rails screed is that the Los Angeles Police Protective League, whose membership is made up of a majority of men and women of color, is endorsing an African American woman for District Attorney—a decision obviously driven by our racism and sexism. That fact seemed to be left out of the Gascon release.
Now, it may seem petty to have to correct the rest of Mr. Gascon’s angry release, after dealing with the heavy issue of our racism, but the Gascon release deserves more scrutiny. (We’ll have to use a separate blog post to help chronicle Gascon’s history of over-the top prosecutions, hidden evidence and phony crime stats) or you can watch our commercial here to get up to speed.
The release criticizes the ad as portraying Gascon as a “elderly Caucasian man.” We don’t know what about the actor makes him “elderly.” Is it his hair? In our defense, the actor in the commercial moves with great dexterity and speed as he packs his bags to get out of San Francisco as fast as he can (we should get more accuracy points for that).
Now, the ad also states that we portrayed Gascon as a “dirty cop.” Hmm. Well … that’s entirely untrue. The ad refers to him as the former District Attorney of San Francisco, he’s dressed in a suit (a pretty nice one at that) and we stick to his sordid record as District Attorney. We could have raised issues related to his service as a police command officer. Like when he was widely criticized in the L.A. Times for juking the crime stats when he was an Assistant Chief for the LAPD. Or when he cut the mental health crisis intervention training for police officers in San Francisco without putting in place new training.
Oh, there’s a few more gems, but at this point we’ve only addressed the first paragraph of the release. Phew.
Now, Mr. Gascon’s camp has labeled us as a “conservative group” with a bunch of “Trump-supporting white guys” (notice they introduced race here). Interesting. First, the LAPPL did not make any endorsements for president in 2016. This “conservative group” has a strong history of supporting candidates of both parties, all genders and all racial and ethnic backgrounds. It is ironic. After all, Gascon previously described himself as a “long-time Republican” before moving back to San Francisco to become San Francisco’s Police Chief—where being a Republican would not help him. How convenient.
Look at our previous endorsements and you’ll see from the highest office in California down the ballot to City Councils, we backed candidates we felt would do the best job for our community—regardless of party, race, or gender, or sexual orientation or any other factor.
Where is all this coming from? The release states pretty plainly what Gascon is worried about. They claim that we aimed our ad at “progressive voters in an attempt to undermine Gascon’s progressive support.” That’s the thing. We actually think honesty, integrity and transparency are values held by all ideologies.
You see, Gascon was not well liked by “progressives” in San Francisco. The Public Defender was a constant critic of Gascon’s tactics. Progressive groups criticized him for never prosecuting a police officer for an officer-involved shooting and for “offering passes” for over 20 internal affairs cases against police officers when he took over as police chief. The District Attorney who succeeded Gascon after abandoning his post, ran on a platform of changing the culture and tactics of George Gascon’s District Attorney’s Office. Change. Not more of the same.
That folks, is the point of the ad. Gascon quit his gig and traveled south to take a new job, pretending to be a new person. To do things he failed to do when he had the exact same job in San Francisco. That is the con. And it’s definitely on.