Embattled Alameda County District Attorney Pamela Price and her supporters will be having a campaign launch party Thursday evening in Oakland as they try to fend off an attempt to get Price removed from office.
It was arguably the case that former SF District Attorney Chesa Boudin did not do enough to battle against the recall effort that ultimately succeeded in ousting him last year. Boudin himself has admitted, in the wake of his ouster, that he didn't fully grasp how the role of DA was an inherently political one. And politically unpopular he did become — at least enough to be recalled in a mid-year special election with a lot of motivated opponents.
Price's supporters actually launched the "#ProtecttheWin" campaign with a fundraiser two months ago, and they're also circulating the hashtag "#Decline2Sign" — discouraging Alameda County voters from signing the petition to put the recall on the ballot.
Recall supporters need to gather 73,195 verified signatures by March 5. Carl Chan, a spokesperson for the recall effort, has touted that they have already collected 70,000 signatures, but this has not been confirmed.
"District Attorney Pamela Price ran a grassroots, corporate-free campaign and easily won the election. Then, came the backlash," the new campaign says in an announcement of tonight's event. "We need to show the Republicans and special interest groups that have contributed $500,000 to the sore losers and election deniers that Alameda County is not for sale. If they were serious about public safety, they'd spend their money on housing, education and mental health support for all residents — all the things we have been fighting for."
Thursday's event, at an undisclosed location (registrants will learn it after they register), will feature actor Danny Glover, hip-hop artist Mistah F.A.B., and civil rights attorney Walter Riley.
Price has been portrayed by opponents as soft on crime, and several decisions by her office in high-profile cases have galvanized these opponents. One of these decisions had to do with charging suspects in the November 2021 freeway shooting that killed toddler Jasper Wu. Price drew ire initially just for saying that she would be "reviewing" charges against three suspects, which came with gang enhancements, citing her opposition to such enhancements.
Price campaigned on being a progressive prosecutor who does not believe in over-long or overly harsh sentencing, even for violent crimes.
In another case in which Price's office had some tense exchanges with a judge, a plea deal for triple murder suspect Delonzo Logwood was initially rejected, and then accepted by the judge — and Logwood was sentenced in July to 12 years, eight of which he has already served. Price's office has cited a lack of evidence in two of the three killings, after a star witness backed out of a potential trial.
Without citing specifics, the Recall Pamela Price campaign says on its website that "DA Price has violated victims’ rights, ignored victim pleas and disrespected people who have been victimized by some of the worst crimes imaginable."
A spokesperson for the anti-recall effort, William Fitzgerald, tells the Chronicle that the recall supporters are trying to "undermine democracy and [are] spreading fear."
And Price herself says in a statement, "This campaign is not about left or right-wing politics; it’s about public safety. We need a legal system that holds people accountable for their actions while ensuring that we do not lock people away indefinitely."
It remains to be seen whether the mood in Oakland in a general election year, after two years of high homicide counts (2022 and 2023) and widespread reports of car thefts and burglaries, will work against Price — assuming that the recall makes it on to the ballot. Violent crime reports overall have jumped 22% in 2023 in Oakland, which is in contrast to San Francisco, where actual violent crime stats did not support claims by Boudin's opponents.
"Crime did not start on January 3 in Oakland [when I took office] or anywhere else in Alameda County. It has been a rising trend," Price earlier told the Chronicle. "Public concern about crime and the lack of feeling safe in our communities did not start on Jan. 3. But the people who lost the election began this recall as soon as I got elected."
Scan the QR code below if you want to attend tonight's event or support Price.