Gavin Newsom’s Oakland and East Bay anti-crime crusade continues, now with Newsom announcing he’s sending a bunch of state Department of Justice attorneys to prosecute crime in Alameda County, which may be a message to DA Pamela Price.
SF Mayor London Breed can rightfully point out that crime rates went down in San Francisco in 2023. Same goes for Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass with crime down in that city too. But the same definitely does not go for Oakland and Alameda County. So Governor Gavin Newsom announced Tuesday that he was sending 120 CHP officers to Oakland to fight crime. And now Thursday morning, Newsom has announced he’s sending an army of state attorneys to help prosecute crime in Alameda County as well, according to the Chronicle.
“An arrest isn’t enough,” Newsom said in a Thursday morning press release. “Justice demands that suspects are appropriately prosecuted. Whether it’s ‘bipping’ or carjacking, attempted murder or fentanyl trafficking, individuals must be held accountable for their crimes using the full and appropriate weight of the law.”
Hmmm, the wording “individuals must be held accountable for their crimes” indicates he maybe thinks they aren’t being held accountable now. And you can’t help but wonder if Newsom’s office isn’t sharing some of the discontent with Alameda County DA Pamela Price that’s led to a recall effort against her.
But Price is clearly not blindsided by the news, and she was given a quote in Newsom’s press release saying she’s entirely on board.
“I welcome the support from the Governor in this fight against organized retail crime and the scourge of Fentanyl in our community,” Price said in the release. “I am assigning Alameda County career prosecutor Assistant DA Michael Nieto to represent my office in this collaborative effort.”
Okay, hmmm, again. This begs an obvious question of who’s in charge here. State officials certainly outrank county officials in what KTVU calls “prosecutorial authority,” and Newsom may want that DA’s office run in a way that is more to his liking. But Price is assigning someone in her office into his mix. So the number of cooks in the kitchen may lead to the state and local prosecutors trying to elbow out or even undermine one another.
"I don't know how they've worked the particulars out," legal analyst Michael Cardoza said to KTVU. "Otherwise, you're going to have a mini-DA's office within the DA's office, doing things different from the incumbent DA. It could be a horrid mess."
Image: MONTEREY PARK, CALIFORNIA - JANUARY 23: California Governor Gavin Newsom speaks to the media near the scene of a deadly mass shooting at a ballroom dance studio on January 23, 2023 in Monterey Park, California. Eleven people were killed and nine more were injured at the studio near a Lunar New Year celebration on Saturday night. A candlelight vigil for the victims will be held in the predominantly Asian American community of Monterey Park tonight. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)