Learn about role of the DA’s Office and ask questions of the candidates
The Contra Costa Board of Supervisors has the responsibility under state law to appoint an interim District Attorney (DA) to fill the vacancy left by the resignation of former DA Mark Peterson.
The Board of Supervisors will interview the five finalist candidates at its September 12 public meeting, which starts at 9 a.m. A final decision may be made that day, or at the following board meeting on September 19, 2017. The public is invited to provide input at the board meetings.
This Saturday, a coalition of community organizations (see flyer above) is sponsoring a community forum to hear from the five interim DA candidates with an opportunity for the public to ask questions. District 1 Supervisor John Gioia will be speaking at the forum and providing his comments about the importance of the appointment.
“This is an important appointment,” said Gioia who represents Richmond and much of West County on the Board. “The DA is a major stakeholder in our County’s justice system and makes the final determination about who is prosecuted.”
“I strongly believe that the new DA must bring values of integrity, equity, empathy and fairness to the office,” he continued. “The new DA should understand the importance of justice reform and commit to support the work of the Racial Justice Task Force in addressing the disproportionate involvement of people of color in our justice system.”
WHAT: Community Forum to hear from Contra Costa Interim DA candidates and ask questions
WHEN: Saturday, September 9, 1 pm to 3 pm
WHERE: Miracle Temple, 2425 Cutting Blvd, Richmond
MORE: There will be a presentation on the role and importance of the DA followed by presentations from the candidates and questions to them.
For more information, contact email@example.com or (925) 335-6738.
Swen Oleson says
I applaud Supervisor Gioa and these community groups for staging this important community meeting so voters can get a look and hear from the five prospective applicants for the vacant DA’s job. A meeting was held in Pittsburg, and now Richmond, two communities that are vitally interested in criminal justice issues. This is a great thing, a really positive development. Because of these meetings the community is getting involved in the selection process , which I think is vital. We can’t have the selection of the next DA take place in a back room, with only special interest groups having a say. The next DA needs to be vetted by the community, not just the Board of Supervisors, or special interest groups.
I myself am deeply troubled the job of elected DA has been the preserve of white males only, dating back 80 years. Additionally, these white male DA’s all seem to come from Danville, Alamo, or Lafayette. The job, in fact, has been passed on for generations. Senator Nejedly passed the job on the Bill O’Malley, when O’Malley went to the bench he passed the job on to Gary Yancey, and when Yancy retired he passes the job to Bob Kochly. Significantly none of these DA’s had women or people of color in senior management positions, thus women and people of color were not mentored to take over the elected DA job. You had a kind of old boy network going on.
The previous DA,Mark Peterson, actually ran against the old boy network when he ran back in 2010, yet after winning the job – defeating the old boy network – he then turns around an installs all white males to run the DA’s office, So we had a continuation of the old boy network, not as bad as before, but still bad. Mark Peterson, despite his campaign rhetoric, basically just created his own old boy network. As Yogi Bera once said, it was De Ja Vu all over again.
Right now, as many are aware, many local police officer associations, along with the Deputy District Attorneys Association are backing Deputy DA Paul Graves for the open DA’s job. We are being told Graves is the perfect person for the job, just trust us, say these powerful interest groups, These special interest groups want us voters, and the Board of Supervisors who are mulling the appointment, to ignore the other four candidates for the job, just listen to us, we know what we are doing. I myself question this wisdom.
If you look at the field – the five applicants – Paul Graves has one of the weakest resumes for the job. The Board of Supervisors is being asked to ignore the resumes of the two outstanding women candidates, both Judges, and both women of color. According to these police groups and the Deputy DA’s, the Board of Supervisors should ignore these incredibly talented women Judges who have applied, women who are highly regarded (Judge Douglas is 13 year veteran DA of the CoCo county DA’s office, and Judge Becton is a former presiding court judge, and she’s also the President of the National Judges Association) and instead the Board should vote for Paul Graves, who isn’t even in senior management in the DA’s office, he was like fourth in command at the DA’s office, if even that. Basically Graves is trying to leapfrog over others that are more qualified, and the Board is supposed to ignore the Judges altogether, according to these police officer associations.
As many may recall, these same groups – the Deputy DA’s and the police officers associations – backed a candidate back in 2010 – Dan O’Malley. They told us voters he was the perfect guy for the DA’s job, yet he turned out to be a bumbling candidate. He was only able to win his home city of Lafayette, which is why we ended up getting stuck with this Mark Peterson as our DA, ,a guy who ended up being arrested for embezzling campaign funds. So here we are in 2017 and the Deputy DA’s Association and these police officer associations are telling us, as they did in 2010, that we got the perfect candidate for the job – Paul Graves, even though his resume appears to be a lot weaker than Judge Becton’s or Judge Douglass. I don’t know about others, but I am dubious, I think board members should completely ignore the Deputy DA’s Association, and these police officers associations, they just appear to be interested in keeping this old boy thing going from what I can see
As many may recall, these police officers associations – who all backed O’Malley in 2010 – flipped as soon as Peterson got the DA’s job, the POA’s suddenly became Peterson’s best pals. In fact, they were poised to endorse him in his re-election effort, until Peterson got carted off in cuffs and booked for embezzlement. Given this, I do think the endorsements by the POA’s and the Deputy Sheriffs and the Deputy District Attorneys Association ought to be taken with a grain of salt. I believe if the board selects any of these five candidates these law enforcement groups will immediately get on the bandwagon for anybody who is appointed to the job, including these two outstanding women Judges that the board is considering.
The Board of Supervisors, I think, has a chance here to shatter the glass ceiling here and appoint a women of color to the DA’s job, they shouldn’t pass this opportunity up. As I stated earlier, this Mark Peterson ran against the “old boy network” back in 2010 – he made this a campaign issue, and he beat the old boy network. The fact that he did this and won tells you there was a desire on the part of the voters to put an end to this business of the job of DA being passed on to this little ” in group” (O’Malley was the son of a previous DA). Unfortunately he was not sincere in his campaign rhetoric,Peterson just kept the old boy network going.
I believe, as do many others, it’s time to break this cycle of white males only holding the DA’s job, it’s not 1950. Contra Costa is a fabulous mosaic of communities, vibrant communities, communities that have incredibly talented people, like Judge Becton and Judge Douglass. We have terrific women attorneys now, they should get a chance to lead the DA’s office. I urge the Board of Supervisors to make history by appointing women, and I urge all readers who share my views to write their local supervisor. The time has come to have a women the DA’s office, a person of color too. Fairness and simple justice is involved here, we need -as a County – to make the statement that all county jobs are open to our various communities, and we also need to end this business of the DA’s office being run by rich guys from Lafayette and Danville…
The DA’s job belongs to the people, not to any special interest group, or any “in group” of well connected attorneys, it belongs to us voters. No more old boy network running the DA’s office, it’s time to end this. I urge the Board to make history by appointing a women, and a women of color, to the DA’s job.