Some East Bay mayors furious over cuts

April 24, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
Antioch's mayor staged a protest with other county leaders in the East Bay over budget cuts that could trigger a rise in crime. It's because the County Board of Supervisors cut so much money from the District Attorney's Office, that the DA says he won't be able to prosecute certain misdemeanors.

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Three mayors showed up and announced that police officers in their cities will continue to arrest people that commit misdemeanors, even though the district attorney said he won't prosecute them. Those cities are Antioch, Oakley and Brentwood.

Contra Costa County District Attorney Robert Kochly announced that starting next month, his office will no longer prosecute most misdemeanors, but cities are starting to push back and Concord said it would continue to make arrests. Now three more cities are taking that stance.

The mayor of Antioch said that residents in his city reacted strongly to the district attorney's announcement.

"Total disgust and mistrust in the government that how could they not prosecute these crimes, they uphold the law of this land, and they are not doing that," said Antioch Mayor Jim Davis. "They are saying they are not going to do that, and that's what we are not going to let them get away with."

The crimes that won't be prosecuted by the Contra Costa District Attorney's Office include: drugs, assault, battery, burglary, shoplifting, forgery, embezzlement, vandalism and trespassing.

Announcing that police will continue to arrest people for these crimes is one thing, but some question how powerful the message is without the threat of prosecution.

The district attorney was unavailable for comment, but in the past, he said that this is a terrible thing to have to do, and that there are no winners here.

Contra Costa County supervisors called a special meeting for next week to talk this over. They are the same supervisors that called and decided on all of these budget cuts.

ABC7's Amy Hollyfield finds out more:

It seemed strange that the mayor of Pittsburg wasn't at this press conference, considering it was held in Pittsburg and three other mayors were there. ABC7's Amy Hollyfield was told she was out of the country, but later spotted her a few hours later at a local restaurant. She told Hollyfield she skipped the press conference because she doesn't want to grandstand.

The mayor of Antioch was surprised when Hollyfield called and told him this. He, too, was told she was out of the country. He says he'll grandstand all day long in the name of public safety.

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