ALAMEDA COUNTY, Calif. (KGO) -- For months, there have been efforts to recall Alameda County District Attorney Pamela Price. Now, she is fighting back.
"The effort, to what they call a 'recall,' is really an attack on our democracy. That's so important. People voted for me. For change. For a new direction. So, it's bigger than me," says Price.
On Thursday, she is launching "Protect The Win," a campaign to push back against what she calls false narratives by election deniers.
"(The recall) is about people who don't want to see the criminal justice system reformed and don't want to see change. And unfortunately, they were able to get outside money to fund that. And, it's part of a national attack on progressive prosecutors across the country," says Price.
She points to major initiatives that she has launched thus far, less than a year in office. That includes hiring more than 120 new staff, including attorneys and victim advocates, expanding the felony trial team, and increasing mental health services and addiction recovery through the court system. It also includes $4 million in funding to fight organized retail theft.
"I hope that we will be able to engage people in a real dialogue. A real continuing education campaign about what the role of the district attorney is. What I can and cannot do. What I hope to be able to do. And what we are actually doing," says Price.
Leading the recall effort is a coalition of community groups, who say they already have the more than 73,000 signatures necessary to get the recall vote on the ballot, although those signatures still need to be verified. They argue that Price's philosophy as a prosecutor makes her soft on crime.
"When she says 'restorative justice,' she forgets the victim," says Edward Escobar with Citizen Unite, who is also part of the recall effort.
"The goal of diversion programs are for dismissal," says Tuan Ngo, a volunteer with the recall campaign. "She considers home detention incarceration. So that's why we have an increase in crime."
District Attorney Price responds by saying: "I am not lenient on crime! The fact is, the tough on crime rhetoric and the policies of the past have failed us."
Price says she was elected on campaign for reform, which includes rooting out racial and economic disparities in the criminal justice system. And, to prioritize rehabilitation over excessive punishment. All of which, Price wants to remind voters, takes time.
"Alameda County is not for sale. And we have proven that over and over again. We have to prove it again," says Price.
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