Petition drive begins for recall of district attorney

Alameda County District Attorney Pamela Price. (Office of the Alameda County District Attorney via Bay City News)

The race is on in the petition drive to recall Alameda County District Attorney Pamela Price.

On Thursday, representatives for the group Save Alameda For Everyone announced they have received 1,900 requests from volunteers to collect signatures and hired a professional petitioning firm that began canvassing on Monday.

Price has faced backlash against her progressive policies. Her opponents consider her to be soft on crime.

“I think the ideal candidate is someone who will be willing to work as a D.A. and to rebuild what has been destroyed,” said Carl Chan, one of the group’s principals.

Chan said an ideal district attorney should be constructive and understand the needs of the county and make sure that victims’ families will be supported. “But they must also avoid sending the wrong message to young people committing crime,” he said. “Committing crime is not OK!”

According to the group, they must submit 73,195 verified signatures from registered Alameda County voters by March 5 to recall Price in a possible June special election.

They also need to raise $2 million, which they estimate will mostly go to pay for professional signature gathering toward the end of the drive, when canvasing will be door-to-door. Chan said “many” businesses have asked to be signature sites as well, mostly convenient stores and gas stations.

Brenda Grisham, another principal of SAFE, says she wants tougher sentencing for people who have committed murder. Grisham’s son, Christopher LaVell Jones, was killed in the crossfire between gangs outside of a church on New Year’s Eve in 2010.

“They were never charged for my son’s murder,” Grisham said of the gunmen who shot her son. “One was killed by the police. The other killed someone else and is in prison for that, and the third has been in jail for federal gun charges.”

Grisham said she accompanies victims’ families to court.

“I also went to court with another family where the young man has already been let go after two and a half years,” Grisham said, referring to the case of James Vega who, at the age of 28, shot Jarin Purvis in April 2020.

Vega was initially charged with murder in the case, but Price announced that she would instead seek involuntary manslaughter charges for the killing, saying it was an accidental shooting.

“And I sat there when the judge said, ‘we have to do what’s on this piece of paper. We have to do what we’re told to do.’ So, this young man has killed someone. He’s been two and a half years in jail, is a recent murderer. He does not have probation and he is not on an ankle monitor,” she said.

“We are not here trying to put people in jail,” Chan said. “What we are talking about are repeat offenders, people committing crimes over and over and over again, we cannot allow them to be on the streets hurting people continuously.”

The District Attorney’s Office was asked for comment following the announcement but had not responded as of Thursday afternoon.

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