On the Issues
Voters have spoken. Californians recognize we cannot solve our community’s problems through mass incarceration. Yet, rather than working within the law to keep Sacramento families safe, our current District Attorney is wasting taxpayer dollars campaigning around the state to overturn the voters’ will, circumvent federal court orders and move our state backward. Rather than grandstanding politically to build a statewide reputation by pandering to voters’ fears, I will build stronger and safer communities across Sacramento County by engaging law enforcement, local leaders and other experts to aggressively work within the law instead of hanging on to the failed policies of the past.
I am committed to proven criminal justice reforms that prevent crime and reduce recidivism. With 20 years experience in the courtroom, I have spent my career prosecuting murderers and other complex criminal cases, including some of the most notorious in recent Sacramento history. This experience on the front lines of our justice system has fueled my commitment to attacking violent crime with evenhanded but tough approaches that modern, competent prosecutors know work best.
We need a leader who recognizes the value of immigrants to our community and will stand up to the Trump Administration to protect Sacramento families. Immigrant children and families are important members of our community— they are our neighbors, work where we work, and go to school with our kids. I am committed to fairness and justice for all of Sacramento’s residents, citizens and immigrants alike. Instead of driving a wedge between families and communities, we must present a united front to combat the hateful rhetoric and destructive policies of the Trump Administration and ensure every Sacramento family feels safe and protected.
California has the toughest gun laws in the country, but in Sacramento, gun violence has had a crippling affect on our communities. Much of the harm is fueled by illegal guns and youth gun violence. Children are murdered by gun violence in our community at a higher rate than the national average. We must do more to prevent needless tragedies and reduce gun violence. I will engage our youth, community leaders, and empower law enforcement to seize weapons from those who should not have them. Together, we can keep guns out of criminals’ hands, keep guns that have been used in crimes off our streets, and keep our families and kids safe.
Law enforcement must be open and transparent with the people we serve and protect. Community-police trust encourages witnesses and victims of crime to come out of the shadows to access services, report crime, and participate in crime reduction efforts. This keeps everyone safe. I will work with community groups and law enforcement to implement reasonable standards that will allow public access to police body and dashboard camera videos. It is imperative that we rebuild the trust and partnership between law enforcement and our communities and ensure we are working together to keep our streets safe.
We know that the war on drugs has failed, costing taxpayers billions of dollars and leading to the decimation of a generation of young men of color. The fact is, drug laws are not enforced equally. African Americans make up just 6 percent of the state population, and nearly 30 percent of the prison population and are 10 times more likely to be incarcerated than Whites. Latinos make up more than 40 percent of the state prison population. I will assure equal protection of the law and stop biased prosecutions that target African Americans, Latinos, and poor communities.
Criminalization and incarceration is not a Band-Aid for addiction and disease. Outdated and ineffective drug policies cannot solve drug abuse and addiction. We must prioritize our criminal justice efforts on combating dangerous offenders and violent crime, such as trafficking, and provide alternative solutions for minor drug offenses such as diversion, treatment, and substance abuse counseling.
Crime prevention requires reaching people while they are still young. We must shift our priorities and focus on prevention strategies that work, including after-school programs, job training and early intervention – programs that have proven effective in addressing the root causes of juvenile crime and gang violence. We should be wary of how we use measures like gang injunctions, curfew and truancy policies, and uniformed police in elementary school campuses, which too often target youth of color and contribute to the school-to-prison pipeline. California spends about 6 times as much per prisoner per year as it does per public school pupil. Putting our youth in jail should be our last choice, not our first.
Victims of crime are too often left out of the criminal justice process. Day in and day out I witness the pain that crime victims and their families face. My understanding of the ongoing trauma that victims suffer was intensified when my parents were the victims of a home invasion during which my father was forced to shoot and kill the perpetrator. In 20 years of service as a Deputy District Attorney my greatest professional honor was to receive the Outstanding Victim Service Award from my peers in the Office of the Sacramento District Attorney.
In recent years, California has led the nation in criminal justice reform and has reduced incarceration and wasteful prison spending. However, there is still work to do. In order for new criminal justice reforms to work, we must do more to ensure that people transitioning from incarceration back into our community have a fair shot at becoming productive members of the community and do not return to a life of crime. Those who have paid their debt to society deserve a true second chance, but face many barriers to becoming self-sufficient after incarceration. We need to innovate and expand community resources, reentry and retraining programs, and remove obstacles for people who want to work hard to get their lives back on track. I will work together with, community groups, business leaders, residents and local law enforcement all to ensure criminal justice reform works and that we keep Sacramento safe.
I believe in responsible gun ownership. Yet, like Senator Feinstein I support a ban on assault weapons. They are intended for military use with one purpose — killing as many people as possible, as quickly as possible. As a prosecutor, I’ve seen too many people killed by those who should not have access to guns. I support instant background checks for firearm purchases to try to reduce their availability to convicted felons, to those with mental health issues, to minors and to those with spousal abuse records. However, our president and our Sacramento District Attorney and Sheriff have done nothing to limit access to mass-killing weapons. Their consistent acquiescence to the NRA says it all: these politicians choose political expediency over the safety of our schools and neighborhoods.