A week ago at the California Republican Party Convention in San Diego, Los Angeles District Attorney Steve Cooley said some outrageous things about his opponent in the California Attorney’s Race – San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris.
Steve Cooley called Kamala Harris, who is running to be the first African American Attorney General in California’s history, a “radical” and a “tremendous threat to public safety.” If she wins in November, Kamala Harris would be the first African American statewide elected official in California in 31 years.
Steve Cooley went on to say that he “would be very happy to stop her aspirations at an early point in her career. There's just too much at stake."
In this year’s political climate, we’re hearing more and more of these kinds of attacks. Pandering to their extremist base, some candidates from the right are stooping to a level of “code” that we haven’t seen in years.
Their agenda is to attack President Barack Obama and try to stop candidates of color in their tracks. All the while, they refuse to repudiate those elements among their supporters, some of them truly dangerous radicals, who carry signs portraying the President of the United States as a monkey, as Hitler, or worse.
Steve Cooley calls Kamala Harris a radical but he doesn’t take issue with her record. As San Francisco’s first African American District Attorney, Harris has been an innovator in law enforcement, creating early intervention programs like her “Back on Track” program that has lowered recidivism among nonviolent offenders from more than 50% to less than 10%. She’s tough as nails when it comes to violent crime, increasing public safety and raising conviction rates to their highest point in 15 years, including doubling the conviction rate for gun violence.
Harris is working with U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to prosecute predatory lenders and people who commit mortgage fraud.
And she launched one of the first environmental justice prosecution teams in the country -- Steve Cooley shut down L.A.’s environmental unit.
Cooley, the Republican Party nominee for California Attorney General, says if he is elected, he will join Republican Attorneys General from across the Southern United States who have filed a federal lawsuit to overturn the historic health care reform law championed by President Obama and passed by Congress earlier this year. Cooley and the Southern state Republicans claim the new law violates “state’s rights”.
We’ve heard that argument before – for years “states’ rights” was the rallying cry for segregationists attempting to block federal civil rights laws.
Assemblymember Sandre Swanson (D-Alameda) is Chairman of the California Legislative Black Caucus.