My family moved to Los Angeles during the 1984 Olympics. “I Love L.A.” was on the radio and the city was the envy of the world. I loved everything about L.A. I immediately became a Dodgers, Lakers, Rams, and Kings fan. And I loved the Los Angeles Times, mostly because of its sports section and exceptional calendar (entertainment) section. With no internet, the L.A. Times was everyone’s primary source of information, not just for news but for the scores of the games, who’s coming in concert, what’s on TV, and the weather.
Reading the morning paper was a ritual I continued until just a few years ago when I finally joined the 21st century and switched to the digital version. But last week I cancelled even that upon reading its recent endorsement of Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón for reelection. For the first time in 40 years, I am no longer a subscriber. Just as Los Angeles has changed dramatically in recent years, the L.A. Times has also changed.
Of course, it always had a left-wing bent. But it used to keep that reasonably in check. It was aware it was the primary source of news for Angelenos as there was no significant competing newspaper. It uncovered bribery scandals in the city council, exposed absurd waste by the state with the multi-billion dollar “bullet train to nowhere,” and revealed the billions stolen from the state through unemployment insurance fraud during the pandemic.
But with the change in the media climate, the L.A. Times has changed. The newspaper is no longer the primary source of news for Angelenos, now competing with every other news source available online. Thus, it is no longer compelled to keep its leftist tendencies in check.
This was on full display in its decision to endorse Mr. Gascón. The endorsement shocked many, though cynics say, “What else did you expect?” To me, it was the Los Angeles Times coming out of the closet and no longer pretending to be L.A.’s newspaper, but the newspaper of the socialist left.
Crime and homelessness are notoriously out of control in L.A. It is not up for debate. Los Angeles County leads the nation in the number of homeless, and the city of Los Angeles is No. 1 in organized smash and grab robberies. Crime has become substantially worse on average in the last three years under Mr. Gascón, including vehicle thefts, homicides, and armed robberies. Homicides hit a 15-year high in 2022. Burglaries were so prevalent that year that the police issued an “Area Safety Bulletin” about “violent street robberies.” The bulletin warned of a rash of robberies whereby residents were targeted based upon their cars as well as expensive watches, jewelry, and purses.
But statistics can lie. If crime ticks down, it may be because fewer arrests are being made or fewer crimes being charged. What really matters is how people in the city feel. And trust me, everyone in L.A. feels less safe than in any time in recent memory. If we have not personally experienced crime, we know someone who has. For me, it is a friend recently robbed at gunpoint at a 7-11 in West L.A. They took his wallet and watch while slashing his arm with a knife.
Retail stores on Santa Monica’s famous “Promenade” have closed due to shoplifting and smash and grabs. L.A. gangs have turned from selling drugs to organized theft of homes, stores and trains. The homeless who wander our sidewalks, parks and beaches are dangerous and commit petty theft.
The increases have all happened under Mr. Gascón’s tenure, and it is clearly due to his policies. While he was the San Francisco District Attorney, he masterminded Proposition 47, which converted a host of crimes from felony to misdemeanor in California. Steal less than $950, and you face only misdemeanor charges. We are feeling the effects of this change.
Further, on his first day in office in L.A., Mr. Gascón announced directives to end cash bail, ban prosecutors from seeking enhanced sentences, and stop prosecuting first-time offenders for various “nonviolent” crimes. He ordered a review of past convictions to see if resentencing or release would be warranted based on the new policies. He stopped trying some juveniles as adults. As a result, more criminals are on L.A.’s streets than ever. And they have little fear of being arrested since they know they will immediately be released.
But the Los Angeles Times, which appears to no longer be concerned for its readers but rather seeks to advance an obvious political agenda, tells us that what we see and feel in the city is just wrong. Hardly anyone agrees with the L.A. Times. Mr. Gascón’s approval rating is just 24 percent according to a new poll. Only 15 percent said they plan to vote for him in the March primary.
The L.A. Times says “Voters were right to pick him in 2020. They ought to keep him in place for another term.” But the truth is Mr. Gascón won in 2020 because no one was paying attention, and he had $2.25 million of George Soros’ money, according to the Los Angeles Times, as well as another $1.65 million from the wife of Netflix’s executive chairman Reed Hastings (they live in Santa Cruz, go figure). Such money was unheard of in a district attorney race before. But now we live in the world of the “Soros D.A.” San Francisco had one too, Chesa Boudin. The residents recalled him. Angelenos were set to recall Mr. Gascón also until the Los Angeles County registrar rejected tens of thousands of signatures which would have put it on the ballot.
The Los Angeles Times editorial board labels those who oppose Mr. Gascón as the “MAGA right” or “right-wing politicians.” But in L.A., there is no “MAGA right” or “right-wing politicians!” I am pretty sure I have never seen a Trump bumper sticker, lawn sign, or flag in L.A. Republicans make up just 17 percent of the electorate! There is not a single Republican on the city council. Those who oppose Mr. Gascón are everyday people who simply want to raise their families in a safe, clean environment.
The L.A. Times suggests that the surge in crime is a nationwide trend, and writes, “Prosecutorial policies have no short-term effect on crime.” The L.A. Times is correct that there has been a surge in crime in all the big U.S. cities which have implemented Gascón/Soros type policies, such as San Francisco, Chicago, New York, Philadelphia, and Washington D.C. Cities in Florida and Texas, on the other hand, have not seen such increases.
As for a D.A.’s policies not effecting crime, Mr. Gascón’s leading opponent and most vocal critic, Assistant D.A. Jonathan Hatami said this simply shows that the L.A. Times “either has not been paying attention to the last three years, hasn’t talked to one victim, or doesn’t want the public to be informed of Gascón’s day 1 blanket policies.”
Like Mr. Gascón and Mr. Soros, the L.A. Times brings it all back to race, complaining about laws which result in “disproportionately locking up Black and Latino Angelenos.” This is their justification for not punishing the perpetrators. Apparently in the L.A. Times’ view, some black and Latino people have an inherent inability to understand and adhere to the law. This is the new “equitable” approach to crime fighting where the police are the criminals, and the criminals are the victims. Angelenos have woken up to it, as did their counterparts in San Francisco.
The L.A. Times Editorial Board knows this, but clearly does not care. Their allegiance is no longer to the community they purport to serve, but to a globalist, socialist movement.
Views expressed in this article are opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.