Thursday, November 8, 2012
Lacey Wins, Says ‘Community Has Come Forward’ on Race
By KENNETH OFGANG, Staff Writer
Los Angeles County District Attorney-Elect Jackie Lacey yesterday called her election a validation of change that has taken place in Los Angeles County.
That Lacey emerged as the first African American and first woman to hold the office was “an interesting footnote” to a campaign that was based on qualifications, not demographics, she told the MetNews.
Her guiding belief, she said, was that voters who knew nothing of the candidates other than their resumes would choose her, following a career which saw her rise through the ranks of the District Attorney’s Office to become its No. 2 official.
“I believe I had the qualification suited for the job,” she said. That voters chose her on that basis, while “seeing that I was an African-American woman...reminds us that our community has come forward in terms of racial equality....We look at the person.”
Lacey defeated Deputy District Attorney Alan Jackson Tuesday by 10 percentage points. With 100 percent of precincts reporting, but with absentee and provisional ballots left to count, Lacey had 1,113,455 votes to Jackson’s 911,435, the registrar-recorder reported.
Lacey said she had begun putting together an executive team that will be ready to begin work Dec. 3, when her four-year term begins. She noted that a number of senior members of the office have previously announced plans to retire.
She said she plans to appoint a small, formal transition team. But the transition should be smooth, she said, given that she is already part of the office’s management.
District Attorney Steve Cooley, whom she has worked with ever since his days as head deputy in the San Fernando Valley, has asked current managers to write transition memos, she said.
The biggest issue at the outset of her term, she said, is criminal justice realignment, under which the state has transferred responsibility for the incarceration of “low level” felons to the counties.
Lacey said that while she is grateful to Cooley, whose endorsement helped propel her into a surprising first place in the primary—Los Angeles City Attorney Carmen Trutanich, who raised the most money, was the early favorite and raised the most money, before finishing third—“I’m looking forward to flying solo.”
She explained that “when the district attorney retires, he retires.” But she has had Cooley “on speed dial during the campaign...and I know I’ll be able to call him when I need him.”
Jackson could not be reached for comment yesterday. But in a statement, he congratulated Lacey on her victory, saying she ran a “dignified campaign” and that she “has earned our respect.”
“While she and I have serious disagreements, we share a commitment to making Los Angeles County a safer place to live. I look forward to working with Jackie and her administration to take on the dangerous criminals who threaten our community, fight for the vulnerable and for victims of crime, and work to keep children out of crime in the first place.”
Copyright 2012, Metropolitan News Company