You have to crawl to the bottom of this Chris Brennan column to get to the (marginal) Good News for reform D.A. candidate Carlos Vega.
Reform? You thought Larry Krasner was the reformer?
Yes, Krasner claimed that when he ran in 2017, but now that we have seen the prosecution-averse D.A. in action, we need reform from him, and that’s where Vega comes in, even over the objections of Reclaim Philadelphia.
As Brennan reported, Vega made a pitch for the endorsement of the small, hard-left group. As Brennan also reported, Vega sat down to play 5 card stud against a stacked deck.
“Vega had zero chance of winning the progressive group’s endorsement,” wrote Brennan. Vega knew that.
“If I am elected district attorney, I am representing everyone in the city — Black, white, rich, poor, conservative, liberal,” Vega told me. “It was important for me to tell Reclaim, this is who I am, this is what I am offering, these are my ideas of reform, and my ideas of safety.”
He might as well have been talking to a red brick wall, as far as having a shot at getting the endorsement from the progs.
“Krasner took that prize, winning 296 out of 310 votes, the group announced Monday,” Brennan reported. “Nine members voted for no endorsement and five abstained.”
Here’s what else Brennan reported: There was no option of voting for Vega. Let me repeat, there was no option to vote for Vega.
Prog democracy at work. Thank you, comrades.
In a city of 1.5 million, Reclaim Philadelphia had 310 members making the endorsement. Reclaim might have had more voters, but to vote you have to pay membership dues, according to an email sent to supporters. Yet the 5-year-old outfit is treated as a player in Philly politics. Maybe it is.
I’m pretty sure they can turn out people to knock on doors and make phone calls. They have more than 310 supporters, how many I don’t know. I emailed Reclaim asking for those figures, as well as for membership numbers.
The latest budget it reports is 2017, with income of $100,000, most of it coming, it acknowledges on its website, from “the People’s Action organizing network, specifically directed at funding organizing to end mass incarceration.”
Incidentally, Vega shares many of my views on mass incarceration. China has fewer prisoners than we do, Vega says, because they just shoot many of the accused. You have bullets, why fill the jails?
Reclaim supported Krasner last time (so did George Soros) and is doing so again. Not a single vote for Vega, because unlike Let-‘Em-Loose Larry, Vega feels a strong responsibility to victims, who are often short-changed by Krasner.
It’s not just heavy-duty crime that is being shirked by Krasner.
Have you been in a CVS or Rite Aid lately? Have you noticed all the products on shelves that are locked behind glass?
You can thank Krasner for that.
The lead homicide prosecutor in the D.A.’s office, Vega was there for 35 years before being fired by Krasner shortly after arrival. Hmmm. White man fires a person of color without cause and not a squawk from the usually hysterical Left. Makes you wonder if it is racism.
[Author’s Note: It probably is not racism. This is my way of making fun of those who use racism as a default position any time something bad or unlucky befalls anyone who is not a cisgender Christian male.]
One of the “reforms” Krasner announced was refusing to prosecute shoplifting for less than $500.
Shoplifting went through the roof. A CVS manager told me that’s why the locked shelves were added, although he would not let me use his name. CVS headquarters would not comment on the locked shelves, nor on the added cost they sustain by having to add hired security at some stores.
One mass shoplifting episode at Center City Macy’s got coverage, because there was video. Knowing there will be no prosecution, knowing that they got a free shopping pass from Uncle Larry, the thieves get it.
Vega gets it, too, because his mom ran a bodega when he was growing up and he knows how thieves who are immune from prosecution can steal you right out of business.
“You have to be practical. If you are not practical you will hurt people,” says Vega, who will square off against Krasner Monday afternoon in a debate sponsored by the Philadelphia Bar Association.
“We have to realize there is unfairness in the judicial system, and other systems,” he told me. “And we have to bring about change, but protect citizens at the same time, especially citizens of color, who are suffering the most.”
This should have appealed to a true progressive organization, but it sailed right over the head of Reclaim Philadelphia.