Article and Graphic by Andreas Petersen
Recently there has been a push for recalls for multiple positions in our local government. There was one that stood out: the push to recall our very own district attorney (DA), Jill Ravitch. However, the recall was defeated and Ravitch stayed in office. Some believed she needed to be recalled for various reasons and others believed that the recall was just an attempt at revenge. Still, like every recall, there are two sides to the story, and reasons why we should or shouldn’t do a recall.
The recall attempt started as an online petition, but once it hit its goal, which was 43,300 signatures, it went mainstream. Local developer Bill Gallagher paid for the news to spread and ended up being the main funder of the recall. This caused problems because people suspected that Gallagher is out for revenge. Ravitch’s offices sued one of Gallaghers companies, Oak Senior Living, for abandoning elderly residents at two Santa Rosa senior homes during the 2017 Tubbs fire. After being fined $500,000, he spent nearly four times as much money trying to recall her. Some websites reported that he even went so far as using money from some of his corporations to fund the recall. Though Gallagher denied this accusation, the campaign towards not recalling Ravitch was based on the idea that the whole recall was Gallagher’s attempt to get revenge. To some people, that idea didn’t seem too far from the truth because if you followed the money, Gallagher was the only real funder of the campaign. To most, the campaign to recall was just a waste of taxpayer’s money and had no real reasons to recall Ravitch. In the end, the recall was not successful and Ravitch was able to stay in office.
Though the recall was defeated and most of Sonoma County did not want to recall Ravitch, others wanted to recall Ravitch for numerous reasons. Some of those reasons were that she had failed to do her job and keep Sonoma County safe and had a track record of cronyism and hypocrisy. It didn’t help that when, in 2015, her brother got into a car wreck which resulted in the death of his best friend and it seemed that her brother was let off easy. This outraged some people, who believed that Ravitch used her position to get her brother a lower sentence. Some ads even suggested that Ravitch had won him leniency through a sweetheart deal.
In reality, Ravitch had nothing to do with her brother’s trial because it was outside her district. Even if it was they wouldn’t have let her anywhere near the case because there would have been a possibility of conflict of interest.
Both sides have reasons why or why not to recall Ravitch, both opinions valid. Though in the end the recall did not go through and Ravitch stayed as the district attorney of Sonoma County.