Kamala Harris Opens Attorney General Campaign With Hardhitting Web Ad

Posted on 22 June 2010

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By Steven Maviglio
California Majority Report

The Kamala Harris for Attorney General campaign released yesterday an online ad asking Republican Attorney General nominee Steve Cooley three key questions:

•    Why did Cooley shut down the Environmental Crimes Unit in the Los Angeles District Attorney's Office?
•    Why does he think Californians want to overturn health care reform?
•    What does he have against laws named after "females"?

The ad can be viewed here.

Steve Cooley opposed both Jessica's Law and Marsy's Law, and in public remarks at a university crime forum in 2009, claimed that the way to get an initiative passed in California is to "name it after a female." Regarding Jessica's Law, passed by California voters in 2006 with 70.5 percent of the vote in spite of Cooley's opposition, he said: "You know what gets an initiative passed in California? Name it after a female. Jessica's Law...one of the most ill-crafted, poorly written, ill-conceived pieces of legislation...." Cooley also referred to Marsy's Law, passed by voters in 2008, as a "nice-sounding piece of junk."

In 2003, Steve Cooley closed down the environmental crimes division of the Los Angeles District Attorney's Office, leaving only one prosecutor assigned to handle environmental crimes cases. According to the Los Angeles Times, Cooley transferred the unit's former supervisor to a position overseeing the law library, after the supervisor had "criticized Cooley aides for interfering with an investigation into a politically connected developer."

Cooley has also pledged that as Attorney General, he will work to repeal the historic national health care reform law passed earlier this year. According to the Sacramento Bee, Cooley vowed that if elected, he "would join the 13-state lawsuit" filed by Republican Attorneys General, "calling the new law an intrusive expansion of federal power at the expense of states' rights."

In contrast with Cooley, District Attorney Kamala Harris created San Francisco's first ever Environmental Justice Unit, and has prosecuted cases ranging from illegal dumping to air pollution crimes to poaching - reasons she is endorsed by the California League of Conservation Voters and the Sierra Club.

Harris supports the national health care reform law that makes health care more affordable, holds insurers accountable and ends discrimination against Americans with preexisting conditions. Unlike Cooley, Harris supports Jessica's Law and Marsy's Law, and as District Attorney created a long overdue Child Assault Unit in the District Attorney's Office.

To view the ad, click here.

For more information on Harris, please visit http://www.kamalaharris.org/.


Steven Maviglio is a Sacramento-based public affairs and political consultant. He is the former Deputy Chief of Staff to Speakers Karen Bass and Fabian Nunez. This article originally appeared in the California Majority Report.