Just because Steve Cooley lives in Toluca Lake doesn’t mean you should vote for him for state Attorney General

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Consider what he has done, then make up your mind.

As a prosecutor Steve Cooley first made a name for himself as a tough but fair law and order kind of a guy. Then, after 27 years of prosecution experience, on November 7, 2000 he was elected Los Angeles County’s 40th District Attorney, becoming the first Republican to hold that position since the 1930’s.

Cooley changed the office’s policy on California’s Three Strike’s Law, with the stated purpose to assure proportionality in sentencing and even-handed application countywide.

The changes he made have been proven to enhance the quality and range of prosecution efforts for the department ever since. He has created a Forensic Science Section, and under his leadership the use of DNA and other new techniques in solving so-called “cold cases” has been given a high priority. His office co-authored Proposition 69, California’s all-felon DNA data base law.

He has developed a team equally capable of fighting crime on the streets and in the corridors of power. Cooley has been relentless in his pursuit of public corruption and of lawbreakers within the justice system. Remember the City of Bell crooks? Those thieves, who granted themselves ridiculous salaries and pension plans into the millions of dollars, were finally exposed and arrested.

It was great to watch the bums who stole public money from the people of Bell marching into jail in handcuffs. Steve Cooley was behind that arrest and, like I said in another column, he called what they did “corruption on steroids.” Eight of them including City Manager Robert Rizzo, Assistant City Manager Angela Spaccia, and Mayor Oscar Hernandez will now be brought to justice, and the ex-police chief Randy Adams is also now under investigation.

Cooley created the Public Integrity Division that has prosecuted politicians whose misconduct had gone unpunished for years. For his work in this area and others, Cooley and the Office have received numerous awards and commendations. He also formed the Justice System Integrity Division that led to prison sentences for crooked lawyers who were accustomed to either skating or getting only a slap on the wrist.

As we all know too well, one of Los Angeles’ biggest problems today is gang violence, much of it coming from illegals. It should be noted that under Steve Cooley’s leadership, his office maintains a 95 percent gang conviction rate. Cooley took the lead in demanding a reversal of Mexico’s refusal to extradite accused criminals who face life sentences in the United States. Key to his efforts was the creation of the website EscapingJustice.com that highlighted the issue by telling the stories of victims whose killers fled to Mexico. In 2005, the Mexican Supreme Court overturned a previous ruling and allowed criminals facing life terms to be extradited. The office has since returned several murderers, including the killer of Sheriff’s Deputy David March.

Steve Cooley is the kind of tough, no nonsense kind of guy that our state has been desperately in need of for years. Steeped in strong family values, he is opposed to Prop 19, the measure which would legalize marijuana making that gateway drug even more accessible to kids. He supports the death penalty for murderers. He supports traditional marriage between a man and a woman. He is against Obamacare and has suggested he would join a challenge to its legality in court.

And yet with all those tough, conservative stances he has taken, The Los Angeles Times, a left-leaning progressive newspaper, has seen fit to throw their support behind Steve Cooley. Why would they do that? Well in their editorial they said “…what the next four years require most of all in the office is strong, capable, nonpartisan, professional supervision. Steve Cooley has delivered it to Los Angeles County. He is what the state needs now. He deserves to be California’s next attorney general.” (This may be the first time I’ve agreed with a Times editorial in 25 years!).

So, no, just because Steve Cooley lives in Toluca Lake doesn’t mean you should vote for him. You should vote for him because he is the right man to be California’s Attorney General. The fact that he’s a neighbor just makes it easier to stop by and congratulate him on November 3 and wish him well in Sacramento.

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