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L.A., S.F. DAs face off for attorney general

October 13, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
The district attorneys of San Francisco and Los Angeles counties are battling it out to become California's next attorney general. When it comes to the issues, Kamala Harris and Steve Cooley are at opposite ends of the spectrum. Each candidate would take a different approach to enforcing state laws.The race for California's attorney general has officially taken to the airwaves.

One new ad from Democratic candidate Kamala Harris, the San Francisco County district attorney, attacks her opponent, Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley, for wanting to take his district attorney pension along with his potential attorney general salary.

But Republican Steve Cooley has instead focused his ads on his tough take on crime.

Cooley reiterated his image as a veteran prosecutor Wednesday. His opponent, he says, has been less effective.

"Her record as the chief prosecutor in San Francisco County is pretty poor," said Cooley. "Hundreds of cases have been dismissed because of her not adhering to ethical principles of disclosure. Their conviction rate is among the lowest in California."

But Harris claims her strides in law enforcement are in technology, developing a nationally recognized program she says has decreased the number of criminals in California that are sent back to prison.

"We've created a model re-entry initiative," said Harris. "Which, now, for the last five years, has reduced the re-offense rate for that population, from 54 percent to less than 10 percent. It's called 'Back on Track.'"

As for issues like the death penalty, Cooley is for it. Harris is against it, but says she will enforce the law.

When it comes to gay marriage Harris plans on upholding a federal judge's ruling that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional. Cooley says he will appeal the ruling.

In fact Cooley and Harris have polar-opposite views on pretty much every issue except for one: legalizing marijuana.

Both candidates do not support Proposition 19, but if it passes in November, both say they will reluctantly enforce it.

With so many hot-button issues in the news these days, the race to be California's attorney general will be getting a lot of attention come Election Day.


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