San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris is running for California’s top law enforcement job. ColorOfChange.org is excited about her platform, especially her pledge to focus on fixing the state’s broken prison system.

Below is the email we sent our California members yesterday to get out the vote for Harris in Tuesday’s primary.

Dear ColorOfChange member,

California is on the verge of making history — and you can help make it happen. San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris is running for California Attorney General, and if she wins, she would be the first ever Black woman to serve in that role.

But we’re not supporting her because she’s Black — we’re supporting her because she’s visionary.1 Harris is working not only to get violent criminals off the streets, but also to find ways to keep vulnerable youth out of prison and on the path toward a productive future. And, as she’s done in the past, she’ll use rehabilitation programs to reduce the number of repeat offenders clogging up California’s courts and prisons.2

Kamala Harris is the kind of leader we need to help change our broken criminal justice system. Tuesday’s race is likely to be close. Harris’ main opponent, Chris Kelly, is a former business executive who is pouring millions of his own fortune into attack ads that distort Harris’ record.3

We hope you’ll take a few moments to learn more about Kamala Harris, vote for her on Tuesday, and ask your friends and family to do the same.

 You can learn more about Harris and find out how you can help her campaign, here:

http://www.kamalaharris.org/

Six years ago, Harris became San Francisco’s first elected female DA, the state’s first elected Black DA and the nation’s first elected South Asian DA.4 She’s a trailblazer who doesn’t back down from addressing head on the root causes of California’s law enforcement problems.

Now she wants to tackle California’s out-of-control prison system. The state releases 120,000 inmates a year and 70 percent of them return to prison within three years.5 The resulting overcrowding and costs to taxpayers are unsustainable, and programs that Harris has launched in the Bay Area point a way toward addressing the crisis. Her “Back on Track” re-entry program for people with felony convictions has successfully combated recidivism, quickly shrinking the rate of repeat offenses among these first-time offenders from 50% to less than 10%.6

But Chris Kelly, Harris’ most well-funded opponent, is attacking her with baseless ads, misleading the public about her record,7 and distorting the facts related to an investigation into the city’s crime lab, a division of the police department.8 Harris has acknowledged the problem and has taken responsibility for her office’s role. She’s also working to reform the city’s system of disclosing police misconduct to defense attorneys — a move that will address previous oversights and give lawyers the information they need to discredit officers with criminal histories.9

On Tuesday, Californians can vote for a candidate who has consistently stood by her values. Kamala Harris has a vision for a new approach to keeping our communities safe — one that prioritizes providing the training and skills people need to stay out of prison and jail. Please support Kamala Harris in Tuesday’s primary election. And encourage your friends and family to do the same:

http://www.kamalaharris.org/

Thanks and Peace,

– James, Gabriel, William, Dani, Milton and the rest of the ColorOfChange.org team
June 3rd, 2010

Help support our work. ColorOfChange.org is powered by YOU — your energy and dollars. We take no money from lobbyists or large corporations that don’t share our values, and our tiny staff ensures your contributions go a long way. You can contribute here:

https://secure.colorofchange.org/contribute/

References:

1. “A focused vision for Attorney General,” San Francisco Chronicle, 5-2-10
http://tinyurl.com/3yoctro

2. “Finding the path back on track,” Huffington Post, 11-9-09
http://tinyurl.com/382k689

3. “FACT CHECK: AG hopeful’s ad misleads on SF crime,” Associated Press, 5-28-10
http://www.mercurynews.com/breaking-news/ci_15184164

4. “San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris,” California’s Capitol, 4-15-09
http://californiascapitol.com/blog/?p=341

5. See reference 1.

6. See reference 2.

7. See reference 3.

8. “Ad Watch: Kelly hit on Harris misleading,” Sacramento Bee, 6-1-10
http://www.sacbee.com/2010/06/01/2789157/adwatch-kelly-hit-on-harris-misleading.html

9. “District Attorney Kamala Harris announces formation of trial integrity unit,” 6-1-10
http://www.sfdistrictattorney.com/News.asp?id=614

Additional:

“Holding parents responsible for truancy,” Oakland Tribune, 5-23-10
http://www.mercurynews.com/columns/ci_15135678?

“The Arizona Immigration Law: Politics Over Policy,” Huffington Post, 5-7-10
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/kamala-d-harris/the-arizona-immigration-l_b_568209.html

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