Contra Costa Today Ep 023: Paul Graves

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On Thursday, I sat down with Paul Graves, candidate for Contra Costa County District Attorney, who shared his background and thoughts on a variety of issues facing not only the county, but the state such as working with ICE, bail reform, illegal dumping and working to resolve homeless issues. He also discussed his stance on cop killers.

Here is an overview of the interview:

  • 00:28 – Paul Graves gives a brief introduction to who he is.
  • 01:15 – Graves explains things that can be improved in the District Attorney’s Office and how they should become more “victim centered”.
  • 02:20 – Graves highlights programs he has implemented during his time with the DA’s office and becoming more proactive with the community and reaching out to youths to change culture of the community.
  • 04:10 – On becoming a more proactive District Attorney’s Office
  • 04:45 – On working to help people become more comfortable in working with the District Attorney’s Office as a victim, defendant or witness. Starts with treating people like a human being.
  • 05:33 – Response to a statement on “cop killers” where one candidate said “its part of the risk they take” and shares his opinion on the death penalty.  He also response to the reverse, when cops shoot and kill a suspect (intentional or not), what is his stance?
  • 09:41 – Graves explains how he will better work with not only the media, but also the community.
  • 11:29 – Graves talks about ICE and handing over illegals, he shares his thoughts on what they can or cannot do with ICE.
  • 14:30 – Prop 47, Prop 57, AB 109 – should they all be repealed? Graves gives his thoughts.
  • 18:10 – Potential re-definition/Standard of use of force for offices? Graves says the law should not be changed because it impacts how police do their jobs.
  • 19:30 – Graves gives his thoughts on bail reform.
  • 24:50 – Educating people on the legal process.
  • 25:35 – Graves explains car/vehicle thefts and what can be done for repeat offenders.
  • 27:44 – What can be done about homelessness & illegal dumping? Graves highlights the need for services and mental wellness services. He says with illegal dumping, the DA’s office needs to take a tougher stance and being more proactive to catch people.

For more on District Attorney Candidate Paul Graves, visit him at https://paulgravesforda.com/

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  1. Paul Graves is not a fresh face or reformer, he is a former top aide of disgraced ex DA Mark Peterson, who was arrested, prosecuted for embezzlement, and perjury – and later disbarred. Peterson hand picked Paul Graves to be on his leadership team, so for 6 or 7 years he functioned as Mark Peterson’s right hand man and alter ego. In this race Graves is trying to completely re-write history – he has tried to downplay his close association with Mark Peterson, as if he never was a Mark Peterson man. Fact is Paul Graves whole campaign is predicated on the fact he was a senior aide of Mark Peterson, he has offered up almost no other reason for voters to vote for him. His campaign motto is I’ve been here a long time, vote for me because of that.
    The Board of Supervisors did not appoint Graves to the vacant DA’s job because during the Peterson-Graves era the DA’s office was rocked with scandals and bad press. Two factions of men deputy in the DA’s – who hated each other – engaged in what could only be described as a five year long street brawl. These men deputies were going at each others throats, they were leaking negative stories to the press about the office, they were getting into fist fights, suing each other, suing the county, and even trying to arrest each other. The atmosphere during the Peterson-Graves era at the Contra Costa DA’s office was absolutely toxic, which was widely reported in the press.
    In appointing former Superior court Judge Diana Becton to the DA’s job, an outsider with no ties to these two warring factions of men deputy DA’s, the Board was making a deliberate effort to change the culture of the Contra Costa DA’s office. The arrest of Mark Peterson, who was carted off in handcuffs – really was the last straw for the Board of Supervisors – they decided the DA’s office need big changes, that new people needed to be put in charge, which has happened with the appointment of Diana Becton to the DA’s job. She is putting together a new management team, and the office is now stabilized.
    Many of these men deputies – who were continually at war with each other, are now gone, they have quit, or retired or have been forced out of office for criminal activity (Mark Peterson). Hal Jewett is gone, so is Tom Kensok, so is Brian Baker – all these guys have moved on, which was needed, due to the level of acrimony they had toward each other. It had been one big long knife fight at the DA’s office and the Board of Supervisors just plain had enough.
    The big holdout though is this 20 year deputy DA Paul Graves. Even though the Board wanted a new day at the DA’s office – they wanted Peterson and his cronies out – Graves wants to get back in power, he is trying to parlay his management experience – he was mentored by Mark Peterson for seven years – into the DA’s job via an election. He is trying to undo the efforts of the Board of Supervisors – who put Diana Becton in charge. The Board wanted want an ethical, smooth running, drama free DA’s office, and office where people make an effort to get along, an office that delivers justice in a professional, fair, and humane way. That’s why they put Diana Becton in the job, and she is delivering, as many are noticing. It’s a new day at the DA’s office.
    I don’t know about others, but I think it makes little sense to put one of Mark Peterson’s top aides back in charge of the DA’s office. The Contra Costa DA’s office was not well run during the Peterson- Graves era – that clear – so it would be a real step backward to vote for Paul Graves to replace out current DA Diana Becton. Becton has done a fine job – good things are happening at the DA’s office, it would be a travesty to go back to the way things used to be.

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