Shortly after Pamela Price was sworn in as Alameda County District Attorney in January, anti-crime activists began discussing removing her from office.
Price’s critics blame recent increases in crime on her philosophy as a prosecutor—the DA has made a point of not always seeking the maximum possible punishment for criminal defendants. Critics have accused her of being too lenient in several high-profile cases. And Price has also drawn fire for investigating and prosecuting police officers and jail guards accused of murder, assault, and other crimes.
In October, Price’s opponents officially launched the recall campaign.
The recall is led by Brenda Grisham, a mother who lost her son to gun violence in Oakland in 2010, and Carl Chan, a prominent Alameda resident and Oakland Chinatown advocate. A third founder of the recall campaign was Philip Dreyfuss, a financier who lives in Oakland. Dreyfuss later stepped away to form a different group that is also raising money for the recall and channeling this into the committee run by Grisham and Chan.
The committee Grisham and Chan established in September, “Save Alameda For Everyone,” filed disclosure papers today revealing it has received 225 contributions totaling $212,000 from individual and corporate sources as of Sept. 30. Most contributions were in smaller amounts, ranging from $100 to $250, but the majority of the money raised came from a handful of major donors.
The second committee that Dreyfuss set up, “Reviving the Bay Area,” has disclosed spending over $338,000 on the recall, but its sources of funding aren’t clear yet, as we’ll explain below.
Altogether, it appears that the pro-recall forces have raised over half a million dollars.
Some of the biggest supporters of the recall are real estate companies and individuals who work in real estate development and management, and people with ties to the Bay Area tech industry.
Price and her supporters are also raising money to defend her against recall. Price established a campaign committee called “Protect the Win for Public Safety, Oppose the Recall of DA Price” in December with the help of a Sacramento-based consultant. So far, this committee has raised $15,000 from 15 individuals and organizations, according to its recent disclosure filing. Some of the biggest opponents of the recall include religious leaders and nonprofits that promote criminal justice reform.
Recall supporters are trying to gather a minimum of 73,195 signatures by mid-March 2024, the first step in the process of trying to get the recall placed on the ballot for the November General Election. Many of the signature gatherers are employed by companies that specialize in helping campaigns get onto the ballot. A recall campaign signature gatherer told The Oaklandside on Sunday at the Fruitvale Dia de Los Muertos Festival that they’re being paid $6 per signature they collect.
The Alameda County Board of Supervisors recently agreed to have voters decide in March whether the county should change its laws around recalls to align with the process used by the state, which could affect how the anti-Price campaign plays out.
If Price’s critics succeed in getting the recall put on the ballot for a future election, both sides will likely have to raise even more money to appeal to voters, who would have the final say in whether or not Price keeps her job.
Below is a list of the contributors who gave the largest amounts to the recall campaign so far, and the biggest contributors to DA Price’s defense committee. Here’s where the two sides stand right now.
Recall supporters have deep pockets
Reviving the Bay Area: $338,000
This campaign committee was established by Philip Dreyfuss, a financier at the San Francisco-based Farallon Capital Management hedge fund, and Isaac Abid, a real estate investor with HP Partners, which owns lots of buildings in downtown Oakland. Reviving the Bay Area has given the largest amount by far to Grisham and Chan’s “SAFE” committee that’s leading the Price recall campaign. However, it’s unclear who is giving money to Reviving the Bay Area, as the group hasn’t filed disclosure forms yet with county elections officials.
Ryan Sutton-Gee: $49,000
Sutton-Gee is an angel investor from Lafayette in Contra Costa County. He has made investments in software services and companies that specialize in architecture, engineering, and construction.
Peterson Properties: $10,000
Peterson Properties is a property management and real estate development company in Oakland.
Ilya Sukhar: $9,000
Sukhar is a partner for Matrix Partners, a venture capital firm. Matrix is an investor in Flock Safety, a company that sells and installs video surveillance systems. The Oakland City Council recently approved a three-year contract with Flock Safety to purchase and install 300 automated license plate reader cameras.
Auyeung Market Street LLC; Auyeung Richard SC, LLC; Auyeung Sloan Tracy LLC, Kenny Auyeung: $7,500
Kenny Au-Yeung is the CEO of Sincere Home Decor, a home furnishing business that was founded in 1988 and has four locations in the Bay Area, including West Oakland.
Lisa Alumkal: $5,000
Alumkal is the CEO of HealthyUp, Inc., an Oakland company that sells menopause relief supplements.
Bryan Giraudo: $5,000
Giraudo is the chief financial officer at Gossamer Bio, a pharmaceutical company focused on the development of a treatment for pulmonary arterial hypertension. He lives in San Francisco and in 2021 and 2022 contributed $22,500 to the recall campaign against San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin.
Cornelius Jackson: $5,000
Jackson is the managing director and partner of the CCA Group, a financial advisory firm based in Boston, MA. In 2021 he contributed $1,000 to Terry Wiley’s unsuccessful campaign for District Attorney last year.
Jon Reynolds: $5,000
Reynolds is the co-founder and chairman of Reynolds & Brown, a commercial real estate developer and property management firm. According to a biography on his company’s website, Reynolds previously served on the Oakland-Alameda Coliseum Board of Directors, and as a commissioner for the Oakland Housing Authority.
Price and her supporters are raising money to “protect the win”
Real Justice PAC: $5,000
Activist Shaun King and other criminal justice reformers set up this political action committee in 2017 to support progressives running for district attorney in different counties across the U.S. Real Justice has spent between $1 and $3 million each election cycle since then supporting candidates like Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner and Contra Costa County DA Diana Becton. Its biggest contributor over the past year is the Grassroots Law PAC, a political arm of the San Francisco nonprofit Grassroots Law, which aims to “stop the devastating impacts of police violence and mass incarceration in America.”
Raymond Landry: $5,000
The pastor of the Independent Holiness Church in Richmond, Landry also helps lead several nonprofit affordable housing groups.
Barbara Grasseschi: $1,000
Grasseschi owns the Puma Springs Vineyard in Sonoma County.
Voices of Hope Community: $500
The Voices of Hope Community Church of Oakland is led by Pastor Raymond Lankford, a lifelong Oakland resident who has been involved in anti-violence and environmental justice work.