Politics

Liberal San Fran Prosecutor And ‘Defund The Police’ Advocate May Be Taken Out In Recall

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Mary Rooke Staff Writer
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San Francisco district attorney Chesa Boudin faces a recall election Tuesday after voters demand answers to the high crime plaguing the city.

San Francisco has seen a stark rise in homicides andr residential burglaries since 2020, sparking a recall effort for Boudin, who has only served about half of his first term in office, according to the Washington Post.

Boudin’s proponents claim that his progressive policies, including catch-and-release, bail reform, defunding the police, and not trying children as adults, have resulted in an increase in theft and violence in the liberal city. (RELATED: Voters Recall Several Members Of School Board In San Francisco By Massive Margins)

Boudin said he was never a supporter of the “defund the police” movement but supports diverting funds away from the department. “I never talked about defunding the police. I never joined that call,” he told SF Gate.

Chesa Boudin tweeted that his office had demands from voters to support the “defund the police” movement on June 5, 2020. “In less than 24 hours, my office has received over 1,000 emails demanding that San Francisco defund the police department,” he tweeted.

“In less than 24 hours, my office has received over 1,000 emails demanding that San Francisco defund the police department,” Boudin tweeted. He also shared a Vox article discussing how cities like San Francisco can reduce violent crime while defunding their police departments.

Democrats fuel the main effort to recall Boudin through San Franciscans for Public Safety.

“Chesa Boudin is failing to keep San Franciscans safe. Criminals know they will be let off the hook without consequences. As car break-ins, burglaries, and overdoses reach a crisis level in San Francisco, Boudin’s refusal to hold serial offenders and drug dealers accountable is putting more of us at risk. In his first year in office, burglaries spiked by 49%, and 84% of charged perpetrators were back on the streets within two days,” The San Franciscans for Public Safety stated.

Other efforts include funding from Republicans, doctors, lawyers, and real estate developers and associations, with 80% of donors being from San Francisco, reported the Washington Post. Groups pushing to recall Boudin have raised over $7 million, according to San Francisco Campaign Finance data.

Boudin, who ran as a “progressive prosecutor,” is being blamed by his critics for the city’s rise in crime after his office has repeatedly refused to prosecute criminals aggressively and, in some cases, not at all, reported CBS.

A May poll from Public Policy Polling suggests voters agree with Boudin’s critics. The poll found that 48% of San Francisco likely voters will vote “yes” to recall Boudin on Tuesday, with 38% planning to vote “no,” and 14% have yet to decide, reported the SF Gate. The poll surveyed 697 likely voters with a margin of error of +/- 4.3%.

A spokesman for the anti-recall campaign supporting Boudin, Jim Ross, said if the polling is accurate, Boudin can capitalize on the 14% of undecided voters who don’t want a massive shake-up in San Francisco.

“Clearly, this is a much closer race than has been reported and will come down to turnout and how the late undecided voters break,” Ross told SF Gate.

San Francisco State University associate professor of political science Jason McDaniel that voters’ priorities in San Francisco have shifted since Boudin was elected, and now they want safety over progressive policy.

“The themes that were salient to voters when Boudin was elected – criminal justice reform, over-incarceration, police conduct – are not the same issues salient with voters now,” McDaniel told the Washington Post. “What’s most salient now is this feeling that things are just not going well, whether it’s with covid, the economy, homelessness, or other issues. That’s a shift.”

A former prosecutor in Boudin’s office, Brooke Jenkins, is one of the leaders working to recall Boudin. She said Boudin refuses to hold himself accountable for how his policies affect the safety of San Francisco residents.

“This is about San Franciscans wanting a district attorney who’s actually dedicated to prioritizing public safety,” Jenkins told the Washington Post. “People’s issues with Chesa is that he has been tone-deaf to their pleas for accountability. They think things have gone a bit too far with crime and they don’t feel as though he is setting the right tone.”

Boudin is among ten primary elections taking place in California on Tuesday, with Boudin’s recall listed under Proposition H.