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Opinion: California woke prosecutor even too liberal for San Francisco

"One of the most puzzling conundrums about progressive prosecutors – who favor de-prosecution and de-carceration – is attempting to ascertain their motivations." - Tom Hogan, former prosecutor

A London newspaper rack holding several international newspapers
A London newspaper rack holding several international newspapers | Shutterstock

June 19, 2022 7:59am

Updated: February 13, 2023 1:55pm

"One of the most puzzling conundrums about progressive prosecutors – who favor de-prosecution and de-carceration – is attempting to ascertain their motivations." - Tom Hogan, former prosecutor

Progressives have dominated San Francisco’s government for over two decades and the results speak for themselves. Homelessness, drug abuse, violent crime, lawlessness, and social and civic unrest have consumed the city by the bay. Considering U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, Vice President Kamala Harris, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi are from San Francisco, it is no wonder America is frustrated with the left. Americans fear they want to turn America into a clone of San Francisco.

San Franciscans poured $8 million in campaign money into local elections last month to convince voters to replace progressives with moderate Democrats on the city’s Board of Supervisors. They also tried to defeat a number of tax initiatives that would make San Francisco even more expensive and less desirable to do business and a place to live in. Yet every progressive candidate won?

Former San Francisco Democratic Mayor Willie Brown said, "San Francisco’s failure to effectively govern is a growing problem for the national Democratic Party. People see the human tragedies that unfold here every day in plain view. That reminds them that liberal Democrats caused them."

Violent shoplifters were putting retailers and chain stores out of business in San Francisco since woke District Attorney Chesa Boudin ordered the police not to respond to or arrest offenders for misdemeanors. Unlike big retailers who fled from the city, small business owners were left behind.

"When I open my doors I lose more money than I take in." - Peter Panayiotou, owner, Cellar Spirits

Critics argued that Chesa Boudin's "woke" legal policies failed. Crime had risen overall by 9.8% so far this year and it is continuing to increase every month. The San Francisco Police Department reports that these increases are for larceny, violent assaults, homicides, and drug-related crimes.

A movement to recall Boudin from office raised over $7 million. PayPal co-founder David Sacks, William Oberndorf, owner of Shorenstein real estate, and venture capitalist Garry Tan donated a large amount of cash for the recall. Former District Attorney Brooke Jenkins claims that over 90% of the remaining donations to recall Boudin came from Democrats and small business owners.

A Public Policy Polling survey commissioned last month by the "anti-recall campaign" found that 48% supported the recall and 38% opposed it, according to SFGate. A previous EMC poll by the "recall organizers" showed the measure ahead by 68% to 32%. Obviously everyone is unhappy.

Support for the recall of Boudin is evidence that it's possible to be too liberal, even in a flagrantly progressive city. Boudin, who was swept into office after the BLM riots, got fired from his job in the recall election and San Franciscans were celebrating from North Beach to Haight-Ashbury.

"It was a right wing conspiracy to oust me in a city known for being progressive." - Chesa Boudin

Mary Jung, chairmen of the recall campaign, told the San Francisco Examiner that voters delivered a “clear message” to the city that they want a new prosecutor that will punish serious, violent and repeat offenders. She said Chesa Boudin failed to consider the rights of their victims and families.

Chesa Boudin is the son of convicted Weather Underground terrorist and murderer Kathy Boudin and was elected DA in 2019 in a campaign that included a commitment to "defund the police," to keep low-level offenders out of lock-up and to counsel juvenile lawbreakers rather than incarcerate them.

Boudin had told voters his emphasis on rehabilitation over punishment was a result of seeing his parents spend decades in prison as accomplices to murder and robbery as members of the radical Weather Underground. He promised he'd seek social justice for "the black, brown and the poor."

But critics say Boudin's policies failed. They fueled lawlessness, marked by auto break-ins, violent assaults, armed robberies, smash-and-grab robberies, and homicides. Parker Thayer, a researcher at the Capital Research Center, reported, “The lopsided defeat that voters handed Chesa Boudin is the first one of many more to come for the national woke district attorneys movement in America.”

After the recall, former assistant DA Brooke Jenkins, said “Everything about the way the DA office functions was solely what was best for the person charged with the crime, or the person arrested. We could no longer function like that. We needed to change our focus on the needs of the people."

This is not limited to San Francisco. Progressive prosecutors in Los Angels, Denver, Boston, St. Louis, Chicago and Philadelphia are under attack. Police unions are upset they are not supporting officers, and many prosecutors have resigned. In San Francisco, dozens of prosecutors have quit.

"Ethics and equity and the principles of justice do not change with the calendar." - D. H. Lawrence

Legislation in Pennsylvania to allow the recall of the district attorney is moving through the Senate aimed to take out progressive Philadelphia DA Larry Krasner. Senate President Pro Tempore Jake Corman has already called for impeaching Krasner since violent crime has continued to increase in Philadelphia. Progressive Krasner continues to criticize law enforcement rather than support them.

In Los Angeles, a movement to recall progressive DA George Gascón has collected over 500,000 signatures to recall him next election. Rank-and-file LA prosecutors have revolted against Gascón for being "soft on crime." Gascón appeared in a campaign ad in support of Chesa Boudin, begging San Franciscans to vote against the recall since it would hinder "national progressive justice reform."

In Cook County, Illinois, when progressive DA Kim Foxx refused to file charges in a recent murder case, citing lack of evidence, she eroded all confidence in the judicial system. The state legislature answered with a bill that would allow voters to recall Foxx and future district attorneys in the state.

Frances Bacon said, "If we do not maintain justice, justice will not maintain us." San Francisco is the most progressive city in the U.S. and created more problems than it can solve. But when crime threatened all civic safety, voters showed that they will oust anyone who moves too far left. Jimmy Carter said, "What happens in California is contagious," and the results of the recall of Boudin will ripple across America. We could see a wave of progressive prosecutors recalled in the near future.

After the George Floyd riots, electing "soft on crime" progressive prosecutors has been the biggest failed domestic policy of the century. People are tired of their neighborhoods being used as social justice progressive laboratories and are fighting back.

"The first duty of government is to maintain law and order so that its subjects are fully protected by the State." - Muhammad Ali Jinnah