District Attorney Chesa Boudin has been recalled by San Francisco voters following discontent over his handling of crime.
Crime in the California city has increased so significantly in recent years that 40% of San Franciso residents said they planned to leave, according to a 2021 poll from the city’s Chamber of Commerce.
“80% of residents say crime has worsened in recent years, 70% feel that quality of life has declined, and 88% say homelessness has worsened,” reported CBS News in its analysis of the poll. “76% also believe that increasing the number of police officers in high crime neighborhoods should be a high priority.”
Boudin was elected as the city’s 29th district attorney in 2019 with 50.8% of the vote. On June 7, 68% of San Francisco residents voted to remove him from office.
He is known for his progressive stance on criminal justice reform. He promised to reduce the number of incarcerations, end cash bails, and expand mental health treatment.
Boudin blamed his recall loss on “right-wing billionaires” who “outspent [him] three to one.”
“They exploited an environment in which people are appropriately upset. And they created an electoral dynamic where we were literally shadowboxing,” Boudin said to supporters at an election-night party.
“Voters were not asked to choose between criminal justice reform and something else,” he added. “They were given an opportunity to voice their frustration and their outrage and they took that opportunity.”
In April, residents filed an official Notice of Intent to recall the D.A. for not “adequately prosecute criminals” and failing “to take the drug dealing crisis seriously.”
“We all agree that we need real criminal justice reform and police accountability,” the petitioners wrote. “Chesa Boudin isn’t delivering on either priority — and since he took office, burglaries, car break-ins, homicides and overdoes-related deaths are at a crisis level.”
“Boudin is not keeping San Francisco safe. He doesn’t hold serial offenders accountable, getting them released from custody, and his response to victims is that ‘hopefully’ home burglaries will go down,” the Notice reads. “Recalling someone shouldn’t be taken lightly, but San Francisco can’t wait two more years to improve public safety and fix our criminal justice system.”
According to crime data tracker Neighborhood Scout, San Francisco was more dangerous than 96% of cities in America. Residents have a 1 in 178 chance of being a victim of violent crime as compared to the California average of 1 in 227.
Boudin is a former public defender who had promised to focus on “restorative justice” while in office and discussed his personal experience with the justice system during his campaign.
Boudin’s parents, Kathy Boudin and David Gilbert, were members of the left-wing extremist militant group Weather Underground – which bombed government facilities across the country in the 1970s.
His mother spent 20 years in prison on charges related to driving a getaway car involved in a fatal robbery and was released in 2003. Gilbert, Boudin’s father, was released on parole in 2021. He spent 40 years in prison after being convicted of second-degree murder and first-degree robbery charges.
Boudin was raised by a Weather Underground co-founder Bill Ayers, per Fox News. After years of hiding as a fugitive, Ayers became a professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago and an advisor to President Barrack Obama.
“We shouldn’t be popping champagne bottles,” said community activist Richie Greenberg, who aided in the recall campaign, in a statement. “People have died under Chesa Boudin’s watch. Lives have been ruined, families broken, businesses shuttered.”
“Let’s also be absolutely clear, that this recall effort was not using any GOP playbook as some detractors have said,” Greenberg added. “This is people-powered, its local voters flabbergasted by the gross negligence of malicious pro-crime, pro-drug dealer, pro-attacks against Asian communities and the rhetoric of the disgraced Chesa Boudin.”
My statement on the success of recalling Mr Chesa Boudin: pic.twitter.com/OZK8Lm2GYc
— Richie Greenberg (@richieSF2016) June 8, 2022
San Francisco Mayor London Breed is now tasked with appointing a temporary replacement. A permanent successor to Boudin will be elected in November.