- –Voters in San Francisco have kicked out the city’s progressive district attorney, Chesa Boudin, with 60.5 percent voting to recall him
- –Boudin said the recall effort was driven by right-wing businesspeople and by less-than-liberal police officers
- –Boudin, a former public defender, was elected as part of a wave of progressive prosecutors opposed to mass incarceration and in favor of restorative justice
- –Boudin, 41, has been the target of a multi-million-dollar recall campaign by residents who say the liberal city has become an increasingly unsafe place to live
- –The election has ramifications beyond San Francisco, with national polls showing Americans increasingly worried about violent crime
Ousted San Francisco DA Chesa Boudin remained defiant after citizens voted overwhelmingly to recall the progressive politician Tuesday, blaming billionaire Republicans and even the city’s police force for the loss.
‘The right-wing billionaires outspent us three to one,’ Boudin said in a speech to supporters following news of the recall results, which saw more than 60 percent of San Franciscans fed-up with the city’s crime-ridden state vote to recall him.
Boudin, 41, went on to assert that citizens had been ‘exploited’ by these groups, saying they ‘took advantage an environment in which people are appropriately upset.’
‘They created an electoral dynamic where we were literally shadowboxing,’ Boudin, who narrowly won office in November 2019 as part of a wave of woke prosecutors who vowed to seek alternatives to incarceration, said.
The recall campaign against Boudin, which was funded mainly by local business groups, accused the attorney of not doing enough to keep citizens safe, and introducing policies that allowed repeat offenders to commit crimes without fear of incarceration.
The crime wave has seen a rise in a particular type of robbery dubbed ‘smash-and-grabs’, where thieves brazenly raid a store’s shelves often in broad daylight, often avoiding charges thanks to Boudin’s lax policies.
It has forced stores across the city to close down to avoid being victimized in the premeditated – and often coordinated – strikes.
Nonetheless, Boudin Tuesday said the successful campaign to dismiss him from office was a coordinated attack organized by Conservatives and the city’s police unions, who have been locked in an open battle with the politician over his policies.
‘This is a Republican- and police union-led playbook to undermine and attack progressive prosecutors who have been winning elections across the country,’ he told The Guardian.
‘The playbook involves delegitimizing and fear-mongering and recalling. It’s a tactic being used by folks who are increasingly unable to prevail in elections when they put forward their views about public safety and justice.’
Boudin did concede that voters were understandably frustrated by the pandemic but thrust the blame on city officials that he said has failed to deliver on safety, housing, and equity, as murders and assaults continue to rise from last year – one of the worst years crime-wise the city had seen in decades.
He said Tuesday: ‘We have two cities. We have two systems of justice. ‘
‘We have one for the wealthy and the well connected and a different one for everybody else.’
‘And that’s exactly what we are fighting to change.’
He added: ‘This was never about one vote count. It was never about one election night party. This is a movement, not a moment in history.’
The politician’s statements drew applause from those in attendance, as a visibly emotional Boudin attempted to rile them up.
The speech also saw first-time political candidate – whose parents were members of the radical 80s activist group Weather Underground – admit that ‘we’ve made mistakes’ – but did not specify what those mistakes were.
he turnout for the recall vote was less than expected, with just under a quarter of the city’s electorate of 495,000 casting ballots. More than 70,730 of roughly 118,000 citizens voted against the DA, with some ballots remaining to be counted.
Detractors – and Boudin himself – have asserted that the recall was a Republican effort designed to undermine his progressive-led reform, which has seen a marked increase in crime, vagrancy, and open drug use in the city over the past two years.
The assertions that Republicans organized the effort to force him out are somewhat dubious, with the city being one of the country’s most notorious liberal enclaves, that saw 94.9 percent of its citizens vote for Joe Biden in the last presidential election.
Boudin, meanwhile, was also bankrolled by billionaires in his own successful electoral run, and wealthy investors from both political parties contributed millions to recall, or retain, the politician amid growing frustration with the city’s rapidly deteriorating state.
Boudin was elected on a platform of criminal justice reform, but his notoriously progressive laws have been widely blamed for rising crime and homelessness in the Bay Area since the start of the pandemic – where brazen looters ransacking stores and breaking into cars has become commonplace.
So far this year, statistics show that the crime wave has worsened from last year – one of the worst crime years in decades – with the city’s murder rate rising 11 percent, and rapes up by nearly 10 percent.
Boudin’s time in office has also seen a marked rise in vagrancy – a stand-out issue in the Bay Area, where homelessness and brazen open drug use has increased in earnest during the pandemic.
But as infection rates plunge and restrictions continue to lessen, the city’s crime and seedy underbelly has persisted – frustrating citizens to no end.
San Francisco police report 20 murders so far this year, an 11 percent increase from the 18 reported in the same time last year.
Larceny theft, meanwhile – which represents the majority of the recent ‘smash and grabs’ – has skyrocketed under Boudin, with 13,424 cases reported this year, a 20.4 percent rise from the 11,151 reported last year.
Assaults have also been on the rise, with 11 percent with 1,035 cases reported so far this year, with rapes also up by a concerning 10 percent.
As larceny continues to see the largest increase in crime, the Bay Area has contended with a series of smash-and-grab robberies in the past year, with brazen thieves raiding stores in the middle of day.
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