San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin is being pressured out of his position after a coalition has been cleared by election officials to start gathering signatures for a recall vote, just a year after the official took office.
A total of 51,325 signatures are required by August 11 to qualify for a special election, which accounts for 10% of San Francisco’s registered voter population.
Former Republican mayoral candidate Richie Greenberg is one of the major supporters of the recall campaign. He said the effort was fueled by residents’ anxiety and fear of criminals running rampant in the city, facing no consequences for their illegal actions.
Boudin has continued to push his policies in an effort to reduce mass incarceration. However, he has come under fire from those who believe his actions and decisions have led the city to become more dangerous for those living in it. But the perspective comes contrary to crime statistics which show a decrease in overall crime, specifically, violent crime.
“The state of criminal justice here is completely decimated. We see it almost every day — someone getting robbed, shot at, brazen daytime home invasions. Residents are sick of it,” Greenberg said.
Compared to this time last year, overall crime throughout San Francisco has dropped by 32%, despite recent high-profile cases of fatal hit-and-runs, robberies, and murders. Violent crimes have also dropped in frequency, according to police data. However, it was revealed that property crimes, such as burglary and motor vehicle theft, have spiked.
Bay Area attorney Kate Chatfield, an advocate for criminal justice reform, said the supporters of the campaign have long targeted Boudin even before his inauguration.
“The fact of the matter is crime rates overall in San Francisco have dropped overall in a pandemic — that’s just true,” Chatfield said. She also noted Boudin’s critics “stoke people’s fear and definitely play on race-baiting and fear tactics.”
San Francisco political consultant Dan Newman said supporters of the Boudin recall campaign now have a greater challenge to overcome after being allowed to begin collecting signatures.
“The D.A. is exactly who he said he would be and who voters thoughtfully and purposefully chose. It is extremely expensive to get [a recall] on the ballot when you don’t have any support from voters,” Newman said.
Election officials said 2017 was the last time the San Francisco Department of Elections approved a recall campaign for certification. The effort aimed to remove then-Mayor Ed Lee from his position, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.
Former San Francisco Mayor Diane Feinstein was the last city officeholder who faced a recall campaign that made it to a ballot. However, the effort failed in 1983.