The San Francisco Examiner does not think the critics of District Attorney Chesa Boudin have any solutions to the city’s crime problem.
Well, aside from putting criminals in jail.
The paper’s editorial board announced that it would oppose the recall of Boudin, claiming that the case against him “tends to be light on facts but heavy on anecdote, emotion and accusations that usually prove untrue.” The paper claims that Boudin is a scapegoat for other politicians and city officials, such as the police department that is not arresting people for quality-of-life crimes. (Never mind that Boudin has said that such crimes “should not and will not be prosecuted” under his tenure.)
But the biggest laugh line comes near the end of the piece. The paper claims that Boudin’s critics clearly don’t like him, “but they don’t seem to have any solution to crime besides more jail.”
Putting repeat criminals behind bars? Imagine that.
Under Boudin, San Francisco has let repeat criminals roam free to steal from and harass people and businesses throughout the city. San Francisco has become “one of the epicenters of organized retail crime,” with prosecutions for theft under $950 dropping under Boudin. The share of arrests resulting in prosecutions for both felonies and misdemeanors dropped after he took office. Boudin used COVID as an excuse to empty San Francisco's jails, which has been his real priority since taking office.
Last November, the San Francisco Chronicle wrote about the career criminals who are repeatedly let out on the street, taking their stolen goods to a place “known to be the center of the stolen goods trade in San Francisco.” The paper asked whether residents should “focus on barricading their homes” and accept crime as a “downside of city living” or whether repeat criminals should be put in jail. It was meant to sound like some kind of major conundrum — instead, it only highlighted the absurdity of Boudin’s view that criminals are the real victims in our criminal justice system.
The editorial board is right that Boudin’s criminal justice reform promises were why voters elected him. Now that they have seen what those promises mean in practice, a very large number of them want him gone. Despite what Boudin and the San Francisco Examiner may insist, it is not unreasonable to expect a district attorney to fight to keep hardened, remorseless career criminals behind bars.