The San Francisco DA Race: More Campaign Issues

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Suzy Loftus at an August candidates forum

By Danielle Silva

Here are some other issues that candidates have addressed in the San Francisco District Attorney race.

District Attorney Office Changes

Chesa Boudin: Expand language access by increasing the language skills of the police and fire departments and retaining diversity in the District Attorney’s office, stop pay-to-play politics in San Francisco by prosecuting corrupt politicians’ campaign finance violations, aggressively prosecute wage theft in San Francisco to hold employers accountable and protect vulnerable workers, and more create more focused probation and parole.

Leif Dautch: Plans to make data publicly-available on every case prosecuted by the Office, including the race, gender, and age of the defendant.

Suzy Loftus: Modernize the DA’s office to use technology as a means of preventing crime, bolstering transparency and accountability, and confronting and solving the racial impacts of the criminal justice system and enforce our labor and employment laws to make sure workers are protected from wage theft and unsafe, abusive, or discriminatory working conditions

Nancy Tung: Plans to review charging procedures to prevent overcharging and ensure cases can be proven and ensure evidence is delivered to the defense in a timely manner through a digitized, open-file system and produce an annual report of raw performance data that matches with SFPD data to show crime trends and conversion rates from case clearances through the end of prosecutions. She also intends to recruit and retain women, people of color, and people from diverse backgrounds at every level, conduct a top-to-bottom salary review to ensure compliance with the Equal Pay Act, ensure new attorneys are prepared with adequate training and experience, develop programs that encourage talented attorneys to stay at SFDA throughout their careers and provide pathways to leadership, and support working parents by creating a family-friendly workplace and implementing part-time and job share positions to retain top talent.

Environmental Justice

Chesa Boudin: Protect public health and conserve our planet by prosecuting environmental crimes. As District Attorney, Chesa Boudin will take these problems seriously by prosecuting polluters for environmental crimes, including illegal dumping and cleanup fraud.

Leif Dautch: Plans to resurrect the DA’s Environmental Justice Unit, to investigate and prosecute air, water, and soil pollution and prosecute illegal dumping of trash and construction debris on our streets.

Suzy Loftus: Wants to do more to hold toxic polluters accountable, tasking prosecutors to enforce our environmental laws and to work collaboratively with Bay Area and State prosecutors to address regional environmental threats, protect our communities by pushing city agencies to use every tool at their disposal to investigate and address environmental injustices, partner with other enforcement and regulatory agencies to coordinate inspections and pursue the appropriate penalties when these facilities are found to have broken the law, partner closely with the City Attorney’s Office to identify civil remedies and share information to ensure that we have leveraged every tool at our disposal to investigate and address environmental injustice, prioritize Environmental Protection as a tenant of the Civil Rights Unit, focusing on the communities most impacted by pollution, hazardous waste and toxic materials, demonstrate to corporations and individual actors, there are consequences to violating our environmental laws by building strong cases with the goal of preventing recidivism and pursue sentences that are commensurate with the crime, and educate the public about environmental crimes and coordinate the work of various other agencies to deliver justice to communities that are most impacted.

Nancy Tung: Plans to investigate and prosecute complex civil litigation in the public interest including Corporate fraud and anti-competitive behavior, white-collar crime in business and government, environmental dumping and pollution, and OSHA worker safety and health violations.

Gun Violence

Chesa Boudin: Wants to partner with SFPD and well-established San Francisco businesses to invest in, incentivize and expand gun buy-backs, with financial and job-training rewards, work with the San Francisco Police Department to implement policies with proven success in other cities, such as the ceasefire programs in Oakland and Boston, develop structured programs in cooperation with community pastors, community-based organizations, social workers and schools to proactively address childhood trauma due to exposure to violence, which often leads to youth arming themselves. He also plans to work with the San Francisco Police Department to implement trainings to eradicate unreasonable stop and frisk policing of black youth, to educate police about the intersectionality of implicit color bias and unconscious disrespect in street interactions, and rejuvenate Midnight Basketball in economically struggling neighborhoods, enforce California’s strict gun control laws, and work towards intervention.

Leif Dautch: No noted address of this issue.

Suzy Loftus: States she worked with Mayor London Breed and Supervisor Vallie Brown to address gun violence in the Western Addition a decade ago.

Nancy Tung: Plans to prioritize the prosecution of cases involving guns, work with the police to investigate and prosecute violations of gun safety laws, including illegal possession of firearms, promote and use Gun Violence Restraining Orders against individuals exhibiting warning signs of violence or harm to self or others, support new and stronger legislation to fix lax gun safety laws and loopholes, conduct and support regularly occurring gun buybacks, and use the court process to ensure domestic abusers, stalkers, and other violent individuals are disarmed after a court order or conviction.

Homelessness

Chesa Boudin: Plans to work closely with the City Attorney to develop cooperative strategies to reduce the threat posed by unscrupulous landlords, use provisions of the Administrative and Penal codes to prosecute landlords for breaking the law, hold unscrupulous landlords accountable when they commit criminal acts, work with tenant advocacy organizations to make tenants aware that they now have the right to a free attorney when facing eviction, and capture jail savings and reinvest it in housing, employment, education, and treatment for people under probation and parole supervision.

Leif Dautch: Plans to address homelessness through transforming the closing Juvenile Hall into a Mental Health Justice Center, prosecute fraudulent evictions to keep people in their home, and Reduce legal and regulatory barriers to housing, education, voting, and employment so that people returning from jail or prison can build a stable and productive life.

Suzy Loftus: Wants to work collaboratively with Mayor London Breed on addressing homelessness. She also wants to protect San Franciscans from housing discrimination and predatory landlords and old landlords who engage in unlawful evictions or fail to address unsafe housing conditions accountable and advocate for more affordable housing projects across the City.

Nancy Tung: Sees crimes related to quality-of-life as “an opportunity for intervention” and the prosecution of these crimes can be used to direct people into programs for job training or other opportunities.

Immigration

Chesa Boudin: Opposes the Trump Administration’s immigration policies and wants to establish the first-ever Immigration Unit in the District Attorney’s Office, require no more collateral consequences based solely on immigration status, investigate and prosecute crimes committed by ICE agents or other law enforcement agents who violate Sanctuary City laws, build trust with immigrant communities and enhance access to justice, help every single immigrant victim of every crime obtain a U-Visa, and advocate for Universal Legal Representation for People Facing Deportation.

Leif Dautch: Agreed to divert immigrants away from the criminal justice system.

Suzy Loftus: Plans to expand consumer protection efforts to prevent and hold corporations accountable for fraud and predatory lending, particularly against our immigrant and low-income communities, and vulnerable seniors, enforce office-wide policies to consider immigration consequences in handling cases, protecting non-citizen defendants from excessive federal punishment, protect non-citizen defendants from overly harsh punishment and mandatory deportation, and oppose the Trump Administration’s efforts to further criminalize immigrants and co-opt the justice system for immigration enforcement.

Nancy Tung: Agreed to divert immigrants away from the criminal justice system.

Mental Health

Chesa Boudin: Plans to expand and strengthen all levels of mental health diversion programs, close County Jail # 4 and put savings into mental health care, and create a centralized mental health facility run by health professionals.

Leif Dautch: Wants to repurpose the closing Juvenile Hall into a Mental Health center to address mental health illness in the streets.

Suzy Loftus: Utilize conservatorship to get San Franciscans with mental health issues off of our streets and into the help they need.

Nancy Tung: Agreed that they should divert individuals away from jail to drug and mental health programs.

Violent Crime

Chesa Boudin: Plans to prioritize serious and violent crimes in the courtroom as only 2% of criminal charges end up seen by a jury and in San Francisco 2/3 of cases that go to trial are actually misdemeanors with only half of those cases getting convictions, therefore failing to take accountability. He wants to expand neighborhood courts and foster a culture of collaboration at the Hall of Justice where all parties are focused on accountability, restitution, and treatment to reduce recidivism for crimes that are less serious but still need accountability for wrong-doing. For serious and violent crimes, he intends to recruit more attorneys to cut felony caseloads and add “second chair” attorneys to assist in trials, expand training for trial attorneys, require contacting the victim within 48 hours of filing a new case, and expedite forensic analysis in all cases involving sex, loss of life, or firearms.

Leif Dautch: Wants to champion a Universal Basic Income pilot project targeted at those most likely to be victims or perpetrators of violent crime. Non-profits are funding similar programs in cities like Stockton, and San Francisco should be leading that charge.

Suzy Loftus: Believes the best way to address violent crime is to prevent it in the first place by addressing a problem-solving approach and end finger-pointing of government agencies blaming each other.

Nancy Tung: Plans to clear the large number of homicide cases that have lasted more than four years and delay justice for both the accused and victims.


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