By Ankita Joshi
SAN FRANCISCO, CA – With the fast-approaching June 7 Recall Election of the SF District Attorney, The Bay Area Reporter has now urged voters to reject the recall.
The Bay Area Reporter noted that calls for Boudin’s recall have erroneously stemmed from a perceived increase in crime in the San Francisco area by local residents.
But, in a recent Editorial Board meeting, The Bay Area Reporter recommended a no vote on the recall measure, noting that San Francisco police data indicates burglaries and larceny theft were down in 2021 compared to 2019.
Boudin stated at the meeting he has adopted initiatives to help crime victims as well as defendants, including neighborhood liaison programs.
A new policy that has been introduced by Boudin requires prosecutors to “ask every defendant their preferred pronouns and if they use a different first name than the one listed in the charging document.”
Boudin also noted the collaboration that the District Attorney’s Office has with the San Francisco Police Department.
The Bay Area Reporter listed other reasons why many of the perceived conceptions about an increase of crime are unfounded based on the data, including prosecutions, victim services, hate crimes, diversion programs and office management.
The DA’s 2021 annual report cites that the office has filed over 4,500 new criminal cases with “the highest filing rate in 10 years that the DA’s office has been tracking this data.”
Arguments made by the recall proponents, Safer SF Without Boudin, include that Boudin has not had enough focus on victim services and advocates.
However, Boudin and supporters claim he has worked to expand victim services, consisting of a new Victim Services Dashboard that shares information on the number of victims served by the District Attorney’s Office’s Victims Service Dashboard.
“Nothing is more important than expanding victim services,” Boudin stated.
Boudin has also said that a focus of his office has been to be “really proactive around the issue of hate crimes. We’ve prosecuted hate crime charges in anti-transgender attacks, and dedicated a full-time experienced prosecutor to handle hate crimes.”
This has included training sessions with the SFPD to “expand their ability to gather evidence and document and investigate.”
Another key topic discussed was diversion programs, which serve to offer the accused the opportunity to complete a program to reduce or dismiss their criminal charges.
Boudin has, supporters point out, a strong advocate for diversion programs citing a California Policy Lab study that found that those in diversion programs are 20 percent less likely to reoffend.
In terms of office management, Boudin maintains high turnover rates are not new to his term, and that high turnover rates were present even before he was appointed DA.
“We can all agree that the status quo in San Francisco was not working,” he said. “Voters wanted and deserved a change,” he said in response to criticisms about him filling vacancies with inexperienced assistant DAs.
Boudin also argues he inherited 5,000 open cases at the time he took office, and the office has been actively working to resolve them.
The Editorial Board by The Bay Area Reporter ended with urging readers to “not to be swept up in the highly charged rhetoric coming from recall proponents,” noting that while it did not endorse Boudin in 2019, it does “not see a reason to recall him from office now.”