Columns, Op-Eds, & Interviews Uncategorized

Op-Ed: Chesa Boudin recall shows the high cost of fear & disinformation

WLA Guest
Written by WLA Guest

by Miriam Krinsky

We are deeply proud of the progress Chesa Boudin has made as San Francisco District Attorney, and disappointed that his vision for a safer and more just city has been obstructed by a deep-pocketed special interest campaign that peddled fear and disinformation.

Yet, despite the vote on Tuesday in San Francisco, across the nation the reform-minded prosecutor movement remains strong because communities recognize that criminal justice reform makes us safer. 

As has been the case with reformers throughout our nation’s history seeking to promote a more inclusive view of justice, DA Boudin’s approach to public safety rattled those committed to the status quo, whose failed policies created the inequities he promised to address when voters first elected him.

DA Boudin came to office under enormously challenging circumstances, including the dawn of a global pandemic; individuals facing tremendous trauma, isolation and economic pressures; and declining trust in law enforcement and government systems.

Yet, despite these challenges, his record shows much in the way of accomplishment: expanding victim services, launching statewide efforts to address ghost guns, successfully prosecuting homicides and prioritizing hate crime and rape prosecutions, developing smart diversion programs that help reduce incarceration and recidivism rates, and enhancing police accountability and conviction integrity.

DA Boudin was made a scapegoat for a city facing numerous societal challenges. Many of those challenges existed before he took office. Some were the result of the unprecedented stresses of the pandemic. And almost all of those challenges are beyond the scope of a prosecutor’s reach or role.

Yet even so, crime in San Francisco has gone down overall since DA Boudin took office, and there is no evidence that criminal justice reform or reform-minded prosecutors are connected to an uptick in crime anywhere over the past two years.

For evidence, look no further than the rest of California where Sacramento, Oakland, and Kern County are all experiencing rising crime while boasting tough-on-crime prosecutors. Indeed, if locking people up made communities safer, our country would be the safest in the world.

Communities nationwide recognize these realities, and the reform-minded prosecutor movement is here to stay, as reflected by recent resounding reelection margins for prosecutors in Philadelphia, Chicago, St. Louis, Kansas City, Tampa, and a host of other places— some seeing their highest support in communities most impacted by crime.

Just weeks ago, Durham County, N.C. District Attorney Satana Deberry beat her primary opponents with nearly 80 percent of the vote, setting up her now-uncontested reelection in November.

Then back in California, Contra Costa County District Attorney Diana Becton was reelected, reformer Attorney General Rob Bonta leads by more than 1.2 million votes, and reform candidate Pamela Price received the most votes in Alameda County.

 If one can read anything into this week’s outcome in San Francisco, it should be the distorting impact of a lower turnout recall process easily swayed by special interests and coming at a time of deep frustration and trauma, rather than clear and considered opposition to a prosecutor committed to ending failed tough-on-crime policies.

Reform-minded elected prosecutors now represent nearly 20 percent of all Americans, and the movement continues to grow.

We feel privileged to work with these visionary leaders who are tireless in—and will not be deterred from—their efforts to promote a safer and more just future for all.

Miriam Krinsky

Author Miriam Krinsky is the founder and executive director of Fair and Just Prosecution. She previously served for 15 years as a federal prosecutor, both in Los Angeles and on an organized crime and narcotics task force in the Mid-Atlantic region. During her tenure as an Assistant United States Attorney in the Central District of California, she served as Chief of the General Crimes Section and Chief of the Criminal Appellate Section. Among her other accomplishments prior to founding FJP, in 2012, she served as the Executive Director of Los Angeles County’s Citizens’ Commission on Jail Violence, and was an advisor to the California Supreme Court during its creation of the Statewide Child Welfare Council.

Fair and Just Prosecution is a national network of elected prosecutors working towards common-sense, compassionate criminal justice reforms. To learn more about FJP’s work, you can visit their website and follow them on FacebookTwitter, and LinkedIn.

Top image courtesy of The San Francisco District Attorney’s Office.

9 Comments

  • Who is “we?” Soros’ lot? Nice to see Miriam’s true beliefs and motivations. Thought she was somewhat smart and savvy but now….excuses, excuses and nothing more.
    Homicide rate is up. Crimes are going unreported because folks know why bother to report them when nothing is going to be done. That’s why the stats are down.
    San Francisco is 90% Democrat. Low voter turnout? Special interest money peddling disinformation? No! It’s people seeing with their own eyes and having to live and try to enjoy life in a shithole that caused the commie’s and spawn of domestic terrorists’ loss.
    Lucky for her, Miriam and her progressive prosecutors don’t have to live in those communities that are suffering. But the folks who do live in those communities are getting hip to the BS being peddled and the pain being caused.
    Hopefully a reckoning at many ballot boxes is coming- starting with Gascon!!

  • WOW! The term “That’s Rich” comes to mind upon reading the title of this op-Ed and substance of its hypocritical assertions. To start, using the term “dis-information” and “high-cost of fear” is not only hypocritical and projecting but insulting to the mind. The progressive movement has made sewing dis-information its bludgeon and used fear to drive its progressive agenda over the past decade. The coordinated smear and distraction campaign used by Progressives to caste the last President as a Russian Operative and frame the and Hunter Biden story as dis-information was the epitome of opposition propaganda. Oh, and to claim Chesa Boudin was the victim of a wealthy GOP Billionaire is denial of the highest form. The most liberal, far left Democratic city in the country has “one GOP billionaire” (dubious claim) and how many wealthy Democratic progressive silicones-valley billionaires as well as the deep pockets of socialist billionaire George Soros to counter? No, the very people that bought in on the “reimagined criminal justice system” promised by Chesa Boudin are the very ones who saw the train-wreck and ineffectiveness of his pro-criminal policies and led the effort to recall him.

    It seems even the socialist wing of the Democratic part went too far off the rest of the party.

  • Anyone expecting progressives like Miriam and Celeste to come to their senses and become reasonable needs to remember this article. To them the ideology is perfect, it’s just the people that keep letting them down. They will stand among the smoking ruins and dead bodies insisting we just didn’t try hard enough to embrace the progressive ideology. Fortunately the people of San Francisco seem to have their own ideas. Miriam and Celeste will never forgive them.

  • ” his vision for a safer and more just city has been obstructed by a deep-pocketed special interest campaign that peddled fear and disinformation. ”

    This is pure comedy . The people of San Francisco are just tired of the crimes they see every day. Thieves breaking into cars in broad daylight and nothing be done , you know arresting thieves. Thieves can walk into a store and just steal anything the want and not fear being arrested.

    We need George Gascon to be recalled and arrested so he can be with the people he cares so much about.

  • OR, the people simply didn’t like what they were seeing with their own eyes and made the appropriate decision.

  • I stayed at the US Grant Hotel in August,right across the street from Union Square and hard by the upscale retail district.

    It was a shithole. If you ever watch Hitchcock’s “The Birds”, the opening scene of Tippi Hedron walking to the pet store is filmed right there.

    As I walked across the street to catch the fabled cable cars, I watched the manager complain to SFPD that 4 cars had been broken into that morning and she requested added foot patrols.

    It truly is now Baghdad by the Bay, after it was bombed. It’s an open sewer now.

    To intentionally blame this recall on Republican fear mongering is just as delusional as the Trumpers who insist Biden was illegitimately elected.

    The author, like the Yrumpers need mental help if that’s how they perceive the world.

  • haha…this is hysterically humorous and completely out of touch with reality, like most left lawyers who make their living off the public dime.

  • This recall wasn’t about Republicans and Democrats. Republicans would have little impact on a community that leans heavily Dem. This recall was about SF residents and business owners (most of whom wouldn’t care what Republicans had to say) who saw an increase in crime, homelessness and drugs. Regardless of stats (since we know stats are only as good as the data going in), it is clear THE PEOPLE of San Francisco saw a problem with Boudin and believed he failed as the chief prosecutor for their neighborhoods.

    Excerpt Quote From The San Francisco Chronicle:
    “Recall campaign chair Mary Jung, who described herself as a “lifelong Democrat,” said she started the campaign 14 months ago because she believed San Francisco was in trouble, needed change and would support a “Democratic-led campaign for a safer San Francisco.”

    “San Franciscans from every neighborhood and background sent a clear message today,” she said. “Voters said loud and clear that they want a district attorney who prioritizes public safety for every community.”

    As for whether Boudin’s ideology is good or bad, I am not sure 2 years is enough time to properly analyze whether alternatives to incarceration are effective. We know it is NOT effective in the short term and criminals will take advantage of “soft on crime” polices and practices. We have seen that in SF as well as LA and other cities. You cannot release criminals and expect them to all of a sudden behave.

    But what about long term? Is it possible to change “would be criminals” and steer them away from a life of crime? Maybe. But we have yet to find a city where progressive policies have shown to be effective. I would welcome, and be open, to evidence that progressive policies work rather than a simple claim that current policies do not work.

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