On Wednesday, the San Francisco Department of Elections greenlit the recall campaign of San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin, leading to yet another large-scale recall signature collection campaign to begin in the state.
Recall activists have been gathering signatures and support since late last year against Boudin. While the movement against Boudin has been represented by a few notable incidents, such as the DA releasing a criminal who had previously been jailed and had killed two people, much of the recent furor has been over Boudin’s reluctance to prosecute criminals and his removal of many crime categories, leading to a rise in crime in San Francisco. Burglaries alone went up by 46% in the city in 2020 despite a pandemic keeping many indoors. Robberies have also gone up considerably, with a high-profile robbery of a KPIX TV reporter being robbed of a camera at gunpoint occurring only this week.
Supporters were further inspired by the earlier unofficial change.org petition to recall the DA, which had received over 10,000 signatures in only 4 days earlier this year.
Recall committee spokesman and lead proponent Richie Greenberg released a statement on Tuesday, clarifying the movement’s reasoning.
“This recall effort is the first of its kind in our city and the nation,” said Greenberg. “Law-abiding, fed-up citizens are pushing back against activist District Attorneys who’ve gone too far and are destroying our cities. In Los Angeles, Austin, Chicago, New Orleans, we also see similar stories of public defenders with little to no prosecutor experience being elected DA, and once sworn-in, they summarily dismantle the criminal justice system. People are dying, our streets are dangerous, our homes are targets, business owners close shop and flee due to an unworkable environment. San Francisco is united in its desire to move on from the failure of Mr. Boudin’s experiment.
“One of the things that he promised as soon as he got into office was eliminated whole categories of crimes, quality of life crimes and this has led to green lighting by him and his office to allow criminals to run rampant in the city, all corners of the 49 square miles of San Francisco are targets now. We have seen the brazen robberies. We have seen daytime shootings. We have seen how residents, small business owners, and visitors alike to San Francisco have been targets.
“I don’t think it’s accurate to say that all of this is happening because of DA Boudin. I think a lot of, unfortunately, these are the same folks that didn’t want to see him elected in the first place so I don’t think it’s as much about the data but I think it’s folks that didn’t support him when he ran continued not to support him.”
Recall Boudin joins prominent Newsom, Gascon recall campaigns in 2021
Recall Boudin signature gathering will now join several other prominent recall movements in California in 2021. The Governor Gavin Newsom recall effort is currently closing in on 2 million gathered signatures and will likely see a recall election later this year. Another recall movement against a DA, Los Angeles County’s George Gascon, also recently received permission to begin gathering signatures for a recall. For the latter campaign, supporters actually served Gascon with papers showing their intention on collecting signatures to spur a recall election.
“There is a scenario where three former and current prominent San Franciscan’s, Newsom, Gascon, and Boudin, all have to face a recall election in the same year,” former lobbyist Harry Schultz explained to the Globe. “And they are all worried. It’s not like previous years where a bunch of petitions get started but fizzle out with only a fraction of the needed votes. Newsom had already survived several of those since being sworn in.
“COVID, the lockdowns, the recent recession, the public paying more attention to lawmakers, crime figures, breaking state guidelines despite chastising those who broke them before. All of these reasons and more are rocking these guys.
“And Boudin and Gascon do have to worry, despite being in counties with Democrat voter majority. Everyone thought that Newsom would be safe. Now he has to fight for his job later this year. And that’s not to mention lingering memories of state Senator [Josh] Newman being recalled a few years back, [former Governor] Gray Davis being voted out in 2003, Santa Cruz voters recalling some Councilmen last year, and of course Judge [Aaron] Persky being recalled in 2018 for giving a light sentence to a rapist. Californians are more likely now to be okay with recalls, and all those recent successes also have to worry anyone facing a recall, even if it’s only in the signature gathering phase.”
The Recall Chesa Boudin campaign, whose signature drive will formally start on Friday at noon with petition downloads, will need to collect just over 51,000 signatures, or 10% of the total number of voters in SF County, by mid-August to trigger a recall election against Boudin, who was only sworn in as DA in January 2020.
The petition to recall DA Boudin can be found here.