Fed-up San Francisco voters ousted their progressive district attorney on Tuesday in a recall election that rejected his soft-on-crime policies following surges in shameless shoplifting, car break-ins and rampant, open-air drug dealing.
The recall effort against Chesa Boudin, a former public defender and the son of convicted Weather Underground terrorists, was supported by 61% of voters in early returns, according to NBC.
Tuesday’s recall election, Proposition H on the ballot, could prove a bellwether of voter sentiment across the US, including in New York City, where Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg has faced widespread criticism since enacting a slew of progressive policies after taking office in January.
“Around the country, we have seen the rise of the so-called progressive DAs,” Richie Greenberg, a former Republican mayoral candidate and spokesman for the recall effort, told The Post before Tuesday’s vote.
“We here in San Francisco have lived it and we don’t want to see the great city of New York fall in the way that San Francisco has.”
New York does not have recall elections but its governor is empowered to remove district attorneys who fail to do their jobs.
Boudin’s loss followed February’s recalls of three San Francisco school members amid outrage over their decision to spend time renaming one-third of the city’s schools instead of re-opening classrooms closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mayor London Breed — who in December announced a crackdown in which cops would be “less tolerant of all the bulls–t that has destroyed our city” — will name Boudin’s replacement until a special election is held in November.
The selection process could be complicated, however, by another ballot measure, Proposition C, that, if passed, would bar Breed’s pick from running in the special election, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
Boudin, 41, was narrowly elected in 2019 amid a nationwide wave of victories by progressive DA candidates who vowed to reform a criminal justice system they called historically racist and unfair.
But residents of ultra-liberal San Francisco, population 815,000, soon soured on Boudin’s vision of “radical change to how we envision justice,” which included prohibitions on seeking cash bail, prosecuting juveniles as adults and seeking tougher sentences under California’s anti-gang or “three strikes” laws.
Viral videos have revealed shoplifters running rampant during smash-and-grab thefts at high-end stores, with city police Lt. Tracy McCray lamenting to Fox News last year that “we can have a greatest hits compilation of people just walking in and cleaning out the store shelves.”
Offenses against Asian-Americans also proliferated amid the pandemic, with lifelong resident Henry Wong, 74, who worked for the late comedian Robing Williams saying that people “spit on me on elevators, on the streets” and calling Boudin “the worst district attorney the city has ever had.”
“These are crimes,” Wong told the Washington Post.
“And he doesn’t care. It’s just so easy to break the law.”
The latest official police statistics show that overall crime in the city is up nearly 8 percent this year, with a 20 percent surge in larcenies, as well as spikes in homicides, rapes and assaults.
Most polls conducted in the run-up to Tuesday’s election indicated that voters were poised to get rid of Boudin by a wide margin, with a Friday survey published by the San Francisco Examiner showing 56% in favor of removing him.
Boudin’s supporters pinned the recall effort on conservatives and business groups that raised more than $7 million to oust Boudin, who doubled down on his policies at a recent campaign event.
“This is not a recall campaign interested in safety or in truth or in justice or in solutions, it’s interested in division, in fear and spreading hate and undermining policies…that make our communities safer,” he said.
Boudin is the son of Kathy Boudin and David Gilbert, who served as getaway drivers for the infamous 1981 robbery of a Brink’s armored car in Rockland County, during which two cops — Nyack police Sgt. Edward O’Grady and Officer Waverly “Chipper” Jones — and Brink’s guard Peter Paige were murdered.
Kathy Boudin was paroled in 2003 and died of cancer in May.
Gilbert was paroled in October after former Gov. Andrew Cuomo made him eligible during one of his final acts in office after announcing he was quitting over a sex-harassment scandal.
With Post wires