The unbearable lightness of recalling people in California means that we have to be grownups and distinguish between two very different scenarios: saving our city or state by getting rid of idiots and nincompoops versus expressing existential discontent in an unhealthy way by throwing away capable, conscientious, hardworking officials with whom we sometimes disagree.
The recent school board recall belonged in the former category. The well funded, rage-fueled effort to recall our District Attorney, Chesa Boudin, is squarely in the latter.
I’m not a close friend of Chesa’s and I don’t know him very well, but I’d like to think of us as collaborators. We’ve been on the radio together. We’ve done projects together. We’ve appeared at press conferences together. I know quite a bit about the spirit of public service and sound policy that drives how Chesa conducts himself in office, because I know how he has shaped his position on a variety of issues. We don’t agree on everything, but he is the real deal.
Chesa is not a diplomat, has not mastered the art of the non-apology apology or the compliment sandwich, and has not shined when confronting the classic San Francisco performative outrage festival. But this does not change the fact that he does his job and does it well.
I know you are continuously bombarded with well-funded scare tactics, fearmongering signs and flawed statistics, and when there’s so much untruth around you, you’re bound to start believing it. In the name of all that is holy, think for yourself–the way you did when you stood up for your children and threw three performative stooges off the school board. There were solid statistics and finances backing you up then. This time, the reliable data points in the opposite direction – AGAINST the recall.
Think that crime is up? You feel subjectively unsafe? This is not Boudin’s fault. Crime is up everywhere and brutal prosecutions are not the answer. In the city, violent crime is stable and homicides are down. Homicide conviction rates are up. Filing rates in nonviolent crime are up. Car burglary ring has been busted.
If, after all is said and done, you still think that you’d prefer a traditional DA to bloat our prisons and jails, you can do it at the ballot box when Boudin stands for reelection. Don’t cheapen an important emergency tool by misusing it against a capable and hardworking public servant.
I know many sensible people who are frustrated by the progressive left’s insistence that no, there is no problem here, and I have deep sympathy for this frustration. Believe me, I’ve been dumbfounded by efforts to rope me into writing amicus briefs denying the serious drug and property crime problems plaguing the city. And I know that these sensible people are going to misuse this bad-faith recall as a piñata to whack their frustrations at. This is not a good use of the recall power.
Want more? Read David Sklansky’s sensible takedown of the recall extravaganza as well as the Chronicle’s position. Neither is a progressive fantasy fest. They are simply looking at what is happening in the city and breaking down for you what is, purely and simply, an unsubstantiated smear campaign.