The front page of Monday’s New York Times acknowledged the obvious: The crime issue is hurting Democrats badly on the ground: “Debate on Crime Splits San Francisco Democrats.” The report from Tim Arango and Thomas Fuller spotlighted San Francisco’s controversial District Attorney Chesa Boudin, who may prove too far left for…San Francisco?
Boudin’s has impeccable leftist family ties. His parents, Kathy Boudin and David Gilbert, were Weather Underground members, convicted of murder for driving the getaway car in the Brink’s armed car robbery in 1981 in which two police officers and a security guard were killed. He was then raised by Weather Underground member and future Obama comrade Bill Ayers.
As the former chair of the San Francisco Democratic Party, Mary Jung has a long list of liberal bona fides, including her early days in politics volunteering in Ohio for the presidential campaign of George McGovern and her service on the board of the local Planned Parenthood branch. “In Cleveland, I was considered a communist,” she said in her San Francisco office.
But the squalor and petty crime that she sees as crescendoing on some city streets -- her office has been broken into four times during the coronavirus pandemic -- has tested her liberal outlook. Last year, on the same day her granddaughter was born, she watched a video of a mentally ill man punching an older Chinese woman in broad daylight on Market Street.
Now she finds herself leading what has been called a Democratic civil war in one of America’s most liberal cities: an effort to recall San Francisco’s district attorney, Chesa Boudin, that has echoes of the party’s larger split over how to handle matters of crime and punishment....
The Times softened the blow for Boudin.
There is no compelling evidence that Mr. Boudin’s policies have made crime significantly worse in San Francisco. Overall crime in San Francisco has changed little since Mr. Boudin took office in early 2020.
But his message of leniency for perpetrators has rankled residents of the city, many of whom feel unsafe and violated by property….
If successful, the recall would overturn one of the nation’s boldest efforts in criminal justice reform: an experiment to install a former public defender as the protector of public safety with promises to reduce mass incarceration, hold the police accountable and tackle racial disparities in the justice system.
The Times even admitted something was a greater threat than Covid.
The election comes as San Francisco is being convulsed by debates over the disorder of its streets -- car break-ins, tent encampments that dot the sidewalks in some neighborhoods and the open-air markets peddling illicit fentanyl that has killed more people in the city than Covid-19
But more than anything, it was the case of Troy McAlister, a man with a long criminal history who mowed down two people with a stolen car on New Year’s Eve in 2020, that has fueled the recall effort. Mr. McAlister was free because Mr. Boudin’s office had previously negotiated a plea deal on an armed robbery charge. And Mr. Boudin says it is a case that keeps him up at night.
The lefty phrase “defund the police” is notable by its absence, but the story is otherwise decent reporting on an issue the paper usually avoids or accuses Republicans of being racist for bringing up.
In June 2020, in the aftermath of George Floyd, the Times confidently ran this front-page headline that aged like milk: “G.O.P., Blindsided By Public’s Rage, Is Pressed To Act – Police Under Scrutiny – The Law and Order Party Loses Its Footing as Attitudes Shift.”
Those attitudes have apparently shifted right back.