Plus: 🌊 SF's managed retreat
Hey there, San Francisco.
Well, we are on the eve of a historic election for our city. On Tuesday, San Francisco voters will decide whether or not to recall District Attorney Chesa Boudin.
Nationally, media outlets will be watching to see if “progressive” San Francisco ousts its “progressive” DA. Locally, we’ll be looking for a resolution to a debate that’s consumed our city for at least the past year-and-a-half.
On Monday, I spoke with Boudin over the phone. Here’s what he had to say (some answers have been edited for brevity):
5 Questions with Chesa Boudin
1) What have you learned about San Francisco and its residents during this recall process?
Chesa Boudin: I learned that we have deep rooted challenges. That we have vibrant and resilient communities. And I’ve learned that there are very, very wealthy powerful forces that have no interest in solving the problems in our city, but rather in exploiting them and dragging us down and dividing us.
We cannot solve these problems unless we work together.
2) What’s been a fair criticism from recall proponents, in your opinion?
CB: I mean, none of us want to live in a city that has high property crime rates. None of us want to live in a city that has untreated mental illness or open air drug markets. Those problems need to get solved and I want my office to play a role in solving them… But I will never be able to do it alone. No district attorney will be able to do it alone.
We have a system that to function well requires every agency, every elected official to be held accountable.
3) What’s been unfair?
CB: Everything about it is unfair… Every single one of [the recall’s] ads has lies in it – every one. Their efforts to falsely suggest that the Democratic Party is behind this. The Democratic Party had to send them a cease and desist letter because of their misrepresentations.
Their false effort to suggest that we're not prosecuting any number of categories of crime. The reality is and the data is clear on this – I am prosecuting crimes at a higher rate than my predecessor did. They are not interested in solutions or honest facts. They're not interested in moving forward.
4) The recall seems to be polarizing. But there are likely people who are still undecided on how they will vote tomorrow. What would you say to them?
CB: Everybody you trust, whether it be editorials or newspapers – the Chronicle, the Examiner, the Sing Tao Daily, the Bay Area Reporter – all of them are recommending to vote no on the recall. Whether it be political parties, elected officials, labor leaders, or civil society organizations… people who have done the work, who see the job that my office and I are doing during historically challenging circumstances are united and saying to reject the recall.
The second thing I would say to undecided voters is we have four year terms for a reason and we have elections for a reason. The voters of San Francisco, you, should choose who your district attorney is. And if somebody has the courage to run for this office and if they've got the vision and the platform and a track record of delivering on their ideas that makes you think they can do a better job than I'm doing, then you should vote for them in the election that's scheduled for 2023. But you should not deprive yourself of the vote… and choice over who your district attorney is.
5) On a personal level, these last 12 months seem to have been pretty crazy for you. From the birth of your son, to your father getting out of jail after more than 40 years, to your mother passing away, to this recall. What’s kept you going?
CB: There are times when life tests you and this is one of those times, personally and professionally. And I really believe that it's in these moments that we rise to our potential.
During this time period, my wife, my son, every day, provided me with the energy to stay focused on the things that matter most – to be true to my principles and to my values, even as I learn and grow from the tests that life has thrown in my way.
Quick bits: News to know
👀 On Friday, the city’s health department announced San Francisco’s first “probable case” of monkeypox.
In a press release, the health department emphasized that the “risk to the general population from this virus is believed to be low as the known cause of spread is prolonged contact and bodily fluids.”
“Having close physical contact, including sex, with multiple people can put a person at higher risk for monkeypox,” the statement said.
As health officer Dr. Susan Phillips said in the release: “We want to emphasize that this is not a disease that spreads easily through the air like COVID-19.” (SFDPH)
👀 👀 The SFPD returned from Taiwan late last week with a fugitive that’s accused of breaking into a woman’s Bernal Heights home in March, tying her up with duct tape, and forcing her to transfer $3 million worth of cryptocurrency.
🍩 Food news…
Johnny Doughnuts has closed down its Hayes Valley shop, but says it's looking for a new location in the city. (Hoodline)
Midnite Bagel’s brick-and-mortar store in the Inner Sunnet is officially open. (SFist)
Celtics players Marcus Smart, Aaron Nesmith, and Juwan Morgan dined at the Russian Hill Moroccan restaurant Berber the night before their Game 1 victory. Unclear if they returned before their Sunday night, Game 2 loss. (SFGATE)
What else I’m reading: Links to browse
Chesa Boudin and the Limits of San Francisco Liberalism (NY Mag)
Largely Erased by Time and Development, the Dead of City Cemetery May Soon Get Proper Memorial (SF Standard)
‘Ramses the Great’ is coming to S.F. for the first time. Here’s where you can see the exhibition (Chronicle)
The demolished first home of the SF Giants sold its seats to a Tacoma ballpark in 1959, and they're still there (SFGATE)
Here’s the Story Behind That Stunning Aerial Shot of the Illuminated Pink Triangle (Bold Italic)
And finally… SF’s managed retreat
The Great Highway’s main stretch gets most of the attention these days. But, did you know the southern section is likely to close soon because… it’s falling into the ocean?
In my first *official* piece for Axios, I wrote about it here.
That’s all for today! Thanks so much for reading y’all and if you’re still filling out your ballots and stumped on some of the props – here’s a link to the voter guide roundup we published last month.
See you tomorrow! - Nick B.