John Hamasaki is asking voters to do something he hasn't in two years: cast a ballot in a San Francisco election.
Despite being a vocal critic of the recall movement that ultimately ousted former District Attorney Chesa Boudin in June, progressive candidate Hamasaki did not vote in the recall election.
Brooke Jenkins, a recall leader and the interim District Attorney appointed to replace Boudin, has voted in every election since she moved to San Francisco — in late 2021. Prior to that, Jenkins was registered to vote at her home in Union City, where she voted regularly.
A third candidate, Joe Alioto Veronese, has consistently voted in City elections, as has Maurice Chenier, a fourth candidate with little campaign presence.
The Examiner reviewed the voting records of each of the four candidates.
Hamasaki last voted in the November 2020 presidential election, and cited personal issues as the primary reason.
When asked by The Examiner about his voting history earlier this month, Hamasaki explained that he had separated from his partner but remained registered at her residence.
“I did not want to do voter fraud or anything like that because my new address wasn’t the same as my registration address,” Hamasaki said.
When asked why he didn’t re-register at a new address — which can be done online — Hamasaki wrote that “it was a difficult time and I was focused on my family and my young son.”
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“I became frustrated with a political system that seemed focused on the powerful, not the people, and missed some elections,” Hamasaki wrote. “I’m seeking office hoping to restore some of that confidence in a government that serves all San Franciscans.”
Hamasaki added that his separation is final and he recently registered at a new address in the Mission District.
Jenkins, now a Mission Bay resident, has faced scrutiny in recent weeks over the nature of her work for a nonprofit tied to the recall.
Jenkins’ move from Union City last November could hint she was attempting to establish residency in San Francisco in preparation for an eventual run for office — all while describing herself as a mere volunteer for the recall and deflecting speculation about whether she would seek the office herself.
But Jenkins insisted her ties to San Francisco are deep.
"I served the people of San Francisco as an assistant district attorney for over seven years. My husband’s family is from San Francisco and our children were born in the City,” Jenkins wrote in a statement to The Examiner. “We now look forward to raising them in the city that I have been dedicated to serving.”
In a financial disclosure after her appointment to the position, Jenkins revealed that she was paid more than $100,000 for consulting services provided to nonprofit Neighbors for a Better San Francisco. That nonprofit shares an address and prominent backer, conservative billionaire William Oberndorf, with the separate organization Neighbors for a Better San Francisco Advocacy that spearheaded the recall.
Jenkins has faced criticism for characterizing her role in the recall movement as a volunteer, when she was being paid by an organization directly tied to it. (Jenkins has maintained that she did, in fact, conduct consulting work distinct from her volunteer role in the recall.)