San Francisco is blessed to have two outstanding public servants running the District Attorney’s Office and the Sheriff’s Department. The City will be well served by both of them for the next four years.
Kamala Harris proved during her first term that she is a rising star and one of the best district attorneys in the country. The veteran prosecutor, who started her career in the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office, was elected by San Francisco voters in 2003 and quickly turned around an office that for years had suffered under a too-liberal prosecution philosophy and had proven ineffective at putting dangerous criminals behind bars.
Harris has shown that one can be innovative and forward-thinking and still be tough on crime: She raised the overall felony conviction rate from 52 percent when she took office in 2003 to 67 percent in 2006. Forty percent more serious and violent offenders were sent to state prison in 2006 than in 2003.
Harris has whipped the office into shape, and the old perception that criminals could get away with anything in liberal San Francisco no longer applies.
If all she did was throw the book at criminals, Harris would be doing a fine job. But she is also a skilled administrator with a keen sense of the tools she needs to get the job done. She has beefed up the witness-protection program, which is the district attorney’s prime tool in getting murder witnesses to cooperate with law enforcement officials without fear of being targeted for retaliation by thugs and their accomplices.
She has also made youth and children a priority, creating San Francisco’s first dedicated prosecution team to handle all child assault cases and sponsoring statewide legislation that toughens punishment for child sex predators.
San Francisco is a safer city because of Kamala Harris. We’re fortunate to have her in the same role for another term.
Mike Hennessey has been San Francisco’s county sheriff for the last 27 years and has been re-elected six times since then.
He oversees a huge department that operates the county jails, works with police and state law enforcement officials to arrest parolees, tracks down fugitives in other jurisdictions and conducts arrests for outstanding warrants.
On top of that, Hennessey has created programs to improve the life skills of prisoners — including education programs, drug and alcohol treatment, counseling and horticulture — to reduce the chances they’ll commit new crimes when they are released.
He has also built a skilled, diverse work force that has the highest representation of women and minorities of any major law enforcement agency in the nation, with more than 70 percent of total sworn staff.
Mike Hennessey is recognized as one of the nation’s top sheriffs and has built a top-notch department in his nearly three decades on the job. Mark his name on the ballot with confidence.