By Sandra Lee Fewer and Matt Haney
Households across San Francisco recently received vicious attack ads in their mailboxes and on their TVs, targeting district attorney candidate Chesa Boudin. The ads liken Boudin to a child, and conjure twisted images of a lawless San Francisco. The fear-mongering from these ads is no different than the White House’s approach to politics, where their simple goal is to incite fear in the general public and villainize their opponents.
The culprit behind this smear campaign is the San Francisco Police Officers Association. This is the same group that has been under fire for years for their incendiary rhetoric towards immigrants and people of color. The same group that has notoriously resisted the critical police reforms demanded of the police department by the U.S. Department of Justice.
So far, the Police Officers Association has spent $200,000 (and counting!) to oppose Boudin. They’ve spread countless lies about him to undermine his candidacy.
One wonders what their motivation might be for opposing Boudin so viciously, if it could be linked to his commitment to hold accountable officers who themselves commit crimes, or the POA’s past refusal to cooperate with the District Attorney’s Office. Whatever their motivation, this approach to campaigning is ugly, desperate and should be condemned.
There is no doubt: the status quo justice system is not working in San Francisco. This broken system means the courts are backed up, there is little meaningful accountability for wrong done, and we are cycling people in and out of the jails without real interventions. All of that has to change.
We must focus on electing a district attorney who will bring a new vision to our justice system, who will bring together law enforcement and judicial stakeholders to collaborate for the changes we need. Let’s focus on a bold and positive vision for the District Attorney’s Office, and for all of San Francisco.
The Police Officers Association has often been on the wrong side of history, and unfortunately this election is no different. San Francisco, we must do better. Our justice system deserves it and voters should demand it.
Sandra Lee Fewer represents District 1 and Matt Haney represents District 6 on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.