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Politics & Policy

How to fight a recall: School board recall founders offer advice to embattled DA Chesa Boudin

Beleaguered District Attorney Chesa Boudin faces a tough recall election come June. Siva Raj and Autumn Looijen, the co-founders of February’s successful school board recall effort, have some advice for him. 

“My suggestion to any political leader, whether it’s Chesa or anyone else, is to acknowledge the pain and suffering that people are having,” said Raj.

Looking back at the school board recall, the co-founders say it could have gone very differently had the embattled commissioners admitted to any number of their perceived mistakes.

“The Board of Education members could have stopped it at any time by simply standing up and saying, ‘I’m sorry, you know, we should make these decisions differently,’” said Looijen. “If they had done that, they would have survived.”

Ultimately, the duo says the clearest path to blocking a recall effort is acknowledging the experiences of one’s constituents.

“You’ve got to empathize with the suffering and you’ve got to acknowledge it. You can’t just gaslight the people. That is a path to disaster,” said Raj.

With the school board recall behind them, Raj and Looijen are eyeing the June election—but not because of the D.A. recall.

They’re focused on opposing Supervisor Aaron Peskin’s proposed recall reform measure and, further down the line, helping to re-elect Mayor London Breed’s appointed school board members come November.