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Tale of Two Voters: Chesa Boudin Recall Reveals Starkly Different Views of San Francisco
Monday, July 04, 2022

Tale of Two Voters: Chesa Boudin Recall Reveals Starkly Different Views of San Francisco

The upcoming recall election of District Attorney Chesa Boudin presents a fork in the road for San Francisco as two camps of voters envision different paths forward for the city. 

On one side, some San Francisco voters report satisfaction with their experience living in the city and remain staunchly faithful to progressive ideologies. On the other, people express fears of crime and dissatisfaction with aspects of city life and point to Boudin’s recall as a stepping stone to solving its many issues.

Whether or not people are enjoying themselves in San Francisco appears to be a main indicator of how they feel about Boudin.  Issues such as safe consumption sites, compulsory treatment for drug abuse and wearing a facemask on public transit also set the two camps apart.  

Only 30% of people who are voting to recall Boudin report being satisfied with their experience living in San Francisco, The Standard’s poll found. They are more likely to report dangerous commutes to work, a lack of trust in their neighbors and a withdrawal from the city’s once prevailing progressive politics. Their views on other issues also differ: Only 45% of those in favor of the recall support wearing face masks on public transit, compared to 71% from the opposing camp. And only 17% support opening safe consumption sites for users of illegal drugs, compared to 61% of Boudin supporters who back the idea.  

People voting “no” on the recall say they are most concerned by wealth inequality and the rising cost to live in the city. Many of the “no” voters point to long-term policy priorities, rather than the recall, as a solution for the city’s problems and 70% said that they are satisfied with their experience living in San Francisco. 

Camden Avery, a 13-year San Francisco resident who is voting to keep Boudin in office, told The Standard that he thinks the recall campaign is a scapegoat for greater societal issues which require more enduring solutions. Avery spoke highly of his experience in the city, pointing to its diversity and creative communities as a source of inspiration.

“Things that have gone downhill, in any respect, are basically attributable to the pressurization of income inequality,” Avery said. “I think people get frustrated with long-term systemic solutions because they take a long time to put together and they’re expensive.”  

Avery’s outlook is emblematic of Boudin supporters at large, according to The Standard’s poll. While both “no” and “yes” voters cited homelessness as a prominent issue with city life, they differed on how to address the problem. 

For proponents of the recall, which makes up 57% of total survey respondents, there is a sense that the city must take a firmer approach to tamping down on crime. Seventy-three percent of pro-recall voters said they support requiring people with substance abuse disorders to enter treatment and 61% support compelling unsheltered people to go indoors if there is shelter available. 

Susan Jackson, a 40-year San Francisco resident who is voting “yes” on the recall and participated in The Standard’s poll, said that her family is planning to move out of the city as soon as possible. Jackson is part of the 59% of recall supporters who said that they were unlikely to stay in San Francisco long term, compared to 36% of the opposition who were asked the same question. 

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“My husband has been attacked and there are no consequences,” Jackson said. “There has to be an interference. I want to be compassionate and I hate to be bitter but I’m concerned about the safety of myself and those around me.” 

As Jackson and others are planning their moves out, others are moving in. 

Josh Hersh, a Nob Hill resident who moved to San Francisco in December after living in New York and Chicago, said that the city is “relaxing” compared to his previous homes. Hersh pointed to weekend hikes and bustling community events as a reason to celebrate San Francisco. He said his vote against the recall is indicative of his desire to see the city find more compassionate solutions for the city’s ills. 

“Cities have their own unique problems but coming from [New York], which has seven-and-a-half million more people, this feels like a breath of fresh air,” Hersh said. “It really is sad to see that people are suffering in this way. But it seems like so much of the discussion is based on ‘we don't want to see them on the streets.’ But what is the actual solution to get them the help they need?”

David Sjostedt can be reached at [email protected].
  • Homelessness and Crime goes hand in hand. It’s quite obvious for people living in SF that Homelessness is a term used to hide and avoid dealing with drug addicts. There are those that believe its not a crime to be a drug addict and its not a crime to sell drugs either because it s a poverty or white power problem.

  • All San Franciscans, be sure to vote YES on Prop H to finally recall our incompetent, corrupt, cruel, hateful, anti-victim, and pro-crime DA Boudin. He cannot be allowed to continue destroying our homes, City, and lives.

  • Your SF STANDARD data and comments comparing voters for and against IS missing the main point WHY a majority of voters are feeling unsafe on the streets and in our homes! Creating false narratives as professional journalists is alarming People have been killed by repeat offenders, sm business owners sick and tired of lost goods and smashed windows and no consequences AND with the rise of hate crimes, domestic violence during our shut down. DA office has ignored the victims and families.
    Only recently have bilingual lawyers, counselors been hired by DA to deal with growing complaints.

  • I appreciated the even-handed approach the media is taking on this and other controversial issues lately. Investigative reporters are digging deep and finding a lot of flaws in the systems at City Hall. We need to fix those systems that perpetuate the problems and that will take new leadership with management skills that seem to be lacking. For the time being we will have to rely on the media to keep digging and exposing what has remained hidden for too long and hope for some new heroes to appear on the horizon with some fresh ideas to pull us out of the morass we are in and end the fighting over lifestyles that is sapping all our energies.

  • Considering that there is absolutely no evidence that masks work……

    How do you explain that the number of people who want masks on transit is 28% greater among those against the recall?

  • SFPD actively sabotages Boudins work. SFPD is a huge part of the story. The Department is largely responsible for the rampant crime, hiding during shifts, not answering calls in a timely manner, not arresting, not investigating, not keeping their weapons sheathed all while blaming the DA. Where are the call outs?!?

  • SFPD is handicapped by the many psychotic policies of the city from free $ to drug dealers and addicts, free fentanyl dens, free prostitution centers, banning live video feeds from SFPD, blocking SFPD from hiring, blocking SFPD from stopping criminals in cars. Too many to mention. Chesa fired all the qualified prosectors in his office to prevent any justice from happening. It almost seems like he is hell bent on revenging on behalf of his parents. No time for murder, robbery, rape or crime of any kind.

  • Our city just needs to return to its progressive moderatism akin to Liberal-Left Libertarianism. What we have today now, is far/alt-left leaning policies and societal ideologies that have plagued our city, state and country with regressive policies and rhetoric.

  • Are you a progressive who owns property in SF? Be careful. Many SF residents have the bulk of whatever net worth we possess in our homes or condos. Do you want those values to collapse? It has happened before in badly run progressive cities that worried more about coddling criminals than protecting the taxpayers who actually pay for city services. SF is in absolutely terrible condition right now. The city could die. Do you want that? Why? To virtue-signal how much you love vagrants and drug addicts and dealers???

    Time to take a stand for civility and quality of life in SF. VOTE YES on H!!

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