Brooke Jenkins, appointed by the mayor to be San Francisco’s district attorney, replacing the ousted Chesa Boudin, has an unenviable job ahead of her, an almost Churchillian “finest hour” task of bringing order to a city where disorder had become the norm.
Roughly a week after taking the job, Jenkins, a homicide prosecutor who was one of about 60 attorneys who left due to Boudin’s indulgent crime-fighting ideology, fired at least 15 employees from the prosecutor’s office to “help advance,” she said, her “vision to restore a sense of safety in San Francisco by holding serious and repeat offenders accountable and implementing smart criminal justice reforms.”
In the first year that Boudin, a tool of multi-billionaire George Soros, whose objective is to fund the disruption of society, was San Francisco’s prosecutor, homicides (by more than one-fifth), burglaries (by 54%), car thefts (by 37%), and arson (by almost 40%) increased, though overall crime was down from the year before.
In Boudin’s second year, homicides were up by nearly 17%, assault by 9%, human trafficking-sex act by 29%, and larceny 24%. The overall incidents of crime grew by 13.5%. During his last months, rape, robbery, assault, car theft and larceny rose over the same period of the previous year. All crime was up 7.7%.
Boudin was elected in November 2019 on the promise that he would not prosecute quality-of-life crimes, which is an announcement that’s as good as any that even more crime will be tolerated. Fed-up voters tossed him from office in a June recall election by a 55-45 margin.
San Francisco’s reputation has taken a crippling hit in recent years. Scenes of thieves helping themselves to whatever they want from retailers; sleeping and passed-out homeless blocking streets and sidewalks; human waste out in the open; outdoor drug bazaars that are more like filthy, dangerous opium dens than farmers’ markets; raw violence against Asians; and chain-link fencing blocking off what were once public spaces have left a stain on the city. Jenkins needs to change perceptions, and more importantly reality, as fast as she is able.
It would be easy to believe that she’ll be allowed plenty of room to work, given the state of The City. But that’s not the case. She’ll find resistance from within, particularly from supervisors Dean Preston and Hillary Ronen, who, says San Francisco resident Erica Sandberg, “will try to block her progress.”
Preston, a self-identified democratic socialist, opposes increased policing and more funds for law enforcement, which he calls “pointless and counterproductive.”
Ronen is an unreconstructed Boudin ally who believes the bad press that grew around the former prosecutor was based on “lies,” and swore after he was recalled that “we are not done tonight or ever, fighting our system of injustice in the United States.” San Francisco resident and blogger Steve Adams believes Ronen has “a lifelong vendetta against the police.”
Other obstacles in front of Jenkins, says Sandberg, include “powerful left-wing members of the media and criminal justice reform activists who will tear her down online,” and “drug policy ‘experts’ who don’t believe in prosecuting drug dealers and will try to influence policy.”
“There is only one way she can make headway and that’s to ignore the backlash and fight the power,” insists Sandberg.
The San Francisco Chronicle reported that critics are calling Jenkins’ departure from Boudin’s criminal justice reform agenda “a backslide to the policies” of the “1990s and early 2000s.” Apparently they don’t fondly recall the days when San Francisco was a more pleasant place to live and visit.
Kerry Jackson is a fellow with the Center for California Reform at the Pacific Research Institute.