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San Francisco’s progressive nightmare The city's radical approach to criminal justice has failed its most vulnerable

James Faulkner, a homeless man, plays his guitar in the Mission district (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

James Faulkner, a homeless man, plays his guitar in the Mission district (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)


June 4, 2021   6 mins

In April, Synciere Williams, a baby of just nine months, was declared dead in a San Francisco emergency room with signs of trauma on his body. In January, newlywed 26-year-old Sheria Musyoka was killed on his morning jog when a drunk career criminal in a stolen 4×4 ran a red light and struck him. A few weeks before, in the middle of the day, Hanako Abe and Elizabeth Platt were killed in a hit-and-run by another criminal with a long rap sheet, also driving a stolen car and high on crystal meth.

In each of these cases, the perpetrator had been recently released by police, either on parole or because of a failure to bring charges. Police had already detained the man suspected of murdering Williams twice this year after domestic violence incidents. The man who killed Abe and Platt had been arrested for 73 felonies and 32 misdemeanours in San Francisco alone.

Such avoidable tragedies keep happening in San Francisco, a city where petty crime rates have exploded, where an already chronic homelessness problem has become even worse, where there were twice as many drug overdose deaths as Covid-19 fatalities last year and where America’s largest and oldest Chinese-American community is battling a spike in violent hate crimes. Anger is growing, and its target is the chief prosecutor notionally responsible for putting criminals away, but who a growing number of San Franciscans say cannot be trusted to keep their city safe. 

Chesa Boudin was elected District Attorney in November 2019 to much fanfare. Never mind that he had never prosecuted a case before; his unabashedly progressive platform — which promised to end cash bail, reduce the size of the city’s prison population, “reimagine” criminal justice and stop enforcing so-called “quality-of-life” crimes such as prostitution — garnered international praise. According to the Guardian, his victory was a welcome shift from the tough on crime’ norms to bold positions that veer radically to the left”. The Nation described Boudins election as confirmation that political revolutions are possible”. In a video message at his swearing in ceremony last January, Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor told Boudin that “the hope you reflect is a great beacon to many”.

Not even 18 months into the job, Boudin has inspired more despair than hope — so much so that he now faces a recall petition from San Franciscans unhappy with his radical approach to criminal justice. And if he has become a “beacon”, it is as a cautionary tale of what happens when voguish ideas of radical reform are put into action.

Boudin, to his credit, has only done what he promised to do. Two days into the job, he fired seven top prosecutors, replacing them with lawyers who had previously worked as public defenders. Within a few months, he had released almost 40% of the city’s prison population. The pandemic further provided Boudin with a public health rationale for his programme of decarceration. The consequences speak for themselves: homicides are up, as are burglaries and carjackings. Arson attacks have also increased by almost 50%.

And yet prosecutions are down. Between January 2020, when he took office, and March this year, Boudin has tried just 23 cases. During an equivalent time period, his (already quite liberal) predecessor brought more than ten times as many cases to trial. In 2020, prosecutors in neighbouring Alameda county dismissed only 11% of felonies brought to them by the police. In San Francisco, that figure stood at 40%.

It’s hardly surprising, then, that San Franciscans have started to turn on Boudin. Of the 131 arrests made for domestic violence felonies in the last three months of 2020, Boudin dismissed 113, prompting anger from campaigners and volunteers at the city’s women’s shelters. Meanwhile, police in the Tenderloin district, ground zero for the city’s homelessness and drug abuse crises, are outspoken in their frustration at Boudin’s refusal to prosecute the dealers behind the surge in fentanyl overdose deaths in the city.

The growing sense of disorder in San Francisco has forced some to take matters into their own hands. Leanna Louie is a lifelong San Franciscan and, like most people in the city, a lifelong Democrat. Disturbed by a rise in anti-Asian attacks, which she attributes to the racially charged language deployed by Donald Trump during the pandemic, she has spent nearly every evening of the past year patrolling San Francisco’s Chinatown with a group of other volunteers. Exasperated with Boudin’s apparent inability to put away the kind of violent criminals she spends her evenings protecting shop-owners and elderly Chinese-American residents from, she is also now campaigning for his recall.

Boudin’s social media is full of concern over the rise in crime targeted at Asians, but Louie says it is very hard for her or the victims to take him seriously. “These attacks are happening over and over again because he releases criminals,” she says. “It’s so insulting to hear him claim he cares about us. If you care about us, why don’t you join us on patrol?”

Andrea Shorter, also part of the recall campaign, says that “the inconvenient truth for Boudin is that it’s not just a small group of conservatives that are out to recall Democratic politicians… We are interested in and support criminal justice reform. We understand its implications in terms of racial justice. I myself am African-American and also LGBTQ. I have supported criminal justice reform for nearly three decades, but not at the expense of public safety.”

Yet San Francisco’s lax attitude to crime does not start and end with Chesa Boudin. Proposition 47, a 2014 ballot measure that reclassified a range of felonies — including theft of anything worth less than $950 and most drug possession and drug use offences — as “misdemeanours”, is also part of the problem; shoplifting is now so rife in the city that Walgreens, a national pharmacy chain, has closed 17 locations in San Francisco. Meanwhile, like other liberal city leaders, San Francisco’s mayor London Breed has pulled $120 million from the city’s law enforcement budget to reinvest elsewhere.

But even if Boudin is only one in a cast of characters responsible for the decay of San Francisco, the 40-year-old perfectly personifies the hypocrisies of American progressivism behind that decline. Read any of the fawning profiles in America’s liberal press and the first thing you’ll learn is his first-hand experience of America’s judicial system. He is often described as “the son of jailed radicals” or the son of “imprisoned leftists” and frequently touts his parents as the inspiration for his decarceration agenda.

This is a heavily spun version of the truth. Boudin’s mother and father were members of the Weather Underground, a far-left terrorist organisation that spent the 1970s bombing banks and government buildings (including the US Capitol). They went on to form a splinter group called the May 19th Communist Organisation and, in 1981, took part in the armed robbery of a bank truck in Nyack, New York.

They botched the heist and the Boudins’ accomplices shot and killed a security guard and two policemen. Chesa’s parents were convicted of felony murder. In their trial, the defendents said the stolen $1.5m was “expropriation” needed to fund the creation of a black nation-state in the American south. For the progressive goals of the Boudins (both of whom are white), Officer Waverly Brown, the first African-American police officer in Nyack, paid with his life.

It would, of course, be unfair to tar Boudin with his parents’ extremism. But he shows no embarrassment over his lineage. “My parents were all dedicated to fighting US imperialism around the world,” the radical princeling told the New York Times in 2002. “I’m dedicated to the same thing.” In his cringeworthy memoir about his travels in Latin America — during which he worked as a translator in the Hugo Chavez’s Presidential Palace as a translator author of  pro-regime pamphlets aimed at a gullible US audience — he condescends the poor and shows a painful lack of self-awareness. “Why weren’t they as eager as I to criticise imperialism,” he asks of working-class South Americans.

Boudin has never renounced any part of his past: his parents, in his eyes, are brave radicals and blameless victims of America’s industrial-prison complex. His radicalism is of a piece with theirs. And just as he appears impervious to the consequences of his parents’ actions, he seems blind to the results of the experiment he is running in San Francisco.

The failure of that radical experiment — and the desperation of the San Franciscans who want to put a stop to it — is, in many ways, a parable of the American Left: the ultra-liberal metropolis being mugged by reality. The Boudin recall effort is a test of the limits of San Francisco’s commitment to radical ideas. Campaigners must gather more than 51,000 signatures to trigger a recall election. Indeed, if its residents do manage to do so, it would be a chastening moment for progressives across the country who have spent the last year calling for more of the sort of radicalism embodied in San Francisco’s DA. 

And if they don’t, it will suggest liberal America is oblivious to the consequences of “reimagining” policing and criminal justice: a spike in violence and disorder that ultimately hits the country’s most vulnerable the hardest. 


Oliver Wiseman is the deputy editor of The Spectator World and author of the DC Diary, a daily email from Washington. He is a 2021-22 Robert Novak Journalism Fellow

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Mike Boosh
Mike Boosh
3 years ago

Hmmm. Release a bunch of convicts, stop prosecuting criminals, and crime goes up. Who’d have thunk it?

kathleen carr
kathleen carr
3 years ago
Reply to  Mike Boosh

And romanticising these criminals is such a good idea.

Ray Zacek
Ray Zacek
3 years ago
Reply to  Mike Boosh

While cops risk the Chauvin treatment: overcharged, overprosecuted and, soon, oversentenced for dereliction.

Last edited 3 years ago by Ray Zacek
M Spahn
M Spahn
3 years ago
Reply to  Mike Boosh

Even our Hug-A-Thug DAs know it, they just don’t care.

Kathy Prendergast
Kathy Prendergast
3 years ago
Reply to  Mike Boosh

Yes, it’s almost like most people who are in prison are there because they’ve done very bad things and aren’t fit to move freely in society.

Johannes Kreisler
Johannes Kreisler
3 years ago

Well, he was elected by the residents. Voting habits have consequences.

Tim Stewart
Tim Stewart
3 years ago

So are you saying these “recallers” are not respecting the will of the people? That to review or reconsider his appointment would be an insult to democracy? Maybe we could call them “remoaners” instead?
I mean, clearly I’m just trolling, this guy’s a douche and should go. Still, people are often much keener on defending democracy when it breaks “their” way.

Johannes Kreisler
Johannes Kreisler
3 years ago
Reply to  Tim Stewart

Quite.
They are everywhere – the various disenchanted thirdwave feminists bemoaning the translobby coming after them, or bemoaning the lack of safety for women in Sweden; various prominent ‘progressive’ academics falling victims of the “cancel-culture-gone-too-far”, & so forth. They made their own bed. The problem is that they ruined everybody else’s beds in the process.

Ian Wigg
Ian Wigg
3 years ago
Reply to  Tim Stewart

You really had to shoehorn Brexit into a piece which had absolutely nothing to do with it whatsoever? Reeks somewhat of desparation.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago

Voting in this way has consequence for business owners and the law abiding poor. It tends not to have consequences for the rich white liberals who voted in this way.

George Glashan
George Glashan
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

the same wealthy people that vote for this don’t bear the costs of the consequences, and they have the means to move if it really starts to effect their lives or if San Fran implements taxes to pay for police in the future. if these people were genuinely concerned for the wellbeing of the “oppressed”, they would charitably donate their own wealth to them, they don’t, they vote to make other people pay.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

The rich Liberals love it – it puts ‘edge’ to the inner town, grit and general vibe to see the weirdos and scary mixed up with the normals who are so uninteresting as a mass. To them it is just an expencive set peice to make visiting their top resturant or gallery more of a buzz.
You normals are just part of the landscape, like the massed wildabeasts on the savanna – and they are so much more interesting when some lions and hyenas are also in the picture. Edgy like.

Kathy Prendergast
Kathy Prendergast
3 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

You may have a point; I’ve read that in the 18th century the wealthy elites in England liked to visit the notorious insane asylum known colloquially as Bedlam to amuse themselves by observing the inmates, at a safe distance of course. Basically like a human zoo, only less humane.

Steve Wesley
Steve Wesley
3 years ago

We had that in the 21st Century as well, it was called The Jeremy Kyle Show.

Johnny Sutherland
Johnny Sutherland
3 years ago

Either there are a lot of idiots living in San Francisco or he put up a very good front.

Ray Zacek
Ray Zacek
3 years ago

I suspect more of the former than the latter. Sanctimonious Stepford progressive libs infest many if not most American urban areas.

Ana Fernandez
Ana Fernandez
3 years ago

George Soros poured quite a bit of money into his campaign. He also financed other DA candidates with similar platforms in other cities. At least another one of those elected (the L.A. district attorney, I believe) is facing recall efforts. There seems to be a pattern here.

Anthony Roe
Anthony Roe
3 years ago
Reply to  Ana Fernandez

Say it ain’t so, you are a class above.

Johannes Kreisler
Johannes Kreisler
3 years ago
Reply to  Ana Fernandez

A string of 10 or so completely innocuous comments disappeared from the Bindel article too, with mine on top getting the orange banner and dragging the unfolding pleasant chat below it into the thereafter. It’s beyond ridiculous. I’m not much perturbed about Tuesday’s incoming paywall either for that very reason. 95 pence a week for a sandbox p¡ssed all over by the moderators, no thanks.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Ana Fernandez

Hi Sanford, may I say how much I have enjoyed your intelligent posts. Fortunate that many of them make it through the mods. Of course I have no idea how many do not.
unherd has been wonderful in that usually people can express a non leftist viewpoint and it won’t get squelched. Although it has changed somewhat over the last months. But conversations are normally intelligent and I have learned a lot from other posters. It’s good to read differing viewpoints. I also appreciate the lack of rage and cursing that one usually finds on sites like this. People here don’t usually descend into that when someone disagrees with them. Like you, I won’t be around after Tuesday either but perhaps we will find another site where unfettered discussion is usually or at least occasionally allowed. Best of luck to you.

Last edited 3 years ago by Annette Kralendijk
Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
3 years ago

You are a great poster Annette – good by, and good by to all you, the loons and the sheep, the informed/intelligent, and the not so, the dullards and the whack-jobs, not that there are many of those, and the regular folk.

Niobe Hunter
Niobe Hunter
3 years ago
Reply to  Ana Fernandez

Yeah, asking you to pay to be censored. Extraordinary.
I would pay for the articles, and the comments. But not the expletive deleted persons who sentence one to await moderation for often inexplicable reasons.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago

I have said for some years that the majority of politicians appear to have little or no understanding of cause and effect. This applies especially to the Left and doubly so to the ‘progressives’ who are currently making various US cities progressively worse. In Portland, homicides are up 800% following the abolition of the Firearms Investigation Unit and a defunding of the police. Crime of all types is out of control in NY, Chicago and other cities. All of this is merely an acceleration of trends that have been apparent for some years. The Left is determined to destroy the US and, certainly in these cities, they are succeeding.

Jonathan Oldbuck
Jonathan Oldbuck
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

Read Burnham’s ‘The Suicide of the West’. You will be left open mouthed at the accuracy of his characterisation of the liberal ideology currently causing parts of the USA to unravel.

Last edited 3 years ago by Jonathan Oldbuck
Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

Frasier, I write of the Global conspiracy to destroy the middle class as they are basically moral, educated, and have enough money to vote for the Nation, and collectively hold actual wealth, instead of being bought by Politicians with free stuff – – like the new majority which is being created by open borders and welfare trap, and drugs. It is all so obvious how the West is being driven to a psychotic self destruction – but moderation steps in….. The powers have gotten so far along they control the thinking to such a point a revolution of ideology must come, or we are doomed to be Brave New World, or 1984, but basically owned. Even Unherd is becoming ideologically mainstream MSM, I guess it is that or go bust but they are now lifestyle, and not journalism, as a core…..
My guess is this will be Awaiting for Moderation, as usual – I am off to go fix a second story roof now, in the light rain, I actually do construction (part time now) and we (construction workers) are one of the few classes of people who are solid conservative, because we know work, and how hard we work for our stuff, and say what we wish to say as we are tough – but the normals are Pu** ies and are just sheep….baaaa
Digital currency – internal (covid) passports, Social Credit, constant GPS….

Douglas Proudfoot
Douglas Proudfoot
3 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

Politics should be individual, not interest group. I’m a lifetime Conservative Republican, Trump supporter, with 2 MS degrees because that’s my indidual choice. I may be a “traitor” to my socio-economic group, but I identify as a redneck. I grew up in Montana.

Interest group politics is a leftist thing. Don’t buy into it. Encourage individuals to pick their politics regardless of their class, race, sex or sexual preference. We need every vote we can get.

William Harvey
William Harvey
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

Chicago crime data. Looks to me as if the racist mayor ( who won’t let white people interview her) is failing miserably…. yet people still keep voting for her.

https://heyjackass.com/category/2020/

Francis MacGabhann
Francis MacGabhann
3 years ago

Serious question to all leftists, and I’m not being a d*ck here, I genuinely want to know. Why, in the face of all evidence to the contrary, do you continually insist that there are no bad people, only victims of a bad system? What will it take for you to just get it into your heads that there are large numbers of people who will do whatever they can get away with just because they can get away with it?

Noah Ebtihej Sdiri
Noah Ebtihej Sdiri
3 years ago

A lot of today’s leftists come from an upper-middle-class background and never had to live in neighborhoods riddled with crime. A lot of working-class people do lean left on economic issues but are more conservative on social matters.

Cheryl Bulman
Cheryl Bulman
2 years ago

Yep…Nancy Polosi for example.

chris sullivan
chris sullivan
3 years ago

I believe that they actually cannot deal with the messy reality that is the human condition-they are so fearful that their denial is rigid and aggressive when challenged. Add to this mix is an inability / fear of actually reading history and searching for objective truth. There is no other reason to explain their practical stupidity. Stupid is as stupid does……..

michellefranklin8
michellefranklin8
2 years ago

Hillary Clinton was chewed to bits for pointing out the reality that black communities had “super-predators”. Every community has predators, but it is taboo to point out that some black and brown people behave badly.
There is a creepy tendency in progressive elites to treat black and brown people like animals instead of equal citizens accountable for their actions.
It makes sense that black people would come to the defense of criminals, given that in the past many black people were lynched on trumped-up charges. But now, black people are victims of homicide at alarming rates. Black communities must demand police oversight, but also must speak out against the criminals in their community and report them to the police.

dcbatlle
dcbatlle
3 years ago

You have no evidence that blacks attacking Asians is due to Trump’s “racially charged language”, language which, curiously, nobody bothers to offer any examples of. All you have is Trump saying “Chinese virus” and that it may have come from a lab. This is a perfect example why media is one of the least trusted institutions in America. You are fake news.

Last edited 3 years ago by dcbatlle
Jake Jackson
Jake Jackson
3 years ago
Reply to  dcbatlle

The overwhelming majority of the attacks on Asians are committed by predatory black men who, like all predators in the animal kingdom, go after the easiest targets: Asian women and the elderly of both sexes. The media try hard to disguise the race of the attackers, but the facts leak out anyway.

Kathy Prendergast
Kathy Prendergast
3 years ago
Reply to  Jake Jackson

Exactly; a lot of these attacks seem to have no motive other than ferals taking out their misery or rage on the easiest target. Asians on average are physically smaller than whites, blacks, or Hispanics, and they’re probably the least likely to be armed. The attackers probably don’t even think “Asian” when they go after them, just “victim”.

John McKee
John McKee
1 year ago

Yes indeed. I have observed that again and again in 25 years of working in the criminal justice system.

John McKee
John McKee
1 year ago
Reply to  Jake Jackson

You are utterly correct.

Sharon Overy
Sharon Overy
3 years ago

The latest in an increasing list of cities being shown the results of their policy demands. What’s so baffling is the apparent surprise.
I mean, down-categorising crimes, not prosecuting and releasing prisoners who’d previously been prosecuted and convicted – how on Earth could the increase in crime be an ‘unforeseen consequence’?

Sue Ward
Sue Ward
3 years ago

I have little sympathy for the San Franciscans who voted for this POS: they have got exactly what they thought they wanted. I’m sure the wealthier among them will move, like locusts, to more pleasant cities and then ruin them too with their progressive nonsense. The people I feel sorry for are those who didn’t vote for this and who cannot afford to flee.

Jonathan Oldbuck
Jonathan Oldbuck
3 years ago

Fascinating article. It’s difficult to believe that it’s all true and not some kind of satire. To read that Boudin is the offspring of the Weather Underground was initially a marmalade dropper, then made perfect sense. There is no limit to these people’s stupidity and misreading of humanity. James Burnham wrote prophetically of them six decades ago.

tfconnolly21
tfconnolly21
3 years ago

This reminds me of the leftist intelligentsia in Russia who thought that destroying social structures wouldn’t have violent consequences, and that they would be able to create an earthly paradise. They were massacred by the Bolsheviks. If Boudin’s parents were rightist extremists who robbed banks to fund a fascist revolution, would he have had a chance at a political career? Why is leftist violence given a pass?

rrostrom
rrostrom
3 years ago
Reply to  tfconnolly21

And would a good friend of his foster parents, who were part of the same gang, but managed to avoided prison, be elected President?

Stephanie Surface
Stephanie Surface
3 years ago

I live part of the year in LA where this year the murder rate is up 95% and rape 40%. The budget of police enforcement was cut last year. LA looks more and more like the Mecca of homelessness: tents, trash and empty needles everywhere. Wonder when the “Liberal Elite” in CA comes to its senses. Smaller businesses are leaving in droves. If anybody wants to see the decline of a once booming State in the aftermath of left wing government, come to CA.

Last edited 3 years ago by Stephanie Surface
Jeff Mason
Jeff Mason
3 years ago

Progressives are regressive; they push society to mayhem as they try to achieve utopia. They are naive and childish at best. The reason for this is emotion. They make decisions, not based on logic, but emotion. You see it in them blaming Trump for black-on-Asian crime. Logic would suggest that if Trump is such a racist monster who hates blacks, blacks would do the opposite of what he wants them to do. They would us believe they take their marching orders from him. Really? SF voters elected an acknowledged communist who wanted to empty the prisons and not prosecute crimes and expected crime to go down? Another sign of emotion based thinking over logic. It feels good so it must be true. Parts of our world are ugly. Those parts must be dealt with in an unpleasant manner. It’s called reality.

Al M
Al M
3 years ago

That this ridiculous man and his godawful policies were approved by the Guardian gives me little surprise.

Joe Frink
Joe Frink
3 years ago

“Disturbed by a rise in anti-Asian attacks, which she attributes to the racially charged language deployed by Donald Trump”
Oh, how wrong can she be. The people that have been attacking Asians for their race have all been ghetto blacks, who are definitely of the Democrat constituency.
Democrats point to the mass murder of prostitutes a number of weeks ago by a mentally ill right winger, but his motivations were not racial, they were sexual, in a mentally ill way.

hayden eastwood
hayden eastwood
3 years ago

A very intelligent womanizer with huge charisma and charm, albeit with little introspection, and an addiction to the fantasy of what he would have liked his parents to be. Great to go out drinking with, though not great for running a city.

Last edited 3 years ago by hayden eastwood
JP Martin
JP Martin
3 years ago

I’ve met plenty of people like Boudin in California. They may have some superficial charm but, for the most part, they will use it to seduce themselves. They always have limitless reservoirs of self-love and an unshakable, mistaken belief that they are decent people out to save the world. They will have a ‘Coexist’ bumper sticker on their Prius but they will run you over to get that prime parking spot at Whole Foods. They will talk about migrants’ right but sack their domestic servants over a misplaced t-shirt…Boudin is just another deluded narcissist who has never had to pay a personal price for his noxious ideas and the damage they cause.

hayden eastwood
hayden eastwood
3 years ago
Reply to  JP Martin

I was trying to go easy on the guy, but basically, this is spot on.

JP Martin
JP Martin
3 years ago

Because you’re obviously much nicer than I am 🙂

Andrew Thompson
Andrew Thompson
3 years ago
Reply to  JP Martin

Like most of the left then?

hayden eastwood
hayden eastwood
3 years ago
Reply to  JP Martin

Speaking as someone who had a similar background to Boudin, I find his psychology familiar. My father, like his, was a revolutionary Marxist and would have gone to Prison (like Mr Boudin’s father) if his plan to blow up a power station and derail a train had succeeded. Thankfully the power plant sabotage never went past the planning phase and the train sabotage was discovered by officials and averted.
Every child of a Marxist cult figure has a choice. We can see our parents for what they were: driven by hatred, vengeance, greed, envy, malice and nihilism, or we can cling doggedly to the fantasy that they were locked in a just war of good against evil.
To accept the former is to accept that we were never loved by our parents, and that they were incapable of loving anyone, not even themselves. To accept the former means accepting that our life, our whole family narrative, our whole childhood, was a lie. This is too painful for many to come to terms with.
Instead, the majority, like Mr Boudin, I suspect, become fanatical because fanaticism preserves the integrity of the fantasy of who their parents were, of what their own story is, of where their own virtue lies. They must bury all self doubt and employ every weapon of cognitive dissonance to uphold it.
The lie is the path of least resistance, taking them further from the unbearable truth, which would scorch them like radiation if they ever looked at it.

Last edited 3 years ago by hayden eastwood
JP Martin
JP Martin
3 years ago

That’s interesting and insightful, thanks for sharing.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
3 years ago

Boudin sounds like a candidate for Hare’s 20 questions. For those that don’t know, it is a psychopathy checklist. I used it frequently when working in corporate so that I could figure who I was dealing with! Snakes in suits.

Johannes Kreisler
Johannes Kreisler
3 years ago

Is good old Hare’s Checklist still doing the rounds?! So quaint. Or was it a while ago you were in corporate (not that i’m trying to insinuate your age, sorry…)

Ray Zacek
Ray Zacek
3 years ago

Like George Gascon, Boudin’s simply another sociopath.

Kathy Prendergast
Kathy Prendergast
3 years ago

Maybe “great to be out drinking with” for you.

David Jory
David Jory
3 years ago

Go back to the shooting of Kate Steinle over 5 years ago to see the horror of ‘progressive justice’ in California.
Trump campaigned partly on this and the Democrats were horrified. They blame him for the hatred now, but their policies have caused it.
My daughter visited for the second time a few years ago and was appalled at the smell of human waste on the streets.
My mother first visited in the 40s. Then it was utopia.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  David Jory

We were on Pier 14 the day before Kate Steinle was shot. With our kids. Had it happened the day before it could have been us. I had a terrible time, nightmares for weeks afterwards, just knowing what her family was going through and the randomness of the insanity. Of course, the killer should not have even been in the country.

Rhys D
Rhys D
3 years ago

You reap what you sow.

William Gladstone
William Gladstone
3 years ago

The thing is those on the far left are at best not too fussed if the whole system collapses in bloody chaos. They see that as their chance for revolution.
I do wonder quite how tribal the majority of the left are now though. Peronally I had a conversation with a woman today where I said “fauci apparently could not be bothered to read an email about the source of covid-19 coming from the wuhan lab.” “well she said thats just a conspiracy theory” so i said “Biden is looking into it” and she said “oh yeah well trump was in power at the time.” 
This is a middle aged not stupid posh woman (who apparently spent 3 years in China) who clearly lives her life tribally. I wonder if she has at any point in her adulthood questioned her beliefs. I don’t think so.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago

San Francisco has been in really bad shape for a long time. Boudin is just one of a long string of failed leaders. Sadly, there likely isn’t anything that can be done about it. If you want to live there, you just have to learn to accept the conditions.

Last edited 3 years ago by Annette Kralendijk
Alex Delszsen
Alex Delszsen
3 years ago

S.F. last got a look in from me in 2007. It was so awful, I said my goodbyes. I have told a number of German tourists to expect to be disappointed and to watch where they walk, even downtown in front of their hotel. So glad I had a lot of experiences there in the decades before, because I would not suffer to see it again. How are they keeping their city afloat, I wonder?

Andrew Thompson
Andrew Thompson
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Delszsen

We did the same tour too about 10 years ago. We were totally shocked at the poverty and homelessness even back then, God alone knows what it looks like now. Been there done that. Wouldn’t go back.

kathleen carr
kathleen carr
3 years ago

Frank Zappa got it right about these people in his 1968 album ‘We’re Only in it for the Money’ esp the song Who needs the Peace Corps? ‘What’s there to live for? Who needs the peace corps? Think I’ll just drop out, I’ll go to Frisco, Buy a wig & sleep ,On Owsley’s floor’. Later in the lyrics he says ‘I’m really just a phony’ & the Haight-Ashbury experience seems to divide between weekend hippies & those who made money from them. Neither claim to be religious , yet still believe in the parable of the loaves and fishes.They feel that someone ( the rich , big business) will always provide .That every criminal is misunderstood and every policeman is brutal. Everything should be free especially drugs-they seem to have the right mayor for their thinking.

Robin Lambert
Robin Lambert
3 years ago

Me too in november 2004..The amount of Aggressive begging,Shocked me….I preferred National Parks,Zion, Utah etc..

Stephanie Surface
Stephanie Surface
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Delszsen

Guess Google, Facebook and other tech Companies pay for their upkeep. Most upstarts and small companies are leaving in drones and settle in Texas or Tennessee

Robin Lambert
Robin Lambert
3 years ago

Mario Cuomo ruined New York..Progressives flee to Republican Controlled States &Cities..

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Robin Lambert

if you mean de Blasio, yes, but NYC goes up and down more than SF. It was better under Giuliani and Bloomberg and will likely get better once de Blasio is gone. But SF is just straight decline. There’s no break, there’s no recovery. New Yorkers get tired of the mess and elect someone to get it cleaned up, and then slide back into bad habits once they get a bit comfortable. SF doesn’t have that luxury.

Last edited 3 years ago by Annette Kralendijk
Kathy Prendergast
Kathy Prendergast
3 years ago

Why do you think that is, though? Why don’t liberal San Franciscans seem to have a breaking point, like liberal New Yorkers do?

Paul Sorrenti
Paul Sorrenti
3 years ago

Sometimes I think the word progressive is too kind to these people. It suggests a step by step approach to an end goal whereas, as we can see, rather than cautiously move toward a world where those criminals who are in jail for what most would consider petty crimes (which, personally speaking, wouldn’t include robberies of $949 dollars!) and releasing them from jail slowly, cautiously, progressively, so the social workers and housing departments can have a chance to adapt, they instead reach for their new heaven immediately, releasing everyone, overwhelming the systems in place. Ultimately it’s massively damaging to a very popular idea – there aren’t many people to be found who don’t agree that the US prison system is overpopulated. But these progressives jump-the-sharkers will always land in the tank of reality. As cool as they think they are, they aint no Fonzie

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
3 years ago
Reply to  Paul Sorrenti

They label themselves as ‘progressives’ and we do a disservice to ourselves and the English language each time we use it. Try ‘narcissists’ instead.

Kathy Prendergast
Kathy Prendergast
3 years ago
Reply to  Paul Sorrenti

How could a truly professive approach to reducing the incarceration rate in the US work? Well, releasing only prisoners convicted of NON-violent offenses would be a good start.
The problem, though, is many people who are in prison for non-violent offenses also happen to be violent people who just haven’t yet been convicted of a violent crime.
This is why, when Guiliani ran NYC, the violent crime rate went down so dramatically. It was because police actually started to arrest, charge, and convict people of offenses that had been largely tolerated for years: eg. turnstile jumping, aggressive panhandling, purse snatching, vandalism, etc. It turned out that a very large number of the people nabbed for these crimes had long rap sheets of all kinds of offenses, including violent ones. Often they were found to have outstanding warrants for violent crimes.
This is not saying, of course, that everyone who commits a petty or nonviolent crime is a potential mugger, armed robber, rapist, or murderer. But painful as it is for progressives to accept, people who jump turnstiles are statistically more likely to hurt other people, than those who always pay their fare.

mike_flair
mike_flair
3 years ago

GREAT ARTICLE Oliver, lots of real life depth here. It is exactly what the wokesters need…they live in an ‘alternative reality’ world where words matter most, words = power. Just like Walgreens, business and individuals who can afford to move out will, creating more despair, inequality and insecurity for mostly people of color. And collapse of big blue democratic cities is easy to see.

William Harvey
William Harvey
3 years ago

The core problem with marxism/communism and idiots like this fool in San Francisco who try to implement it, is that it takes no account of evolved human nature. To be fair , it was dreamt up at a particular time in history as a “solution” to some obvious problems.
However, we now know that its entirely incompatible with the basic structures of human society and interaction.

It has failed miserably whenever it has been implemented. That is regardless of type locatiion culture, society or any other variable.

Evolution has made us a “social ” creature… but only on a small scale. Once you get beyond obvious advantage for the individual (and there close relatiions) the “social” concerns become too diluted to have any obvious benefit… and as humans we end up resenting them. At that point the only way to continue the marxist experiment is via cohesion and force. That is also what is observed every time its been tried.

For a while now, I’ve come to believe that “progrssive” claim to believe this nonsense only as an indicator to be used to attract mates… much like a genetic adaptation to improve reproductive attraction. …

The reproductive attraction message being.. “look im so caring i care about the whole world..imagine how much I’d care about our offspring”.

The comments saying this guy is a “womaniser” might add some (weak) evidence to my outlandish theory.

Johannes Kreisler
Johannes Kreisler
3 years ago
Reply to  William Harvey

The reproductive attraction message being.. “look im so caring i care about the whole world..imagine how much I’d care about our offspring”.

And that’s where the message misfires – any prospective mate with more than half a braincell would reply: “I see you would butcher, cook and serve up our offspring to the whole world’s scroungers if they cry victimhood loud enough”
In that way, it can be very much indeed an adaptive evolutionary function, as the bleeding heart types get deselected and dropped from the “eligible mate” list like a hop stone.

Sean Booth
Sean Booth
3 years ago

You reap what you sow. Elect a radical left wing do gooder and get anarchy.

Waldo Warbler
Waldo Warbler
3 years ago

Sounds like this guy is to justice as Lysenko was to food production. And there are ideological parallels too.

taek kenn
taek kenn
3 years ago

As the great philosopher H.L. Mencken said so eloquently:
Democracy is the theory that the common man ( here San Francisco
and CA state voters ) know what they want and deserve to get it GOOD AND HARD.
And San Francisco and CA state voters have definitely been getting
it GOOD AND HARD.
 

Jake Jackson
Jake Jackson
3 years ago

The first thing to say is that San Francisco is the most beautiful city in America, and has long been a favorite destination for millions of tourists, both internal and foreign. The second thing to say is that I have a 43-year personal history there.

The third thing to say is that S.F. has long had a component of derelicts. I spent a couple months there in the summer of 1978, my first visit. I still remember a story in the San Francisco Chronicle, which was never accused of being a serious newspaper, about a family discovered living under a mattress in the Tenderloin, their skid row. Being young and new there, I asked what is still an eminently reasonable question: How does even one person live under a mattress? LOL

That summer, I found a “job” that paid me about $1 (in today’s money) per signature to collect signatures on a political candidate’s nominating petitions. It certainly acquainted me with the street-level dynamics. There were the secretaries in the financial district, who took pity on me. I’d lost 20 pounds that summer from working in Idaho potato fields before hitchhiking to the Bay Area to “couch surf” with a friend.

The male financial types always wanted more information, and all I wanted was a buck. I learned quickly, and stopped asking them. Another group were non-English speakers, mainly Chinese. Another group were babbling derelicts. Skip both groups; no bucks there. So I’d hit the secretaries on their lunch breaks, and in the afternoon would head to the Castro, the gay neighborhood.

What the secretaries found pitiful the gays found hot. Signatures galore, along with slips of paper with phone numbers. Lots of bucks in signatures, and could have been lots more if I wanted to go into a side business. Not my style, which in retrospect probably saved my life. In any case, I divided S.F. into one-quarter financials, one-quarter Chinese, one-quarter derelicts, one-quarter free-range gays. Being a buck-seeking American … LOL

Fast-forward to a couple years ago, before the viroids. S.F. had seen a steady increase in its dereliction. Lots of scary stories. We’d moved to the WA State countryside, and I found myself in a tavern, chatting with a guy who lives around here but works remotely for a Bay Area tech outfit.

I asked him if the stories were true, or whether this was one more case of media sensationalism. His answer: It’s worse. He had stopped staying in the city when he visited the company HQ. He’d stay 20 miles away and drive in, which says a lot given the horrible traffic. I don’t know if I will ever re-visit what was once my favorite American big city.

One final thing: S.F. has forever been a funky place, a haven for the non-conformists, long predating the post-WW2 increase in the gay population. (Courtesy of the U.S. military, which dumped dishonorably discharged homosexuals there.) Derelicts have been tolerated, but the city lost control in stages, and now it’s destroying the place. Sad.

Walter Lantz
Walter Lantz
3 years ago

“Boudin has never renounced any part of his past”
Maybe because after his parents went to prison for the Brinks job he was raised by other founding members of the Weather Underground, Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohm who were his legal guardians.

Kathy Prendergast
Kathy Prendergast
3 years ago
Reply to  Walter Lantz

Bernardine Dohrn was a violent psychopath; she spoke approvingly about the Manson murders, referring to the victims – including the pregnant Sharon Tate, who was stabbed to death – as “pigs”.

Johannes Kreisler
Johannes Kreisler
3 years ago

Do they believe crime is merely a social construct?

It appears they do. Don’t forget many of these people believe that private property is sinful.

Kathy Prendergast
Kathy Prendergast
3 years ago

I don’t think they genuinely believe private property is “sinful”; they’re certainly not going to give up any of theirs, nor invite ten or tweinty ex-convicts to come and live in them.

Gk Exp
Gk Exp
3 years ago

As a used to be SF progressive, I can assure you that liberals in SF hated Asians long before Trump was around. This has been the case for decades. They won’t be the ones who actually comit the violence, but they aren’t really too concerned about it when it happens. I live in a part of the Sunset that is primarily Asian. Most of the seemingly nice Caucasians around me are staunch liberals and very outspoken about their anger towards racism, which is good. However, it has been very common for them to think we are the same when they smirk and talk about their disgust towards Asians. When I ask why, they don’t have a reason. When I point out that hating a group when you can’t provide a reason is racism, they never talk to me again, which is OK. I experianced the same thing where I worked. When I made the same point there, I was ostracized, including by two people with “coexist” bumper stickers. It’s common, I’ve seen lots of it. The method is generally the same: Be a proud anti racist, be unaware that your own hatered (that you hadn’t even noticed) of Asians is racism, but treat them very graciously to their face and then stab them in the back as soon as their back is turned. I don’t remember this for the 35 yrs I lived in LA – maybe it’s changed, but it’s been noticeable here in the bay area where I’ve lived and worked for another 30+ yrs. Common closet racists.

Kathy Prendergast
Kathy Prendergast
3 years ago

“Disturbed by a rise in anti-Asian attacks, which she attributes to the racially charged language deployed by Donald Trump during the pandemic…”
Need any more be said? The TDS-afflicted idiot probably also voted for the son of terrorists who is now her city’s district attorney. Now she’s gotten what she deserves.

G Harris
G Harris
3 years ago

Not to dismiss the nub of this piece which makes a valid point but, and I’m not trying to be facetious here, much like Portland Oregon, are more people moving toward SF or away ‘because of this’, and are house prices in the region going up or down?

G A
G A
3 years ago

Lol’d at the profiles of the two case studies. Total obliviousness.

Ed Morris
Ed Morris
3 years ago

Luckily for SF, the large Asian population is unlikely to be duped by the hollow ideology of the left for very long.

Last edited 3 years ago by Ed Morris
Wilmot Britt
Wilmot Britt
3 years ago

For the progressive goals of the Boudins (both of whom are white), Officer Waverly Brown, the first African-American police officer in Nyack, paid with his life.”
(Both of whom are white Jewish). There is a relevant distinction there, seeing as the Boudins likely care more about their Jewishness than some overarching theme of Whiteness. Many Leftist Jews see their historical entanglement with native Europeans (Germans, French, etc.) as one as the oppressed, which is part of the reason they pick up the social justice torches for Blacks–perceived allies in the broader struggle. Therefore, many don’t identify as White, despite appearing so.

Kathy Prendergast
Kathy Prendergast
3 years ago
Reply to  Wilmot Britt

They’re not religious Jews, though.

Robin Lambert
Robin Lambert
3 years ago

Looks like Bye bye..

myaglubpanny
myaglubpanny
3 years ago

BECAUSE it is all about BEHAVIOR, CONDUCT, CHARACTER. NOTHING is about race–to suggest so is a fallacy. There are many other races who have acculturated to the melting pot that is America, but those who have not–are causing the problems.

JP Edwards
JP Edwards
3 years ago

And the ongoing problem with human faeces littering the streets as the liberal policies seem to have driven up the numbers of drug addicts and homeless.
https://youtu.be/ld6qYJe4pRs

Steven Campbell
Steven Campbell
2 years ago

The local Chinatown activist seems to think that the released prisoners are all Trump supporters just trying to go after Asians because of what he said about China. From such great thinking are cities destroyed.

Cynthia Neville
Cynthia Neville
3 years ago

Wish you wrote more.

N Millington
N Millington
3 years ago

By the stats its still no worse than Dallas.

Kathy Prendergast
Kathy Prendergast
3 years ago
Reply to  N Millington

In terms of crime rate, or just quality of life in general?

N Millington
N Millington
3 years ago

Crime rate is comparable. Quality of life self reported vastly superior I believe.

mark taha
mark taha
3 years ago

The guy’s a jerk but America does imprison too many for too long. No victim,no crime.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  mark taha

America imprisons too many criminals? Which ones would you like not to imprison?

Kathy Prendergast
Kathy Prendergast
3 years ago
Reply to  mark taha

“No victim, no crime”…Does that include theft?