David Campos
Campos on 19th Street between Folsom and Harrison streets during his tenure as supervisor. Photo by Lola M. Chavez

District Attorney Chesa Boudin has a new chief of staff: David Campos.  

Campos, currently the Deputy County Executive for the County of Santa Clara, will leave that position and begin as Boudin’s right-hand man Oct. 19.

Before working in Santa Clara County, Campos represented District 9, which includes the Mission District, on the Board of Supervisors, from 2009 to 2017. In an interview Tuesday, Campos characterized his eight-year tenure as “outside-the-box,” as he helped to create free Muni rides for youth and better legal representation for the city’s poorest. 

As the Mission’s supervisor, Campos was at the forefront of many large community battles as an influx of wealth and gentrification took hold of the Mission. He was also the chief sponsor of a law that prohibited youth probation officers from notifying immigration authorities before minors were convicted of crimes, strengthening San Francisco’s sanctuary city policy

“David’s lengthy record of successful advocacy for the most vulnerable, his ability to unite others around common goals, and his extensive legal experience make him perfectly suited for our office and for this important position,” Boudin said in a statement. “I am thrilled he is joining our team and am excited for all that we will accomplish as we push for a more just criminal legal system.”

Campos said that, since Boudin was elected last November, he has been following the District Attorney’s work and the two have kept in touch. “At some point the issue came up, whether I would want to do anything to help him,” Campos said. “He knows that I’ve always been interested in criminal justice reforms.” 

The city’s Mt. Rushmore of progressivism lined up for DA candidate Chesa Boudin. From left, Jane Kim, Sandra Lee Fewer, Hillary Ronen, David Campos, and John Avalos. Photo by Julian Mark.

Campos came to the United States from Guatemala at age 14 and settled in Los Angeles. Despite initially speaking no English as a child, Campos eventually made his way to Stanford University and Harvard Law School and became a lawyer. 

He began his law career in private practice at the firm Howard Rice, now Arnold & Porter, and then moved to the San Francisco City Attorney’s office, where he represented the San Francisco Unified School District and worked on the same floor as his then-colleagues Nathan Ballard, the Democratic strategist, and Kamala Harris, the U.S. Senator and Democratic vice presidential nominee.  

Campos also served on the Police Commission for three years, beginning in 2005. “During that time, he worked to reduce violence in the Mission and to promote community policing approaches,” according to the DA’s office. 

And in addition to bringing his passion for criminal justice reform, Campos said he will work on coalition-building and community engagement for the office. “What [Boudin] is looking for is someone who understands how local government works, not only in San Francisco but in Santa Clara,” Campos said. “To be successful as District Attorney you need to build coalitions and relationships. There has to be a deep understanding of community.” 

Campos will replace Cristine DeBerry, who recently departed the DA’s office to work for the Prosecutor’s Alliance, a lobbying entity formed by four “progressive prosecutors,” including Boudin and George Gascón, to further criminal justice legislation and candidates. DeBerry primarily served as Gascón’s chief of staff. 

“I’m very excited,” Campos said. Boudin is “a visionary leader that’s doing something that’s needed not just for the city but the whole country.”  

Julian Mark

Julian grew up in the East Bay and moved to San Francisco in 2014. Before joining Mission Local, he wrote for the East Bay Express, the SF Bay Guardian, and the San Francisco Business Times.

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14 Comments

  1. Campers,

    Chesa could not have done better.

    Two legal eagles from Oxford and Harvard.

    Boudin is in this for the long haul for him this is like the Warriors signing LeBron James.

    Campos will last longer than LeBron.

    lol

    Brilliant move on both of their parts.

    Go Niners!

    h.

  2. Pretty disturbing that we’re going to have a political party boss running our law enforcement agency. I was hoping Chesa would actually be a reformer but now it looks like he’s just part of the same political machine.

  3. I’m guessing that Santa Clara didn’t want him anymore, so he’s back in town to do more damage.

    And Campos is hardly “visionary” — delusional is more like it.

  4. Wow, this whole article reads like a press release. Question for Mission Local: Does David Campos have any actual experience as a criminal attorney? He’s never prosecuted a case, but has he even ever defended? Chesa had direct experience in the criminal system, albeit as a public defender. But it seems that Campos brings no required experience to this job.

    1. … but he has a “deep knowledge” of how govmint works – in SF *and* Santa Clara.

      Maybe the DA is gearing up to prosecute a bunch of govmint officials? Or else give those Democratics sanctuary.

      Or, maybe Chesa just like his bow-tie.

  5. “Build coalitions and relationships with the community.”

    Boudin did not pay his dues to the local progressives democrats. Similar to Mirksrimi, he was out there all alone.

    By hiring Campos, Boudin makes a peace offering to the corrupt progressive establishment that will probably be of help if a recall materializes.

    Will there be any additional costs demanded by “the community” of Boudin for the protection he’s just purchased?

    Since Campos has no experience managing an operation of this size and no criminal practice experience, he was clearly not hired on the merits.

  6. Blame it on progressive views again, if y’all whiners don’t like how S.F does things pack you’re stuff up and get lost.

    1. “Shoot the dogs and load up the wagons, it’s time to get the hell out of Dodge”

      …and load up the property and business taxes I pay as well. The Prog’s have lost their marbles.

  7. Campers,

    Old ladies in the Ozarks have ‘Quilting Bees’.

    My mom hosted em.

    SF cops have ‘Bash Upcoming Progressive Stars’ Bees.

    This is one.

    You’re hosting it.

    To any Progressives reading here, keep in mind.

    The cops are just trying to weaken any top Progressives with shallow crap attacks.

    Salomon?

    He just likes a fight.

    On private email exchanges a group on my site he was offered links to all of David’s accomplishments (management wise) in Santa Clara and he’s already forgotten they exist.

    But, it’s been 24 hours, so?

    Giants games getting more crucial daily.

    Like our country’s destiny politically and climatically.

    A song to tide you over from Warren Zevon …

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LbhYqV17CoQ

    Go Niners!

    h.

  8. Sad Sad Sad
    Campos failed in SF and was kicked down the peninsula… they couldn’t deal with his nonsense and Chesa who is quickly realizing he is over his head (and I will do everything in power to remove him and Rank Choice Voting from our city) brought in the desperate low hanging fruit to calm the few that respect Campos. I need things handled – crime and homelessness is rampant.

    Living in SF or any city is not a right is a privilege. Fix our city.

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