Alison Collins and her tweets
Board of Education member Alison Collins and her offending tweets. Photo courtesy of sfusd.edu

It was hard to imagine San Francisco politics becoming even more dysfunctional and toxic and petty and comically dramatized, but here we are. The mayor in 2021 is urging We the People to recall her 2018 appointee — so she can name more appointees. So, check that one off your list: That Rubicon has been crossed. 

The recalls of three Board of Education members have qualified for the ballot, as has the recall of District Attorney Chesa Boudin. On top of that, we’ll be voting an ungodly number of times in the next year: It’ll be four separate votes for David Chiu’s former Assembly seat alone.

So, these recall elections are going to occur in a dysfunctional and toxic and petty and comically dramatized context, with San Francisco’s overburdened voters overburdened in a manner even we may never have been overburdened before. 

As such, it’s hard to know what mindset voters will be in by the time the February, 2022, recall election of the school board rolls around, let alone the June, 2022, recall election for the DA. 

“We won an election, people,” Chesa Boudin told supporters on election night 2019. And, lo, he was right. Photo by Julian Mark.

Regardless, it’s extremely difficult to foresee School Board members Alison Collins, Gabriela López and (mayoral appointee) Faauuga Moliga keeping their posts. 

The Board of Education performed ineptly with regard to school reopening; it demonstrated a political tin ear in pushing through a misbegotten school renaming program and other peripheral endeavors while schools were closed and public school students were languishing in front of screens; it — rightly or wrongly — riled up an extremely motivated Asian American voter base by altering the Lowell admission policies; and, finally, Collins behaved like a comic book villain

She refused to apologize for tweets about Asians that, if not racist, definitely played into anti-Asian tropes, leading to nigh-unanimous calls for her resignation from a battalion of current and former San Francisco elected officials. Instead of resigning, she blasted her colleagues and the cash-strapped district with an $87 million lawsuit that was stupefying in its awfulness. 

The liberal and progressive city officials calling for Collins’ resignation predicted this day: She became the living French Laundry moment helping to enable this recall — and, if it succeeds, enabling Mayor London Breed to make three appointments and de facto control the School Board.

Now, it may or may not be politically wise for Breed to, essentially, assume responsibility for the School Board on the cusp of her own re-election campaign. The board’s role is actually rather circumscribed. There’s also a legion of underperforming district leaders, and you can’t recall them. So, anyone expecting a miraculous turnaround is likely in for a rude awakening. And then they go vote. 

So, voters hoping for school conditions to improve may not be charitably disposed toward Breed, even if the state does indeed take over the flailing district and the hands of Breed and other local officials are tied. But, again, here we are.

As for Boudin, within days of his assuming office in January, 2020, San Francisco elected officials were telling their disgruntled constituents that they only had to wait six months to begin signature-gathering for a recall; the emails were already circulating. 

“You give people the idea they can use their power and influence to overturn the result of a free and fair election — then that’s normalized. It’s social contagion. A political virus.”

Boudin’s position was precarious then, and it’s even more so now: That’s the nature of ranked-choice elections in which candidates like Boudin can triumph with 36 percent of first-place votes

So if June’s up-or-down recall is a referendum on Boudin, he will lose. It remains to be seen if he can convince voters to give a damn that VCs and shadowy conduits for big money are contributing heavily to this recall campaign (most of the money thus far backing the recall has come from Neighbors for a Better San Francisco, which has served as a repository for big donations from ultra-rich givers such as William Oberndorf and Steven Merrill). 

City politicos, meanwhile, expect double or triple the $1.6 million-odd dollars that’s already been raised to oust Boudin to flood in as June approaches; the symbolism of toppling a reform DA in “progressive” San Francisco would be rich. 

It would certainly help Boudin’s cause if he could articulate a vision in which San Franciscans needn’t trade safety to achieve justice. It’s hard to say he’s adequately done that yet. 

So that, in a nutshell, is what’s on tap. There are many months left to pore over the nuances of these individual races. But the larger question is, is this a one-off borne by the pandemic and the rise in anti-Asian hate crimes and other factors that, God willing, we won’t see again? Or is this a dress rehearsal for our new normal? 

Board President Gabriela López and Vice President Faauuga Moliga.

Joshua Spivak has been maintaining a blog focusing solely on recall elections since 2011. He is the author of “Recall Elections: From Alexander Hamilton to Gavin Newsom.” This is his time. 

But the statistics Spivak has been meticulously collecting for a decade don’t show what you’d think they’d show. Just as crime statistics in San Francisco don’t match the anecdotal accounts of “Assault on Precinct 13”-like behavior and the emotionally driven opprobrium that fueled the Boudin recall effort, the stats regarding recalls do not match the overarching feeling that recalls have crashed onto ballots nationwide. 

To wit, in California there were six recalls that reached the ballot in the year 2021. You probably remember Governor Newsom easily spurning a recall attempt after spending enough cash to buy a fighter jet and lucking into a troglodyte opponent who scared Democrats out of complacency. But you probably didn’t know that the majority of recall elections in California this year, four of them, took place in the Southern California industrial hamlet of Vernon, population 200 or so.  

Spivak notes that, between 2011 and 2020, there were 116 recalls on the ballot  in California, meaning the six in 2021 is actually below average.   

With regards to attempting recalls, particularly of school boards, yes, there has been an “explosion” of activity, Spivak says. But it has been an augmentation of the usual 50 to 70 yearly school board members targeted by attempted recalls to 200 and change in 2021. There are some 14,000 public school districts in the United States. “Recalls,” Spivak says, “are still unusual.” 

And, so far, they’ve been dubiously successful. While the pandemic has birthed an orgy of recall saber-rattling, only a single-digit percentage of these recalls actually made it to the ballot — fewer, total, than in recent years, when far fewer recall attempts were initiated. So far in 2021, only one public school board member in Colorado has been removed from office via recall. 

What’s different now is the more uniting similarities driving recalls. Most recalls are still driven by unique, and even persnickety, jurisdictional issues. But the pandemic introduced a more top-down rationale: Stuff like mask mandates, or lack thereof, became a driver. Spivak notes that some of the conservatives who were unable to gain traction with Covid-19-related school board recalls are now attempting to rally the troops with Critical Race Theory-type issues.

It remains to be seen if this will succeed in ousting school board members — plural — where masking and more salient issues failed. 

Year-by-year statistics, like these compiled by Ballotpedia, reveal an explosion of attempted recalls of school board members in 2021. But the number of recalls to successfully make the ballot is actually smaller than that in past years.

San Francisco, with its comparatively low bar to qualify a recall — and gaudy donation totals — was actually an outlier; all of the recalls actually qualified for the ballot here.

Is this a harbinger of things to come? Your humble narrator spoke with more than half a dozen political consultants and operatives who’ve done work on the local, state and federal level. Most of them did not necessarily foresee recalls becoming a go-to for any deep-pocketed power broker who wanted to undo a San Francisco election. 

If the attempt is too ham-handed and singularly donor-driven, voters won’t buy it. And, should recalls grow too prevalent, politicos predicted potential recall fatigue. 

But not every political observer felt this way. You can’t, after all, backtrack once you’ve crossed the Rubicon. And, once certain formalities are discarded, there’s no going back. 

In this city, and in this nation, even the most dubiously ethical political knee-cappers and rat-fuckers used to at least pay lip service to respecting the sanctity of an election. That clearly is no longer sacrosanct. 

“If you give people the idea they can use their power and influence to overturn the result of a free and fair election, then that’s normalized,” says one longtime city political player. “It’s social contagion. A political virus. Pouring millions into a recall and choosing your electorate like court shopping? This will end badly.” 

That remains to be seen. But it’s certainly beginning badly. 

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Joe was born in San Francisco, raised in the Bay Area, and attended U.C. Berkeley. He never left.

“Your humble narrator” was a writer and columnist for SF Weekly from 2007 to 2015, and a senior editor at San Francisco Magazine from 2015 to 2017. You may also have read his work in the Guardian (U.S. and U.K.); San Francisco Public Press; San Francisco Chronicle; San Francisco Examiner; Dallas Morning News; and elsewhere.

He resides in the Excelsior with his wife and three (!) kids, 4.3 miles from his birthplace and 5,474 from hers.

The Northern California branch of the Society of Professional Journalists named Eskenazi the 2019 Journalist of the Year.

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58 Comments

  1. The recalls of the School Board and District Attorney are very different things (even if they are at least partially driven by the same right-wing actors/disruptors).

    The School Board has done things that are both clear evidence of their incompetence, poor judgment, and stupidity. Their actions are well beyond “hey, I disagree with this rational, carefully considered decision”. It seems an absolute textbook example of appropriate recall (and if not, what would be?)

    The District Attorney is largely being targeted based on misrepresentation of his actions and responsibilities, rather than his actual performance. Some of this seems to be targeting his perceived liberal values and perspective, some of this seems to be trying to blame him for all crime in San Francisco.

    Many people criticizing the DA do not understand what he actually does, what the scope of his powers are, or where he has discretion.

    Regardless, the DA recall is not nearly as clearly justified as the School Board.

    But the right wing seems to have decided that endless recalls are their go-to in California, to waste our time and tax dollars on long-shot bids to at least churn our leadership, if not replace it with GOP ideologues.

    1. Can you recommend any data that demonstrates Chesa’s actual performance. I’ve emailed his office asking and never got a response. I’d rather not go the FOIA route if I can avoid it and I assume someplace there are.

      I am also wondering what the outcome was of the restorative just case with Dawyne Grayson was.

      1. There is a number of articles detailing crime rates, charging rates, conviction rates and I believe incarceration rates in the Chronicle. I can give you the Google search terms if you can’t find them.

    2. HAAAAAA, to commenter Ak. I don’t care who initiated the recalls but this dyed in the wool Dem supports both. The issues are about incompetence than political affiliation.

  2. The wheels come off quickly when you combine our one party political system with ranked choice that turn elections into a popularity/branding circus that has us see Boudin and other paperweight candidates appointed to positions with real world implications.

    1. Boudin wasn’t appointed.

      He was elected.

      206,122 people voted in Nov 2019, a 41.64% turnout. And 192,053 of them voted for DA.

      Boudin got 86,712 votes.

      In 2003, Kamala Harris who some accused of being a “paperweight candidate” got 137,111 votes.

      Mostly because of a competitive campaign for mayor (which unfortunately there wasn’t in 2019) 253,872 votes 54.46% turnout.

      Though Harris got more votes than Newsom (133,546 including quite a few Republican mail in votes – Matt got the most votes on election day but was behind in mail in for 119,329 total).

      There was a lot of critical coverage of Harris in the Chron and SF Weekly and a lot more crime (there were 70 murders in 2003, 88 in 2004, 96 in 2005) yet she not only wasn’t recalled, she was unopposed in 2007.

      There was a lot of talk in 2012 of recalling Ross Mirkarimi, but Andrea Shorter and others back then decided not to try. And he lost in 2015.

      Instead of a recall in Feb 2022, critics of the school board could’ve tried to defeat them in Nov 2022.

      Instead of our third recall in less than a year in June 2022, critics of Boudin could’ve tried to defeat him in Nov 2023.

      1. Elected, schmelected. Ahh, there’s nothing like semantics. But to hook into your point: Q: What has Kamala Harris ever done besides grand impressions in a court room? A: Put together a task force to chase down app developers that didn’t have their privacy policy posted in the app store following state law. Talk about achievements! /s

  3. What we’re seeing here is the right wing mobilized and rampaging, using recalls to go on the offensive, and with that energy, as organizing tools for future political efforts.

    After 20 years of gentrification, displacement and luxury condo towers packed with well heeled newcomers, SF politics has been right shifted as previous residents have been politically cleansed in favor of more conservative newcomers.

    The alleged grassroots community based nonprofits folded tent to enable these upzonings while supporting increasingly milquetoast electeds like Campos, Haney and Ronen who don’t rock the boat.

    As the Democrats prepare to crash and burn nationally on schedule (1994 after NAFTA, 2010 after the Individual Mandate) as they desperately ditch their campaign promises ($15/hr, public option, forgive student debt, paid leave), the right wing is where the political energy and power are.

    The Democrat party and its corrupt patronage operation are wholly unsuited to the moment. As the nonprofits were designed to defend the interests of power against popular demands by ensuring that grassroots organizing never happens, they are now constrained on everything else.

    We’d best ready ourselves for more right wing rampaging, that is only growing by building lists from these recalls, because there is nothing in the Democrat Party orbit that can come close to mobilizing people to defend what’s left of the democracy from the neo-fascists.

    Naming what is going on as being Trump right wing is of no use given the Democrats imperative to abandon their base and with it their credibility. Affirmative organizing on issues with popular support is the only way to begin to contest this.

  4. The idea that recalling Boudin is “overturning an election” is as ridiculous as the UN-democratic gimmick of “ranked choice elections.” Both need to be placed on the scrap heap of bad ideas. Boudin was never “voted for by San Franciscans,” he was the lucky beneficiary of a super low turnout election that exaggerated the clout of a passionate minority, and the insane “ranked choice voting.”

    Like Trump, Boudin was rejected by the majority of voters, only to take power anyway, based on anti-democratic flaws in elections (Electoral College, in Trump’s case.) Boudin actually came in THIRD. When “ranked choice” means democratically rejected candidates get installed into positions of power over people’s lives in San Francisco, we can only hope this won’t be the last recall. Ranked choice is a classic “money saving” gimmick that will end up wasting millions of taxpayer’s dollars in unnecessary elections (again with low turnouts, and unrepresentative results) while we can’t pay the few school teachers still willing to work in San Francisco a living wage.

  5. Joe Eskenazi continues to be one of the best reporters in SF based on his balanced and nuanced reporting devoid of speculation or hysteria. I think SF needs to have a serious conversation about recalls and what a waste of money and time they are, even if people don’t love certain elected officials, they need to wait for the next election. How can any official do their jobs if they are constantly fundraising and campaigning to fight recalls? How is it “democratic” to allow a constant string of low turnout elections to try to overturn duly elected officials?

    I know a lot of people with kids in the SFUSD who want to see the recall campaign for the BOE succeed and I sympathize with their concerns – clearly, focusing on renaming schools instead of actually figuring out how to educate kids during a pandemic was an atrocious lapse of judgment and arguably proved incompetence. However, this SF voter plans to vote “no” on the sole grounds that we need to not legitimize recalls because they are expensive wastes of time and energy. That money could be spent on actually educating children, or I don’t know, supportive housing for the homeless, or treatment beds for people suffering from substance use disorder.

    The DA recall is clearly the more offensive one – the sheer ignorance of a lot of people about what the DA actually does (hint: it’s not arresting people, that’s what cops are supposed to do, and it’s not solving homelessness and mental illness, that’s the job of other city governments) and what tools they have at their disposal (jail/prison which does not in fact solve any problems, it just warehouses and cages humans and when you treat people like animals, they don’t start acting more human). The problem is compounded by bad journalists (people who don’t have Joe’s integrity like Heather Knight for instance) who hype up 1 tragic case here or there to argue that mass caging of human beings is the solution to all our problems and because Chesa hasn’t ended all crime in SF, it’s his fault and he needs to be recalled at great cost to all of us taxpayers.

    1. Please reconsider your stance on the BOE recall. The students of this city do not just belong to their families, they belong to all of us.

      Returning to school was not the end result. 18 months away caused much more harm than perhaps you realize.

      It is going to take years to recover loss for our most vulnerable students, and our current BOE is not capable of finding approving funding for the resources that are necessary. We are mere steps away from a state takeover. We have unfilled teaching positions and teachers leaving mid-year. Our achievement gap is a national disgrace with no end in sight.

      I wish we could decouple any other recall with that of the BOE. I have known Collins for years and this is about so much more than her racists tweets. People were so caught up in the first Trump election, no one was looking very far down ballot, and our students suffered terribly.

    2. Please reconsider if only because otherwise Alison Collins will be picking the next chancellor, which will affect our kids for year. It is completely different from the DA. Applications are final just after the recall election, and what quality candidate is going to throw their hat into the ring without knowing if they have to answer to this crew? We need better leadership at SFUSD HQ and having this Board make the selection will not get us there. Remember, the current Superintendent only agreed to stay for an extra year after getting a contract that said they would behave and stop trying to get his people fired.

      1. Collins is most likely to be recalled, so she probably isn’t going to be helping select the next superintendent.

        But even if she isn’t recalled, she is one of seven school board members. She wouldn’t choose the superintendent.

        And whoever applies won’t know who will be elected to the school board in Nov 2022. And may not know if there will be a recall of any or all of the four other school board members.

        1. Commenter “IS” said they were going to vote to keep all three, and I was asking them not to, if only so they don’t have a say in the new Superintendent. Saying that Collins will be recalled kinda begs the question

  6. I’d consider ranked-choice voting a more democratic alternative to a run-off election with even fewer voters participating,practically a foregone conclusion. You want voters, you need mail-in ballots and/or a paid holiday but run-offs will never get time off.
    The only recall I’d support today is Feinstein, whose senile memories of bipartisan politics lead her to hug *?$%&* Lindsey Graham after his support of Amy Barrett for the Supreme Court.

  7. A recall is an election. It’s hard to get any more democratic than a straight up or down vote on whether to keep someone or fire them.

  8. It’s interesting the propaganda the Recall DA movement tries to pass off as factual.

    Boudin was actually first in every single round of voting, after all the precincts were counted on election day. I can’t like here but go look for yourself: after round 5 (when 100% of the votes were counted) he was ahead and he was ahead every single round after that. I am not sure of the people misrepresenting this believe their own propaganda or are just disingenuous, it is hard to say. Boudin got a majority of votes in the ranked choice voting. There is nothing nefarious about ranked choice voting, it just saves The City the cost of an extra election.

    The DA is doing the job he was sent to do. Violent crime is down and there are fewer people in jail. Covid has definitely muddied the waters, but he deserves the chance to try and implement his policies. The criminal justice system is pretty clearly biased against poor people and PoC nationwide. It is worthwhile to try something different.

    I think the author is wrong when he states that if the Recall is a an up or down vote on Boudin that he will lose. The Progressive machine is already mobilizing for him. He is endorsed by all the heavy hitters on the left. The Moderates will sit this one out. I talked to Scott Wiener about this and he told me that while he supported Suzy Loftus in the election, “Boudin is doing the job that San Francisco voters sent him to do” that “recalls should be reserved only for the most egregious situations” and that they “recall supporters are the worst San Franciscans.” I agree with all of these statements. I can share some of the policies of the recall leadership. They are mostly racist, classist and homophobic.

    So if moderates sit this one out, and I think they will and Progressives come to bat for Boudin what chance do they have? Will a groundswell of Conservatives come out of the woodwork to vote? Will the $2.5M of GOP money succeed in duping us? ” Neighbors for a Better San Francisco” dumped $3.5M into the 2020 elections and got nothing to show for it. They tried to smear Dean Preston and failed. I predict that they will fail again. I will certainly do my part to ensure that they don’t win here in liberal San Francisco.

      1. Google for “San Francisco election results 2019” and go the first choice.

        That is the San Francisco official elections website.

        Click on “RCV and Detailed Votes”

        You will see a number of preliminary reports. The City reports results as they come in on election night. The first one is just mailed in ballots and the next ones are as the votes from the various precincts as they come in. Generally, the furthest out districts and poorer districts report later than districts like The Marina.

        Click on Preliminary Report 4. That is the first result where 100% of the precincts have reported in. You can verify this by looking at the previous reports if you like.

        Then in the drop down menu, click on the PDF titled “Ranked-Choice Voting: District Attorney Short Report” and you will see that Chesa Boudin has 32.88%, while Suzy Loftus has 30.86%. If you are really bored or detail oriented like me, you can look at all of them after that. Boudin leads in all of them.

        If you click on the “Ranked-Choice Voting: District Attorney Detailed Report” you can see how the second and third votes break down. It is pointless to look at these except for the final one because that is the only one that matters.

        Do not hesitate to ask if you have any other questions. I am a super geek when it comes to data.

      2. >I voted once. How do you then get to “Round 5”?

        “I’d like a sandwich, and if they don’t have that a slice of pizza.”

        That is ranked choice in a nutshell. there is nothing nefarious there.

    1. “Boudin was actually first in every single round of voting, after all the precincts were counted on election day.” While technically correct, what you’re ignoring is that with 32.86% of the vote, that means he was “first” with a mere 40k votes. Nearly double that number have called for his recall

      1. If you gave me $2.5M ($3.5 if you include the first failed effort) I could get an initiative to outlaw ice cream on the ballot. It wouldn’t win though. And neither will this GOP led and funded for effort.

        They we’re paying $30 a signature, which might be a record in San Francisco.

    2. Ranked choice voting is not democratic and, based upon the returns in the 2019 DA race, a good case can be made that it’s racist. When there are only 4 candidates for an office there should not be ANY exhausted votes – IF voters understand the process. Most voters with Englich as their first language don’t understand the process.
      In round one Leif Dautch had 6,439 (out of 27,031) exhausted votes.
      More telling was round two where Nancy Tung, the first round winner in my neighborhood (Vis Valley & Portola) combined which is 60% Asian, had 15,981 exhausted votes.

      Transferred from Transferred to Ballots
      LEIF DAUTCH SUZY LOFTUS 6,501
      LEIF DAUTCH NANCY TUNG 9,277
      LEIF DAUTCH CHESA BOUDIN 4,745
      LEIF DAUTCH Exhausted 6,439
      LEIF DAUTCH Overvotes 69
      NANCY TUNG SUZY LOFTUS 17,364
      NANCY TUNG CHESA BOUDIN 13,162
      NANCY TUNG Exhausted 15,981
      NANCY TUNG Overvotes 123

  9. Ranked Choice Voting = the second (or third) (or fourth) best is put into office. The recall of the DA is a perfect example of the result we get by a “worse” choice winning by “fault”.

    1. rank choice voting is how we got stuck with Myrna Melgar
      that should be enough evidence to get rid of rank choice

  10. Regarding the increase in school board recalls, it’s worth noting school closures over the past year. I believe closures occurred for longer periods of time in more Democrat-leaning jurisdictions. These closures were not accompanied with support for working parents with the exception of the most needy in some locations. CRT and masks (or in SF murals and school names and admission policies) have a “culture war narrative” appeal, but the thing that negatively impacted and continue to negatively impact the day-to-day lives of children and parents was the school closures. Absent schools closures, I don’t think you get the recalls.

    1. This. I’m a parent in a neighboring district, and I lost my mind in February/March when I realized other districts were back in person and my district had no plan.

  11. Ranked choice and district elections have weakened San Francisco’s ability to govern. Nobody is representing the whole of San Francisco. Progressives are no better than conservatives who are elected by a few and never represent the many. PS, thanks Dan Hoyle for your remarks on rank choice. Can’t want to see you next show!

    1. I agree with “xina”, district elections have generally produced a lesser quality of candidate and the city has suffered on account of it.

  12. “It would certainly help Boudin’s cause if he could articulate a vision in which San Franciscans needn’t trade safety to achieve justice. It’s hard to say he’s adequately done that yet”

    Joe… violent crime is down. Stop it.

  13. As expected, an insightful and intelligent analysis piece from Eskenazi.

    I’ve found myself all over the place with these recall elections this year.

    As a San Francisco parent I am a pro-recall extremist when it comes to the school board. I have never been as enraged at a group of politicians as I was when this group of out-of-touch fools decided it was time to launch their idiotic school renaming project in the middle of a pandemic when they couldn’t figure out how to get the schools reopened or even competently run them online. The school board should have been removed and maybe permanently exiled from San Francisco a year ago, when it became clear that they weren’t going to be able to get anything at all done six months into the pandemic.

    And yet I am an anti-recall extremist when it comes to Chesa Boudin in whom I think I finally see some real hope for police reform, and for a future in which the prosecution and the police aren’t sharing an incestuous bed in every city in America.

    When Joe mentions the “uniting similarities driving recalls,” there is the irony of people like me who are very much on both sides of these recalls (and somewhere in the middle on the Newsom one, since I detest Newsom but of course voted against recalling him).

    And then there are the more important names who really are “uniting similarities,” people like David Sacks, Peter Thiel’s old buddy, Trumpist venture capitalists who funded all three of these recalls, Newsom, Boudin, and the School Board…

    1. CA public schools were not going to be reopening until teachers were vaxxed. It is not like there was much to prepare for while waiting for Pfizer, ModeRNA, J&J and the FDA to do their things.

      A good chunk of the recall energy comes from better off white families who wanted their socialist daycare centers back pronto to take their brats off of their hands.

      The downtime of the pandemic was probably the best time to waste on craven renamings of schools and desegregation of Lowell. The Ho v. SFUSD crowd along with opposition to Sunset affordable housing coalesces with the keep Lowell segregated people, pointing to an odious anti-Black affinity within too many conservative Chinese Americans.

      1. Marc, you don’t have kids, and because you thus have copious amounts of time on your hands you basically focus your blowhard energy on any news or blog comment site that hasn’t banned you and just keep spewing the nonsense to see what sticks.

        Not a whit of what you said there is true, but I invite you to go tell your local shop owner what you think about them desperately needing their kids in school last year and how they just wanted childcare for ‘their brats.’ The only thing odious about the BoE recall is your predictable tiresome commentary.

        1. You’re changing the subject from opening schools to me. That kind of ad hominem is what scoundrels do when they have something to hide.

          Sometimes, it takes someone who is at arm’s length from a controversy to see what drives it. In this case, half of parents wanted their socialist daycare back pronto to take their brats off of their hands, while the other half would never put their precious bundles of joy into harm’s way until kids were totally safe from risky infection to covid.

          In general, it was WFH white Karens who were demanding their socialist daycare, while parents who were expendable workers, mostly POC and lower income, who had more trepidation over returning to school, were more conservative.

          In typical Karen style, the white ladies dominated and insisted that their position was universally supported, and that they spoke for all parents.

          Not used to not getting what they wanted, the white lady Karens then proceeded to do the equivalent of “demanding to see the assistant regional manager of the school system,” in other words, filing a recall with the help of local libertarian tech billionaires.

          The upshot of this is after decades of being asked “isn’t anyone thinking of the children,” the Karens have blown it for all after demanding we ignore the needs of children, of teachers, and throw the kids back to school prior to widespread vaccination. Never again will such selfishness be tolerated.

          It was never all about the children. It was about the entitled parents.

      2. marcos wrote:

        “A good chunk of the recall energy comes from better off white families who wanted their socialist daycare centers back pronto to take their brats off of their hands.”

        This is nasty, untrue, and a racist comment. I’m ashamed for you, and for Mission Local for publishing it.

        1. Is todesgeliebtersays claiming that this is a case of “reverse racism” against white people?

          I was more concerned about the anti-Black racism of Ho v. SFUSD, opposition to affordable housing in the Sunset and anti-Black demands to keep Lowell segregated.

      3. Teachers in fact crashed the line and got COVID shots and then refused to go back to work.

        Private schools reopened in November, why did our kids have to wait until April?

      4. Such a ridiculous, racist and divisive comment, not unlike what we’ve been hearing from these embattled (and divisive) board members themselves. Disapproval from White parents, Black parents, Asian parents, Latino parents… there’s plenty to go around, and plenty of reasons for supporting the recall of these utterly incompetent and corrosive board members.

        And it’s such a fallacy to claim that it was all white & well-off parents that wanted to see schools open to take their kids off their hands. As someone as I’m sure you would classify as well-off and white, here was my experience: my wife and I were both able to continue our jobs from home while home with our kids. We didn’t miss a paycheck or a beat. Our kids had high speed internet and their own chromebooks. We all had private space in the house to focus on work/school. We absolutely wanted our kids back in school as its better for their social/emotional/educational development. But the experience itself to my wife and I – wouldn’t even register as a minor inconvenience.

        But that wasn’t the case, or the experience, for so many less well-off families. And that’s who the Board harmed the most – with their lack of a plan for reopening and their failure to do so when other public districts around the state were able to do so safely. The board claims to support these same folks through perforative, symbolic gestures — but they’ve never had a plan, and never proved capable of doing the truly hard work: safe reopening of schools, reducing the achievement gap still prevalent among these communities. Nothing. Just empty, ideologically-driven gestures important only to them. The behavior and the performance of Lopez and Collins is indefensible. They’ve gotta go.

  14. The recall campaign paid over a million dollars to gather those signatures.

    With enough money, almost anything can get on the ballot.

    And we don’t know the total valid signatures.

    BOE “randomly selected 4,174 signatures — 5% of the total submitted” to check.

    There also are more far right voters in San Francisco than many realize.

    Trump got 56,417 votes in San Francisco in 2020.

    47,193 voted to recall Newsom.

    1. Lemme get this straight, if one supports the recall of a neoliberal aristocrat conservative Democrat who has failed upwards at every step of his orchestrated political career, one is deemed right wing? All right then!

  15. I’m a mother and grandmother native San Franciscan. I’ve seen first-hand Board f Ed meetings over decades, and all of the boards have been problematic for one reason or another, all facing various challenges of the day. This board, confronted with the pandemic and the extreme reactions to the lockdown, has endured more than others. Against all odds, they made some great decisions and some not so great. I have listened to both/all sides. There’s an election next year in November, why spend the millions of dollars now to recall them? If we’re mad, lets vote them out. This little KQED piece helped me decide why I’ll be voting NO on the recall of all 3: https://omny.fm/shows/kqed-segmented-audio/the-latest-on-the-san-francisco-school-board-recal?fbclid=IwAR2d6kMGCRd3gEvODg95DeMnxsL8GPANVubFUoOxphaUDcl9HrvTdcuZH30

  16. Generally love your writing and reporting, but your comment about RCV strikes me as attempting to sow doubt about the democratic nature of RCV, or somehow delegitimizing him as duly elected by a majority of voters, which he was: “That’s the nature of ranked-choice elections in which candidates like Boudin can triumph with 36 percent of first-place votes.” In fact, Boudin got the most first-place votes of any candidate in his election so he would have won in a first-past-the-post voting system as well, and certainly it is much fairer than a runoff weeks later, where we’d have a different and less representative group of voters show up. I’m not sure the point you were trying to make.

    1. Sir or madam — 

      That’s not the point I’m trying to make. Any candidate who triumphs with less than 50 percent of first-place votes — which is par for the course with RCV — is at a disadvantage in a recall situation in which that candidate — and *only* that candidate — is being voted on in an up-or-down manner. That’s all.

      JE

      1. There are 520k registered voters in SF.
        450k voted last Nov.
        Two years ago, only 193k voted for DA.
        With RCV, Boudin had 86k votes and won narrowly.
        He has been highly vulnerable from the start and did not address this problem.

        1. 192k people voted for DA
          Chesa got 68k #1s, 22k #2s, 18k #3s and 19k #4s.
          So really, 128k people voted for Chesa in some rank- 67% of people who voted in the DA’s race approved of Chesa enough to mark him on their ballot. Democracy!
          To get these numbers, you have to look at the Cast Vote Record since the Dept of Elections results page doesn’t show who Loftus’ #2/#3/#4 votes would go to.

      2. It is not like any voting system is a magic bullet. Voting systems are all imperfect and choosing amongst them is a matter of picking and choosing trade-offs.

        What is clear is that IRV/RCV in SF did not set the stage for adoption in partisan races to open up the system from the duopoly as advertised 20 yr ago.

        RCV has resulted in a system where increasingly milquetoast elected incumbents are practically dislodgeable. RCV has not shown ideological vote transfer. All we’ve seen is higher levels of Chinese surname vote transfer and lesser levels of Latinx vote transfer.

        I preferred runoffs as they offered organizing opportunities before elections had been professionalized and privatized, diminishing the popular political project to uselessness.

  17. It’s a bit late for folks to be using excess city spending as a reason to be against the recall…no? I mean where was the outrage when we not only found out the city was spending 60K a year to let folks sleep in their own tents, but extended and expanded the program. Holding up fiscal responsibility in this town rings as true as Trump holding up a bible in Lafayette Square.

    I believe (hope) this recall is more of a referendum on the cities entire ideological political bent, then it is of just Boudin in particular. I for one am for the recall, as Boudin represents an ongoing system of failed policy, of which he is just the latest and perhaps most extreme, in a long list of progressive DA’s. New York just elected a moderate mayor, and in Seattle a whole slew of progressives lost to more moderate candidates, and with fingers crossed hopefully that is the direction San Francisco is heading in our future elections. Enough is enough, and the results of our choices are visible every single day. We can do better.

    Mind you, San Francisco will never (well never is too long a window to make a prediction), or certainly in the foreseeable future, ever be a bastion of Republican right wing thinking. However, we can certainly start making more pragmatic and realistic public policy. Yes there are an awful lot of constituents who live in this ideological bubble, and they are organized and have well funded political organizations that, I believe, have outsized influence over our public policy. I am not suggesting we become a die hard, law and order, lock them away for life kind of city. Intelligent reform is most welcome, and the prisons and our schools are where we can probably do the most good in making fundamental change. But even a small tick back to more pragmatic and common sense public policy would be a big step in the right direction. So in that context, a recall of Boudin would be a welcome change. In politics, perception is reality, and SF sadly has become the poster child for being soft on crime.

    1. Boudin campaigned on a policy of diversion instead of incarceration and focusing on violent crime instead of quality of life crimes.

      As Scott Wiener said “he is doing the job the voters of San Francisco sent him to do.”

      Incarceration is down and violent crime is down. None of the law and order lock em’ up types propaganda can change that. I frankly don’t care what Fox News viewers think of San Francisco. Why do you?

      They are envious of our beauty and economic success and fearful of our liberalism, social tolerance and diversity. The capitalist owners of the news media are terrified that we might end up being an example.

      1. I think many people who originally voted against Boudin realized (and others are finally now realizing), that ignoring quality-of-life crimes–while it sounds nice in the idealistic progressive speeches–really does have a discernable negative effect on… well, quality of life.

        When all the following directly affect an SF citizen on a regular basis, without any care, punishment for the perpetrators, or solutions from the DA and other powers that be, the citizens will eventually conclude that enough is enough: regular car break-ins, package thefts, massive numbers of ongoing retail thefts (leading to the closure of your favorite convenient businesses), massive ongoing encampments blocking sidewalks (along with the excrement and other detritus), bike thefts, garage break-ins, etc.

    2. I think “Art Bodner” has just outlined the most astute understanding of the current recall phenomenon in San Francisco — one that is unique to the City in this particular moment in time.

      The BOE has simply failed with misplaced priorities and general incompetence — whereas, I don’t feel that most are in fundamental disagreement with Boudin’s general approach, but rather they feel he appears feckless, is a poor communicator and not up to the task of actually effectively managing the DA’s office.

      He’s spot on.

  18. Thanks for this thoughtful piece! As a voter, I am averse to recall mania. Also, I have yet to hear a single valid reason to throw Chesa Boudin out of office. Malfeasance? No. Gross negligence? No. Etc., etc. This just seems a case of sore losers looking for a do-over in which they can spend all they like.

    As to the school board members facing a recall election, I will take it case by case and consider what damage they may have done or do in the future. Our children do indeed deserve the best. Let’s see some good candidates with relevant experience to be sure they do. Mayoral appointments are generally not the way to go.

  19. My husband worked to open a charter school in the bay area meant to serve a population that had been underserved by all account. While awaiting a SFUSD board meeting on the school, Alison attended the meeting and was very vocal about her opposition to the school. There was an organized group of protesters outside and inside the building who were ready to speak out against it’s opening. I waited inside while my husband rushed around to get ready for the meeting. I was with my sons, aged 3 and 1. She asked if I was my husband’s wife. I replied in the affirmative. She began questions my husband’s intentions. She got aggressive and stepped closer and closer to me while I had one kid in a baby wrap on my body. I eventually had to ask that she step away because I was simply supporting my husband and was there with my children. I was floored when we read that she was voted into the board. I will never forget her lack of civility and professionalism and her indifference to my children and the impact she had on them in that moment.b

  20. As a black gay woman, a civil rights activist, a liberal Democrat, a San Francisco native, and the mother of two children, I can assure the author and readers that those of us who volunteered with our neighbors to gather signatures for all 4 of these recalls are not motivated by ‘recall madness’. We are motivated by the cruelty, racism, corruption, incompetence, and destructiveness of these 4 officials. Boudin is recognized as the most incompetent DA in history. Under his watch, San Francisco has the WORST property crime rate in the nation. All 3 of these board members voted to erase George Washington and Abraham Lincoln from history. That alone OBVIOUSLY disqualifies them from any public office, especially in relation to education. Please vote YES on all 3 recalls.

  21. You forgt the worst thing: the murals!

    A wonderful work of radical political art that pinheads fuond offensive because of one slaughtered indigenous and some Black people working.

    The cst t cver this up: at least a million, including EIR report!

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