The year 2022 may go down as one of the most transformative years in San Francisco’s history. After firing three leftist school board members with an overwhelming majority in a recall election in February, Asian Americans in San Francisco, fed up with rising violent crimes in the city, have become the driving force to recall the city’s woke District Attorney Chesa Boudin on June 7.
Boudin was elected district attorney of San Francisco in November 2019. According to a New York Post profile, Boudin’s parents, David Gilbert and Kathy Boudin, were “members of the domestic-terror group Weather Underground.” They were involved in the infamous 1981 Brink’s robbery case, in which two police and one guard were murdered. Boudin’s parents were arrested and served lengthy jail time.
Only 14 months old at the time of his parents’ arrest, Boudin was reportedly raised by leaders of the Weather Underground. Not surprisingly, Boudin’s political allegiance is on the far left. According to The New York Post, Boudin “served as a translator for late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez,” and his campaign for DA of San Francisco won the support of socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders, D-Vt. During his campaign, Boudin promised to reduce incarceration rates, end cash bail, and focus more on police misconduct and racial bias.
The 2019 race to become DA of San Francisco was tight, and votes from Asian Americans reportedly were crucial to Boudin’s eventual victory. Many of his Asian supporters are experiencing buyer’s remorse two years later, mainly due to violent crimes against Asians having increased more than 560 percent in 2021 compared to 2020.
Reports of Asians being pushed, kicked, robbed, or even murdered when walking out of a bank, strolling down the street, or sleeping at home at night have made many feel unsafe. Asian-owned businesses in Chinatown have been struggling with frequent robbery and vandalism. Often, these heinous crimes were committed by repeat offenders whom Boudin set free.
Repeat Offenders Kill Again After Release
Hanako Abe’s tragic death was a perfect example. On last New Year’s Eve in downtown San Francisco, 27-year-old Abe and 60-year-old Elizabeth Platt were killed by Troy McAlister, who was trying to get away after committing a robbery when he hit and killed both women. San Francisco-based writer Susan Reynolds found out that McAlister has a 25-year criminal record. Yet Boudin brokered a deal and let McAlister go on parole in March 2020.
Reynolds’ research shows that since being paroled, McAlister “had been arrested five times for crimes, including burglary, possession of burglary tools, vehicle theft, possession of the stolen property, possession of narcotics for sale, possession of suspected methamphetamine, possession of drug paraphernalia, and, of course, parole violations.” But thanks to Boudin’s soft-on-crime approach, McAlister “served a combined 11 days in jail” for those five arrests.
Believing their daughter’s tragic death was preventable, Abe’s parents filed a lawsuit against San Francisco and Boudin. Abe’s mother said in an interview that “San Francisco needs to change so that Hanako’s death is not wasted … I don’t understand why criminals are being protected in San Francisco. Inhumane but progressive? Is anyone responsible for Hanako’s death?”
Sadly, according to a Twitter thread from the Recall Chesa Boudin campaign, Hanako was only one of many victims killed by career criminals Boudin set free. It seems that Boudin is more sympathetic to the perpetrators who committed those monstrous crimes than the victims of the crime.
The family of 84-year-old Vicha Ratanapkadee, who was violently pushed and killed by Antoine Watson in January 2021, was outraged after Boudin excused Watson as having “some sort of temper tantrum” when he committed the shocking crime. Boudin so far has refused to either retract his words or offer any public apology to Ratanapkadee’s family.
Robber’s 15th Robbery
Besides rising violent crimes, San Francisco residents are sick and tired of widespread drug problems and property thefts. During the last Christmas shopping season, the open smash-and-grab robberies of luxury stores in downtown San Francisco shocked the nation. Small businesses have been victims of such out-of-control robberies under Boudin’s watch all too often.
Even as Boudin is fighting to keep his job, he continues to be lenient on these career criminals. Early this week, local ABC news reported that Nathan Picco, a serial burglar who “had been convicted of 15 burglaries and theft-related felonies from 2002 and 2019,” has seen most of his charges dismissed by Boudin’s office.
In a statement, Boudin’s office explained that “the plea deal’s agreed-upon sentence was that Mr. Picco receive credit for the days he spent on jail on this case, take part in a residential treatment program, and be placed on two years’ probation.” Of course, Boudin’s lenience has only emboldened Picco to commit burglary against seven businesses in eight months last year, a clear violation of both the law and his probation agreement.
But according to Boudin’s office, Picco “will be issued stay-away orders, orders for restitution for all the burglaries, and be placed on electronic monitoring once he is placed in the [residential treatment] program.” Only “if he fails to comply with any of the terms of his release, Picco faces up to five years and eight months in county jail.” In other words, the DA’s office will continue to treat career criminals such as Picco with kid gloves till he does something really, really bad next time. Property owners be damned.
Boudin Least Popular with Asians
Polling suggests Boudin is unlikely to keep his job because most of San Francisco’s liberal residents support his recall, and Asian voters are especially unhappy with Boudin’s job performance. The latest San Francisco Standard Voter Poll shows that 67 percent of Asian voters support the recall, compared to “52% of Hispanic voters, 51% of white voters, and 34% of Black voters.”
Garry Tan, a San Francisco-based venture capitalist and son of Chinese immigrants who supported the school board recall, is now backing the campaign to recall Boudin. Tan told me he is concerned about “the future of SF and the entire community and economy.” He didn’t believe Boudin “is doing his best to protect people and ensure those who commit violent crimes are held accountable for victimizing the poor, the disadvantaged and the general public.”
In a Twitter thread, Kit Lam, an immigrant from Hong Kong, listed the rising crimes, drug overdose crisis, and homeless problems as reasons for Boudin’s recall. The safety issue hit close to home for Lam. He told me his working-class neighbors were victims of property theft. But Boudin’s office refused to prosecute the thief. They were Boudin’s supporters two years ago. But they are ready to see Boudin go in June. Lam said, “We need to recall him [Boudin] now because the public has NO confidence in the DA office.”
Most other Asian voters seem to share Tan and Lam’s concerns, and are holding Boudin accountable for the city’s crime surge and deterioration of its quality of life.
Asian voters’ activism was crucial for the landslide victory of the school board recall election in February, and the success has motivated many Asian voters to become more politically active. Today, Lam relies on skills he honed during the earlier recall to win support for the recall Boudin campaign. He has been busy going on Chinese radio shows, and calling and texting people he knows to urge them to vote yes on Proposition H (the ballot measure to recall Boudin).
Through both the school board recall campaign and the DA recall campaign, San Francisco’s Asian voters have demonstrated that they will hold Democrats accountable for destructive policies. Through their participation in the democratic process, Asian Americans have become the driving force for bringing positive change to their beloved city. Even more impressive is that they are succeeding in the most leftist city in America.
This article has been corrected since publication.