ACLU Strongly Opposes Mayor Breed’s Tilting of the Scales in the San Francisco DA Race

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SAN FRANCISCO — Today in an unforeseen move, Mayor London Breed appointed her favored candidate, Suzy Loftus, to be the interim San Francisco District Attorney following the premature resignation yesterday of DA George Gascón who is not seeking a third term. Gascón will leave his post on Oct. 18th, just weeks before what would have been the first open District Attorney race in San Francisco in 100 years. The historic nature of this race was already heightened because there are four candidates running on distinct platforms for this crucial position, at a critical time in California’s history. Those candidates are Chesa Boudin, Lief Dautch, Suzy Loftus, and Nancy Tung. Unfortunately, in what is expected to be a very tight race on Nov. 5th, Mayor London Breed has decided to tip the scales and undermine the democratic process.

The ACLU Foundation of Northern California strongly opposes this appointment for the political machination that it is, designed to give one candidate an unfair electoral advantage over others. We urge Mayor Breed to do the right thing and appoint someone to this interim post who is not running to be District Attorney and let the voters of San Francisco decide who will be their next District Attorney.

The ACLU of Northern California launched its Hey! Meet Your DA project in Fall 2017 to educate the public and communities about the critical role District Attorneys have played in creating and sustaining the massive problem of mass incarceration and deep racial disparities within the criminal legal system. Concurrently, the Meet Your DA project seeks to highlight the role that District Attorneys can play in ending mass criminalization and mass incarceration by exercising the structural and discretionary power they wield over the criminal legal system for justice.

Although District Attorneys are elected officials, research has shown that nearly 85% of DA races go uncontested, and when they are contested, incumbents win 95% of time.  One of the many reasons for this phenomenon are when Board of Supervisors (or Mayors in this case) appoint someone who is making a bid for the DA seat, they give that person incumbent advantage and undermine the democratic process. We have seen this happen time and again across many counties in California, from San Diego to Alameda County. Appointments like these are fundamentally undemocratic and favor candidates who have establishment support, as opposed to allowing the process to run its course and let voters decide in an even playing field.

The ACLU is non-partisan and does not endorse candidates.

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