Boring San Francisco DA candidates debate format benefited Brooke Jenkins

Lee Heidhues 10.18.2022

The just concluded final District Attorney debate at the University of San Francisco was boring and infuriating.

Most of all It’s a sad commentary on the State of Political Play in San Francisco.

I kept thinking there is only one reason I am watching this so called debate. An event which never should have taken place.

Because of the Coup d’etat and political lynching of Progressive DA Chesa Boudin, I was forced to spend a wasted evening looking at the woman who was responsible for this charade at USF.

I kept looking for Chesa.

The moderator, Retired California Supreme Court Justice Ming Chin, was more fixated on keeping the audience under control rather than encouraging a genuine debate.

Justice Chin could have served up a more spicy encounter. It was a missed opportunity.

The nearly two hour debate sponsored by The League of Women Voters offered up no fireworks and no surprises because the format, pre-submitted questions, did not allow for any substantive discussion.

Instead, the four candidates answered a series of canned generally non-controversial questions. It would have been more constructive had the candidates been able to grill each other about their positions on the administration of Justice.

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Interim DA Brooke Jenkins – having deposed Chesa Boudin – sworn into office. 7.8.2022

John Hamasaki got off the best line of the night when he gave credit to San Francisco Chronicle columnist Heather Knight for getting interim DA Brooke Jenkins political career started. A truism which got some laughs and boos from the crowd.

Had a robust fiery back and forth occurred I would have come away more informed. The person who most benefited from this Weak format was interim DA Brooke Jenkins. She was able to skate through the evening with a series of canned photo op style responses.

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DA candidate John Hamasaki

Actually all the candidates got off easy on what should have been a tough evening. Had it been a real debate….

  • Interim DA Brooke Jenkins would have been forced to talk about her 153K “volunteer” payment received from wealthy donors after she resigned DA Chesa Boudin’s office and went to work for his Recall. A payment she only divulged after the Recall election in June. A payment being investigated by the San Francisco Ethics Commission.
  • Interim DA Brooke Jenkins would have been forced to talk about her prosecutorial transgressions which the State Bar is now investigating.
  • Joe Veronese would have been forced to talk about his proposal that a ballot measure be put before the voters which would enable the DA to select the Chief of Police.
  • John Hamasaki would have been forced to talk about his proposal that Minors be allowed to carry firearms in certain situations.

The fourth candidate Maurice Chenier is a political unknown, who presented himself as the most strident tough on crime potential DA. To his credit, he did not disguise his beliefs.

A USF Law School graduate, Justice Chin made the only funny comment of the evening. He talked about his part time work as an “RA” while going through law school and quipped, “I had a lot of bad meals in the cafeteria. I’m glad they didn’t serve dinner tonight.”

Top photo – District Attorney Chesa Boudin on the night of the political coup d’etat which ousted him from office – 6.7.2022