Gascón just up and quit his San Francisco District Attorney position, naming chief of staff Cristine Soto DeBerry interim DA. But in less than 12 hours, Mayor London Breed put her thumb on the scales and installed November candidate Suzy Loftus to the job instead.
It was big enough news, and frankly a little fishy-seeming, when late yesterday afternoon District Attorney Gascón suddenly resigned from his job a mere 35 days before the election to replace him (Per the Chronicle, he’s rumored to be pursuing the same job in Los Angeles). But the magnitude of the news, and the overall fishiness of this situation, blew up even bigger late Friday morning, as the Examiner reports that Mayor London Breed pushed his interim replacement out and installed DA candidate Suzy Loftus until the election.
How well did the announcement go over? The Chronicle reports that a scheduled outdoor announcement in Portsmouth Square “was instead moved indoors to Far East Cafe as the crowd shouted over each other through bullhorns.”
Gascón’s resignation takes effect October 18, so Loftus is not the District Attorney just yet. But Gascón seems in a rush to bail from San Francisco and establish residency in Los Angeles, in time for a December 6 filing deadline for that city’s March 3 DA primary race. He told the Chronicle in June that was strongly considering running for that job. After he announced his resignation yesterday, the San Francisco Police Officers Association, which hates Gascón’s guts, left him the lovely parting gift seen below.
Our statement on the resignation of DA Gascon. pic.twitter.com/16WXWiFINo— San Francisco POA (@SanFranciscoPOA) October 4, 2019
But Breed saw an opportunity, overriding Gascón’s interim DA Cristine Soto DeBerry and elevating her preferred DA candidate Suzy Loftus to the position, possibly giving Loftus an edge over progressive rival Chesa Boudin (who actually leads her in fundraising), and other candidates Nancy Tung and Leif Dautch.
“We can’t afford to have an absence of leadership in the DA’s Office because victims of crime need to be represented and people who commit crimes in our city need to be held accountable,” Breed said Thursday, to an audience of absolutely no one buying this rationale.
Photo from @J_LaRosa415. Cops are telling people it’s a “private event” but there’s no tickets and they’re letting people in based on looking them up and down. What an embarrassment for San Francisco today pic.twitter.com/QUuEGhTYPx— Butt Praxis (@buttpraxis) October 4, 2019
This would have been the first San Francisco district attorney race in literally 100 years without an incumbent DA running. Now Loftus gets the perks of being the incumbent, though at this late date, it’s unlikely she’ll appear as such on the paper ballot.
George Gascón’s tenure will probably be remembered more for his wanderlust than for his actual accomplishments. He was recruited from Arizona to be San Francisco police chief in 2009, but grabbed the district attorney position not even two years later. Now he hopes to go upwardly mobile again, and we’re sure that the squeaky clean Los Angeles Police Department will not trouble him with the same pesky officer-involved shootings, racist cop text message scandals, or police raids of journalists’ homes that marked his time here.