November’s San Francisco District Attorney election will now definitely be a barnburner, as former police commissioner and fierce SFPD critic John Hamasaki files to run against Brooke Jenkins.
Tuesday night’s bombshell revelations that San Francisco District Attorney Brooke Jenkins was paid $100,000 by recall Chesa Boudin PAC while claiming she had only been a “volunteer” seemed like a real black eye for her campaign. Come election season, the “Brooke Jenkins Lied!” attack ad mailers would practically print themselves.
But there was a silver lining for Jenkins. The news broke just two business days before the filing deadline to run against her in November. Surely no credible opponent could put together a campaign bid on such a short, two-day timeline, right?
BREAKING: Former Police Commissioner John Hamasaki announces he's running for SFDA, positioning himself as the progressive voter's alternative to Brooke Jenkins.— Megan Cassidy (@meganrcassidy) August 11, 2022
"I think people are really losing losing faith pretty quickly in the new DA," he told me.https://t.co/ch2XEoIoLA
Guess again. The Chronicle reports that fierce Jenkins critic John Hamasaki has filed papers to run for District Attorney in the November 8, 2022 election. Hamasaki was a member of the civilian San Francisco Police Commission from 2018 to 2022, and currently works in private practice as a criminal defense attorney.
Wow, Mayor Breed is refusing to comment on what she knew & when about Jenkins' taking money from republican donors while pretending to be a "volunteer" for the recall campaign.— John Hamasaki (@HamasakiLaw) August 11, 2022
“I think people are really losing faith pretty quickly in the new DA,” Hamasaki recently told the Chronicle’s Megan Cassady.
Hamasaki further said in his Chronicle comments, "A lot of us in the criminal justice system had hopes that the mayor would make a responsible and even moderate choice [for interim DA], and I think a lot of folks would have stood down. What we’ve seen instead is a mayor’s office basically running the district attorney’s office."
The SF Standard explains that Hamsaki’s candidacy is still not technically official. Hamasaki has filed a declaration of intent to solicit funds and a declaration of candidacy, and now has until 5 p.m. Friday to turn in a $5,886 filing fee and his nomination papers.
Jenkins, of course, has already declared her candidacy. Other opponents include former SF Police Commissioner and SF Fire Commissioner Joe Alioto Veronese (who is grandson of one-time Mayor Joe Alioto), plus Maurice Chenier and Austin Hills.
Uncomfortable truth: Taking a gun from one kid may as likely stop violence as end up in that kid getting killed. It may feel good to post this photo, but I've known too many kids who were killed for being in the wrong neighborhood (often their own) & unable to protect themselves. https://t.co/DOTsTpKeFo— John Hamasaki (@HamasakiLaw) March 2, 2021
Hamasaki is no stranger to controversy, in fact, he courts it on his very provocative Twitter persona. Mission Local reported Thursday that “In recent days, however, Hamasaki has scrubbed his Twitter posts back to February.” One that remains, though, is a post above that “Taking a gun from one kid may as likely stop violence as end up in that kid getting killed,” which led a few centrist SF supervisors to call for his resignation. But Hamasaki won a ton of respect among progressive for his vocal opposition to SFPD pulling out of an agreement allowing the DA’s office to investigate police use-of-force cases.
It’s only August, but let’s game out this November DA election. Neither Jenkins nor Hamsaki has run for office before, so both are new to that. And even though the recall of Boudin won by a 55%-45% margin, which would seem to give Jenkins a 10-point cushion, remember that this is a ranked-choice election. The 45% that opposed the recall could push Hamasaki ahead with second-place votes from Veronese voters.
Or they could even, paradoxically, push Veronese ahead with second-place votes from Hamasaki voters. Whatever the eventual case, we are now looking at a high-profile DA race that is again likely to draw national scrutiny and attention.
Images: (Left) SFGov, (Right) @BrookeJenkinsSF via Twitter