For months now, voters in San Francisco and Los Angeles have voiced their concerns that daily life in their cities appears to be spiraling out of control. Residents in San Francisco have been contending with a rise in burglaries and car thefts, as well an alarming spate of hate crimes directed against Asian Americans. Los Angeles residents have witnessed a sharp increase in violent crime, while city leaders have been grappling with a homelessness crisis that has led to the proliferation of tents and trash across parks, sidewalks and public spaces, while exposing an untreated mental health emergency on their streets.
On Tuesday, San Francisco voters registered their disquiet by recalling District Attorney Chesa Boudin amid concern that he was advancing progressive policies as a national criminal justice reform advocate at the cost of their safety. It was a move that signaled just how far the political pendulum has swung since the 2020 election cycle when many Democratic voters cited police accountability and criminal justice overhauls among their top concerns – a debate that reached a crescendo following the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
On the same night, voters in the overwhelmingly progressive city of Los Angeles signaled their unease with Democrats’ handling of crime and homelessness by elevating billionaire shopping mall magnate Rick Caruso, a former Republican who became a Democrat earlier this year, into a runoff race to replace term-limited Mayor Eric Garcetti.