San Francisco Voters Signal Pivot Away From Progressive Policies

( – Voters in famously liberal San Francisco indicated on March 5 that they might be moving away from progressive policies as they voted to expand police powers, reduce restrictions on real estate development, and require drug screening for welfare recipients. The next day, the San Francisco Chronicle declared “Progressivism is Out” on its front page.

The paper reported that voters returned moderates to the Democratic County Central Committee, which was packed with progressives after elections just two years ago.

Even before the Black Lives Matter riots of 2020, calls to defund the police were common in the Californian city, but feelings appear to be changing as voters passed Measure E, which permits law enforcement to use drones and increase surveillance. This passed with a 60% majority. Measure C, which makes it easier for companies to convert commercial real estate, passed by 54%, and Measure D, which applies ethics requirements to city employees, passed by 88%.

The results indicate a growing reluctance by San Francisco to continue its progressive path. In February, residents voted to recall three school board members for failing to address the needs of children during the pandemic, and Mayor London Breed said the recall signified that San Francisco wants to get back to basics and focus on “a well-run school system above all else.”

The transition away from the far left became apparent in 2022 when radical District Attorney Chesa Boudin was recalled with a 60% vote. Boudin campaigned on a promise of criminal justice reform and said he would not prosecute “quality of life” crimes such as loitering or vagrancy. He was also the first prosecutor in the United States to eliminate cash bail, saying it discriminated against the poor.

Voters recalled DA Boudin following a rise in crime, including an increase in shoplifting and looting sprees. Similarly, in Los Angeles, liberal DA and George Soros donee George Gascón faced a recall last year, but this fell through due to a lack of support in July.

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