At the outset of the race for District Attorney, candidate Leif Dautch reached out to the San Francisco League of Conservation Voters to ask whether we’d be taking a position in this race and proposed his concept of an Environmental Justice Unit within the District Attorney’s office. Because bringing environmental justice issues to the forefront of San Francisco politics and policymaking is a fundamental tenet of our mission, we took Mr. Dautch up on his offer, and invited all DA candidates to participate in our endorsement process.
We received thoughtful responses to our questionnaire on how and why candidates Boudin, Dautch, and Loftus would bring environmental justice to the DA’s office. We also held engaging in-person interviews with these 3 candidates to discuss how realistic it would be to create an Environmental Justice Unit (it is feasible with commitment and funding), the types of remedies the Unit would pursue (e.g., fines and court-ordered environmental remediation), and avenues for collaboration with the City Attorney’s office and local environmental justice groups (e.g., providing investigation support and joint restorative justice-focused remedies).
Each candidate we talked with demonstrated dedication to elevating and addressing environmental justice issues in San Francisco. SFLCV ultimately voted to endorse Chesa Boudin as first choice, Leif Dautch as second choice, and Suzy Loftus as third choice in this ranked-choice election. Mr. Boudin is well qualified to steward our city’s most vulnerable communities and bring those responsible for environmental contamination to justice, without exacerbating incarceration rates. Mr. Dautch has managerial experience and is committed to environmental and restorative justice. Ms. Loftus has a track record of ensuring San Francisco’s police and justice departments protect those in our community most in need, without submitting to a false choice of “safety” vs “justice.”
Adding these perspectives to the District Attorney’s office will help move San Francisco towards a more just society where marginalized communities have meaningful recourse and an additional voice fighting against the pollution and contamination that has disproportionately impacted them for far too long.