The POA wants to lock more people up — and thinks its chosen candidates will, too

Political operative for police union says Trauss, Johnson will support position that "more people should go to jail."

If you think the solution to the problems of drugs and car break-ins is to make more arrests, prosecute more cases, and lock more people in jail, the SF Police Officers Association agrees – and has three supervisorial candidates for you.

Sonja Trauss says she doesn’t want to see more people in jail — but the POA thinks she does.

We reported last week that the POA had poured $100K into Districts 4 and 6.

Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez at the Ex picked up on this Oct. 18, and he was able to do something I was not: Get the political consultant for the POA, Gary Delagnes, on the phone. The interview is remarkable, if not stunning:

As for the POA’s endorsement and funding of D6 candidates Johnson and Trauss, Delagnes told me Wednesday, “they were both very, very adamant that more people needed to go to jail, that more people needed to be prosecuted.” 

Joe also pushed Delagnes about the union’s endorsement of Jessica Ho:

And when I asked why Delagnes, my fellow San Francisco native who is also a Saint Ignatius College Preparatory graduate, would ever in his right mind back Ho, a candidate who has lived in San Francisco since (get ready for your jaw to drop) March 2018, he relented, a bit.

“This decision was made,” he said, and “some people were angry there wasn’t more conversation.”

That’s a glowing endorsement, isn’t it?

So I asked Trauss and Johnson how they feel about the POA’s role in D6. Johnson didn’t respond. Trauss asked me to quote her fully and accurately; here’s her response:

“I am looking forward to getting elected and introducing an affordable housing zoning overlay, to legalize affordable housing all over the city: https://www.sonja2018.org/legalize_affordable_housing_everywhere. The lack of affordable and senior housing in San Francisco underlies almost all of our other problems. 

Candidates for elected office put together broad coalitions in the course of their campaigns. Many progressives, like Matt Haney, Gordon Mar, Jane Kim and Mark Leno are endorsed by the Deputy Sheriffs Association, and many moderates are endorsed by the Police Officers Association. Both of these organizations have interfered with important criminal justice reforms, in addition, the employees these organizations represent are valuable members of our city community and their cooperation will be essential to productively addressing some of our hardest problems.”

I asked Trauss about the comments from Delagnes. Again, her response in full:

This quote is so absurd, it’s obvious that it can’t be what Gary said. No one thinks that “more people need to go to jail”. Joe does a disservice to San Francisco by cherry picking people’s words and making them into caricatures. 

Actually, the POA does think more people need to go to jail. So do “anti-crime” groups like this one.

But more important: I have known Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez for years. He used to work with me at the Bay Guardian. He’s a careful reporter; I have never seen him misquote anyone or “cherry pick” words. He told me that his quotes from Delagnes are accurate, and I believe him.

I’m not going to argue that Trauss wants to see more people locked up; she says that’s not her position. But the POA clearly thinks she and Johnson and Jessica Ho would be more likely to support the cops on criminal justice issues. And is willing to back up that position with $100,000 of its members money.