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Thursday, January 27, 2022

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News + PoliticsRecall Boudin ad features paid campaign staffer—and nobody else

Recall Boudin ad features paid campaign staffer—and nobody else

Flier says "leading Democrats" are unhappy with the DA—but the only person they present makes $16,000 a month working for the recall campaign.


The campaign to recall District Attorney Chesa Boudin has a new mailer out, featuring Andrea Shorter. She’s on the front of the four-page flier, and again in a full-page photo on the inside. She is described as a “victim’s rights advocate.”

She is the only person mentioned in the mailer, although it talks about “leading San Francisco Democrats.”

Nowhere in the mailer does it mention that Shorter is a paid recall staffer, earning $16,000 a month, according to Ethics Commission filings.

The missing info: Shorter is a paid recall campaign staffer.

In other words: A person who has been hired (at a high salary) to advocate for the recall is also featured as the one and only “leading Democrat” on a recall mailer.

That’s a bit of a problem, since state law requires that campaign ads featuring paid spokespeople acknowledge that they are getting paid:

An advertisement paid for by a committee described in paragraph (1) of subdivision (a) shall include a disclosure statement stating “(spokesperson’s name) is being paid by this campaign or its donors” in highly visible font shown continuously if the advertisement consists of printed or televised material, or spoken in a clearly audible format if the advertisement is a radio broadcast or telephonic message.  If the advertisement is a television or video advertisement, the statement shall be shown continuously, except when the disclosure statement required by Section 84504.1 is being shown.

The ad doesn’t mention that the San Francisco Democratic Party opposes the recall. In fact, if you go to the recall website, there are very few “leading Democrats” anywhere, except for Mary Jung, a former party chair who is a real-estate lobbyist and it also directly involved as treasurer of the campaign.

On one of the pages of the mailer states that Boudin “dismissed 40 percent of cases” in 2020, compared to the Alameda County district attorney, who only dismissed 11 percent.

The source: The Marina Times, which has been after Boudin from the start. The Times says Boudin tried only 23 cases (out of about 6,300) while Alameda County tried more than 2,300.

But as Joe Eskenazi at Mission Local noted, the Alameda County numbers in the Marina Times were just wrong:

The Alameda County DA’s office is confused by the claim it tried 2,300 cases in 2020. That would require empaneling 9+ juries a day, during a pandemic. ADA’s Office tells me that last year it had 26 felony jury trials and 22 misdemeanor jury trial verdicts. Total: 48.

The lack of factual accuracy is common in political mailers, although hardly anyone in the news media bothers to fact check them.

But there’s a larger message here:

If the best that the recall campaign can do is use a paid staffer as their spokesperson on a mailer, it suggests the recall folks don’t have a very deep field of people who are credible to local voters.

Oh, and let’s not forget that the mailer was paid for with money from William Obendorf, who is a big supporter of Trump’s allies.

48 Hills welcomes comments in the form of letters to the editor, which you can submit here. We also invite you to join the conversation on our FacebookTwitter, and Instagram

Tim Redmond
Tim Redmond has been a political and investigative reporter in San Francisco for more than 30 years. He spent much of that time as executive editor of the Bay Guardian. He is the founder of 48hills.
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