District 9 supervisory race 2024.

Welcome back to our “Meet the candidates” series, in which District 9 supervisorial hopefuls respond to a question in 100 words or fewer.

This week’s question concerns an element of Prop. E, which will be on the March ballot. Currently, a police officer can chase someone in a vehicle “when the officer suspects the person committed a violent felony, or when the officer believes the person poses an immediate risk to public safety.” Prop. E would allow pursuits “when an officer has reasonable suspicion that a person committed, is committing or is likely to commit a felony or violent misdemeanor.”

Thus, our week six question: Do you support the use of car chases in response to violent misdemeanors?

A cartoon of District 9 supervisorial candidate Julian Bermudez.

Julian Bermudez

No, I do not. This is real life and not a movie. People die when anyone, regardless of reason, drives at high speeds. A quick Google search of “car chase deaths”, and you’ll be greeted with the fact that almost half of the deaths that happen in a car chase have been innocent bystanders.

I am aiming to be a major advocate for street safety and I am part of the movement to reach one year with no traffic deaths. The ends do not justify the means, that’s common sense thinking. Vote No On Prop E.

Supervisory candidate H. Brown.

h brown

Let’s see.

100 words on why I don’t want SFPD to have any more power at doing anything.

They are incompetent and poorly led, and have lots of racist members.

I watch every minute of these Max Carter-Oberstone/Cindy Elias meetings.

Counting the airport, they have 2,300 members. 10 are assigned a regular foot patrol.

[Editor’s note: As of Feb. 2024, the police department reports having some 1,865 sworn officers — although not all of these are “full duty”.]

We need an elected Police Chief as Michael Hennessey has suggested for decades.

Elect a powerful leader with a platform reflecting SF Values.

It will be a nice change.

A cartoon of District 9 supervisorial candidate Trevor Chandler.

Trevor Chandler

Yes. This is a common-sense update to our law that is in line with jurisdictions in surrounding counties. By having an accountable, responsive and fully staffed police department, we can ensure San Franciscans don’t have a target placed on their back by those who come to San Francisco to commit crimes knowing they cannot be pursued.

I have heard from too many District 9 residents who have been the victims of violent crime; they and all San Franciscans deserve to be fully protected by their police department.

A cartoon of District 9 supervisor candidate Jackie Fielder.

Jackie Fielder

SFPD already has authority to chase a car when they believe someone “poses an immediate risk to public safety.” And still, we see headlines of SFPD car crashes practically every other month.

Last June was the infamous crash into Lucca Ravioli on Valencia that sent an adult and child to the hospital. Three months later, there was a fatal accident in Portola. We can create safe neighborhoods without putting pedestrians, cyclists, and drivers at risk. I support proven strategies to make our neighborhoods safe, and accountability for people who cause harm to others, but Prop. E isn’t one of them.

A cartoon of District 9 supervisorial candidate Jaime Gutierrez.

Jaime Gutierrez

Public safety has to be all-inclusive — meaning that preserving life should always be considered. This includes all parties involved.

It is difficult to say at face value that it is prudent to get into a high-speed chase anytime a crime is committed, whether it is a felony or misdemeanor. The police should attempt to always be sure that the public at large is protected. This cannot be handled with a knee-jerk reaction. It needs further insight. This being the case, this issue needs to be looked at closely. I support justice. Pragmatism should be the watchword here.

A cartoon of supervisorial candidate Roberto Hernandez.

Roberto Hernandez

At this time of community need, it’s unfortunate that public safety has become politicized to the point that there are multiple ballot measures on the March ballot regarding policing. For me, this question is not about misdemeanors or felonies, but what’s happening under the circumstances. If there is violence involved, we are counting on police to intervene, including the potential for a police officer to safely engage in a car chase.

But we shouldn’t need ballot measures to achieve that policy position. We need a comprehensive safety plan for our City and can achieve that through collaborative policy discussions.

A cartoon of District 9 supervisorial candidate Michael Petrelis.

Michael Petrelis

The SFPD car-chase policy should be flexible, given the situation. But generally, on our tight urban streets, I’m opposed to high-speed chases.

As seen in the Sept. video making news, I obtained the Castro’s Lookout bar robbers getaway car escaping capture, even though an SFPD cop was parked behind their vehicle and didn’t attempt blocking them.

I strongly oppose Prop E, because it is bad community policing to create SFPD policies at the ballot box, when it’s better to do that at police commission meetings after much public discussion at City Hall and in the community.

A cartoon of supervisorial candidate Stephen Torres.

Stephen Torres

Last year, a car barreled through the wall of the former Lucca on Valencia following a high speed chase. In December, another chase resulted in a lockdown order at Flynn Elementary. Fifty-seven police chases since 2018 have ended in a car crash, including 23 where someone was injured.

When I talk to District 9 voters, they want a police department that is responsive to street-level safety needs and crimes that harm small businesses and residents. Changing the current car chase policy, which even SFPD says is sufficient, to further enable more reckless pursuits is the wrong solution to the wrong problem.

Candidates are ordered alphabetically. Answers may be lightly edited for formatting, spelling, and grammar. If you have questions for the candidates, please let us know at will@missionlocal.com.

Read the rest of the series here. Illustrations for the series by Neil Ballard.

You can register to vote via the sf.gov website.

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DATA REPORTER. Will was born in the UK and studied English at Oxford University. After a few years in publishing, he absconded to the USA where he studied data journalism in New York. Will has strong views on healthcare, the environment, and the Oxford comma.

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  1. As someone who knows a mother and child who lost their husband/father to a car being chased by SFPD, I am saddened by people’s reactionary decisions on this issue and the division that is being manufactured. Can we please stop accepting SFPDs excuses for not doing their job?

    My friends life was worth more than the stolen Honda that ran him down while he loaded his work truck one morning while his child and wife watched him. A proud man who came to S.F. with a dream, living in a van and a couple years later had a family and owned a house as a result of his hard work and carpentry skills.

    And the reality is, crime was higher than today in those times. Stop licking the spoon that feeds you reactionary garbage.

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  2. Why does Trevor Chandler care if our laws are in line with the laws of Canada and Mexico? Did he really say “other countries” or is that a typo? And if a typo, is it Chandler’s or mission locals?

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  3. Campers,

    My comments were related to the Police Commission 2-7-24 meeting.

    Bout to burst my brain studying Prop E and rewatching the Cop Commission rewinds.


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  4. “Reasonable suspicion” was made famous in the Terry v. Ohio decision and has subsequently been one of the most abused legal precedents in law enforcement history.

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    1. RLE,

      In a related matter the SF Police Commission just gave a thumb’s up to their Agenda Item 8 on tonight’s calendar.

      That’s the one limiting cop abuse during ‘Pretext Stops’ which has been flooding your airwaves if you’re a politico.

      Most interesting thing for me was watching the 2024 version of Commissioner Debra Walker.

      Joe has to remember when she was a thorn under Joe O’Donoghue’s saddle for years when she was a BOS appointee to the Building Commission.

      Who appointed her first, could she go all the way back to Ammiano ?

      Anyway, now she’s swung the other way with her unquestioned loyalty to our present Mayor to the point of leading a walkout in the cop commission to create a loss of quorom just for the hell of it as best I could figure.

      Tonight when she couldn’t get the Commission to vote to go into Closed Session yet again I wondered if she was going to fake a heart attack.

      The moment passed as did the DGO banning Pretextural Stops.

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  5. Campers,

    The meat of Carter-Oberstone’s exchanges with Scott and Walsh occur between …

    2:10:00 and 2:40:00

    That commission really is the ‘Max Carter-Oberstone Show’ and worth watching.

    As a break from watching the Israelie Genocide in Gaza.

    Or, recovering from Niners Super Bowl loss.


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  6. Thank you for asking this! I know now who I will vote for. It is very clear.

    Fixing the city means we have to stop letting criminals get away with impunity. I really do thank you for making my choice this clear.

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