San Francisco Green Party District Attorney Candidate Questionnaire 2022
Due Date: Saturday, Sep 3
Candidate Name: Joe Alioto Veronese
Phone Number: 415 434-8700
Web site: joeforda.com
Name of Campaign Manager: William Berry
Signed voluntary spending limit: Not Applicable
Major Endorsements: San Francisco Building and Construction Trade Unions, Local 38, and Local 261. I am proud to have a broad base
of labor support.
Who did you endorse for Mayor in 2019 (all 3 choices, if applicable)?
Angela Alioto. 100%. San Francisco made a huge mistake by not electing
1) Who else have you endorsed in other contests (this year or next)?
2) What do you think of the Death Penalty?
The death penalty is a product of a broken criminal justice system. It
hasn't been proven to be a deterrent and has disproportionately
affected people of color. No one has been executed in California for
18 years, and that is a good record for the state. I support Governor
Newsom's moratorium on executions, imposed in 2019. This year Newsom
has announced that California's death row - the largest death row in
the US - will be dismantled and converted for rehabilitation purposes.
I am a strong supporter of rehabilitation. As a California Criminal
Justice (CCCJ) Commissioner, appointed by the California Senate, I
served two Governors for over seven years as the paying agent. I
directed millions of federal funds toward criminal justice programs
throughout the state. I supported the redirection of funds away from
criminal marijuana enforcement. I redirected millions away from
incarceration and toward rehabilitation and re-entry programs.
3) How would you support the work of the Innocence Commission?
Fully. When innocent people are convicted, it is the paramount
miscarriage of justice. Wrongful convictions are not only profoundly
devastating to the convict and their families, but they are also
costly to the taxpayers and ultimately deny justice to the victim of
the crime. As a law student at USF, I was involved and inspired by the
Racial Justice Clinic and learned a great deal about the basics of
criminal justice reform precepts through that group's activism.
I will ensure that both the Innocence Commission and the
Post-Conviction Unit with the Public Defender's office and the San
Francisco Human rights commission are fully funded..
4) Under what circumstances, if any, would you request cash bail?
Cash bail is inherently discriminatory and needs to be reformed
through legislation that I will vigorously pursue.
5) Under what circumstances, if any, would you try a juvenile offender
as an adult?
Charging children as adults is an extraordinary measure that must take
into account the circumstances of the crime. In some circumstances, it
may even be appropriate to hold their parents and guardians
responsible at some level. Children often need rehabilitation; too
many are addicted at a young age. Our criminal justice system is the
wrong venue to make a permanent change in the lives of these
impressionable individuals. The long-range goal must be to get
addicted people into rehabilitation programs and into stable
lives. Our commitment must be to education, and the role free City
College and apprenticeship programs play in our city become more
obvious to me every day. I am grateful for the years I spent on the
board of the Omega Boy's Club with its focus on education for our
Perhaps the best of Chesa Boudin's reforms were in the area of
juvenile justice. Expanding diversionary programs before charges are
filed through services like the Community Assessment and Resource
Center, which connects children aged 11-17 to appropriate,
individualized services, has proven to prevent recidivism. It keeps
kids out of the system at a fraction of the cost of incarceration. The
restorative justice program - Make It Right, and USF's Unaccompanied
Children Assistance Program (UCAP) for undocumented youth have served
to keep many young people out of the prison pipeline. Using informal
probation to give children a second chance and other alternatives to
routinely charging young people keeps a ``strike'' off a record that
follows children for the rest of their lives. A ``strike'' or
court-ordered restitution will likely prevent a rehabilitated detainee
from obtaining a student loan, renting an apartment, etc. This status
locks the young offender out of potential growth for the rest of their
6) We understand the District Attorney's office has a limited budget
and staff. How would you address the current backlog of open criminal
cases in San Francisco?
I would pursue state and federal funding for critical programs. I
would also pursue joint task forces with state and federal agencies.
The Mayor's recent mass arrests of non-violent offenders and DA
Jenkins' re-negotiating plea-bargained offenses are a waste of
valuable resources. The influx of non-violent offenders contributes to
the overcrowding of our jails during a time of COVID-19, endangering
themselves and other detained individuals who are awaiting the
disposition of their cases. They also contribute to the logjam in our
court system. Many critical trials, already delayed due to the
pandemic, will go beyond the statute of limitations and result in
dismissal. Renegotiating plea bargains will, in many cases, undermine
ongoing drug treatment progress and result in deportations. Diverting
police resources to minor crimes leaves neighborhoods vulnerable to
7) How should the Sheriff's Office address the extreme staffing
I am a strong believer that sheriff's officers are overqualified to be
providing building security in city and state buildings. They should
be used to supplement police forces and work on re-entry and
rehabilitation programs for people coming out of incarceration. If we
expand their scope, then we can also justify the expansion of their
budget. The Sheriff's Office staffing is at a crisis point, fielding
the increased number of participants due to bail reform and
pandemic-related electronic monitoring for pretrial and sentenced
individuals as alternatives to incarceration had overwhelmed the
department. The number of electronic monitoring participants who
violated the terms of their release Increased by 2,382% from
2014-2017. This, in itself, should have been a red flag for the
The Controller's Audit of the Sheriff's staffing problems, released in
2019, suggested 19 reforms to improve staffing problems. I would
verify with the Sheriff that the Controller's recommendations had been
implemented, but it's clear to me that the department can't operate
within the current budget, and emergency measures need to be imposed.
If we can make the job more attractive to applicants, we will solve
the problem of staffing shortages.
8) Would you prosecute the possession and/or sale of more than 5 grams
of fentanyl as a misdemeanor or a felony?
On day one of my administration, I will send a powerful signal that
San Francisco will not tolerate violent crimes or fentanyl dealers. A
few weeks ago, the Medical Examiner reported that, in the first nine
months of 2022, due mostly to fentanyl, there were 41 overdose deaths
in SF. This drug is killing people, and we need to stop it in its
tracks. It calls for a joining federal, state and federal taskforce.
Drug use and dealing are routinely used by national and international
drug cartels to distribute drugs, oppress people of color and get them
caught up in the criminal justice system. We need to break that
cycle. We need to aggressively pursue the cartels and disincentivize
members of our community from entering into this cycle. We need to
address root causes through counseling, rehabilitation,
apprenticeship, and job placement - it is more effective than
incarceration because young first-time offenders, often as a result of
dysfunctional families, economic hardship, and self-medication, turn
to crime in desperation. Second-time offenders need more serious
consequences. They need to be dealt with on a case-by-case basis,
9) How would you use community justice courts?
Community Justice Courts are a Social service alternative to our
clogged criminal courts, providing outpatient substance abuse
treatment, mental health programs, support groups, counseling, career
development and job training. They are very effective for non-violent,
first-time offenders with violations where the focus on primary
causes, root causes, such as poverty or abusive homes, can be
life-changing. It can be lifesaving. The record of CJC for reducing
recidivism is only 20%, which suggests that further follow-up is
needed. That entails funding, and I will advocate for full funding for
the fulfillment of the mission of CJC.
10) What do you think of closing 850 Bryant?
It's a terrible building, all of it. Tear it down. We need new
infrastructure is we will thrive in a 21st century criminal justice
11) What do you think of SF closing our Juvenile Hall?
It has been over three years since the Supervisors voted to close the
Juvenile Justice Center (previously known as the Youth Guidance Center
- YGC) in favor of ``community-based alternatives to detention, and
provide a rehabilitative, non-institutional place or places of
detention, in locations approved by the Court.'' While we wait for the
courts to approve locations, Juvenile Hall remains operative at a cost
of $279,000 annually per detainee. The Juvenile Justice Center was
rebuilt in 2007 at a cost of $70 million. Unfortunately, its approach
to juvenile justice was not similarly refurbished. Each juvenile
criminal case should be considered on its merits.
The restorative justice program - Make It Right, and USF's
Unaccompanied Children Assistance Program (UCAP) for undocumented
youth have served to keep many young people out of the prison
12) What do you think of current police staffing levels?
A confirmed failure of the Mayor's Office.
13) Do you believe body cameras are working to prevent police
misconduct in San Francisco:
I believe they help, but there is no substitute for adequate police
14) How would you address local government corruption?
I will thoroughly investigate political corruption. At the time of the
recall of District Attorney Chesa Boudin, there were several active
criminal investigations involving the Mayor's office. Since the
Mayor's appointment of interim District Attorney Jenkins, it has been
reported that the political corruption unit has been disbanded. I
would make it a priority to reinstate the political corruption unit
disbanded by Interim DA Jenkins. I would work with federal officials
in ongoing investigations.
15) How would you enforce laws regulating powerful local tech
companies such as Airbnb, Uber, Lyft and Doordash:
As a civil rights attorney for more than 21 years, I have taken my
activism to the courtrooms of both state and federal courthouses
around the country. My career has been devoted to serving employees
who have been discriminated against and treated unfairly and
protecting whistleblowers within government and corporations. When
confronted by a bully, I do not vacillate based on size; after all, I
take inspiration from my mother, Angela Alioto. She took on the giant
tobacco industry with anti-smoking legislation that was the first in
the nation - despite an onslaught of threats and intimidation from the
industry and major politicians. She taught me to fight for people, to
lend my time to the service of others, and to fight for what's right
despite the opponent's size. That is where I get my values.
16) Please state how you intend to serve victims of crime, be they
property crime victims or the families of murder victims.
Victims have been considered collateral damage for too long. The DA's
job is to make the victim the central factor in every crime. Hate
crimes will be the highest priority in my office. The recent rise in
violent crimes against Asians in San Francisco is evidence of racial
hatred. I will treat attacks as hate crimes when it is appropriate. I
have been proving racial animus for 20 years in my civil rights cases.
Interim DA Jenkins doesn't have the skillset or the confidence in her
own office to charge these crimes. I will send a message that we won't
tolerate violent crimes against our Asian community. In spite of her
words to the contrary, she has sent the message that she will be soft
on these crimes. The same applies to religion, sexual orientation, or
other protected characteristics of the victim.
17) What do you think of the concept of restorative justice? What
specific plans do you have to implement your ideas?
It is a life-long pursuit. I have devoted my career to the concept and
will fight for funding to make the Mayor and Board of Supervisors put
the funds behind a comprehensive plan of reform of the criminal
justice system that emphasizes restorative justice.
18) What standards do you support for police use of force? Are there
any "less-lethal" weapons that you support arming the police with:
I have first-hand experience on the officer-involved shooting
investigative team as a criminal investigator during District Attorney
Hallinan's tenure. As an attorney, I have sued police departments for
this behavior. As a police commissioner, I aggressively pursued the
discipline and termination of law enforcement brutality. It is
critical that the DA has the resources to conduct these investigations
independent of the police department. There is an inherent conflict of
interest in the current system that must be fixed. Non-conflicted
resources will allow timely investigations without any perceived or
inherent bias. This will give the public confidence that they are
being managed appropriately.
19) DA Gascon had a policy of only charging cases that he thought he'd
easily win. What standard will you apply?
This is indicative of a breakdown of the DA's main objective to keep
The pursuit of justice is not always a winning policy, but I believe
it is the job of the District District Attorney. As DA, Gascon failed
to file criminal charges in as many as 1,000 domestic violence cases
that involved physical assault in his first year as District Attorney
Adding insult to injury, his reply to Sunshine requests, without fail,
was to deny having any information. As an early supporter of Sunshine,
I would like to see the DA act in full cooperation with Sunshine
requests and engage in a more transparent process when it comes to the
choices the DA makes on a daily basis, especially regarding which
cases to prosecute. Exceptions must, of course, be made to protect
witnesses as well as the accused and to protect enforcement actions.
Your positions (at the time) on selected
current and past Propositions(skip any for which you didn't live or vote
in SF, or didn't take a position at the time)?
+ - :
[ ] [x ] [ ] June 2022 Prop A (General Bond)
[ X ] [ ] [ ] June 2022 Prop C (Recall Reform)
[ X ] [ ] [ ] June 2022 Prop H (Boudin Recall)
[ ] [ x ] [ ] Nov 2020 Prop G (16-17 y.o. voting, local elections)
[ ] [ x ] [ ] Nov 2020 Prop I (Real Estate Transfer Tax)
[ x ] [ ] [ ] June 2018 Prop F (Eviction Defense)
[ x [ ] [ ] June 2018 Prop H (Tasers for SFPD)
[ ] [ ] [ ] Nov 2016 Prop D (Vacancy appointments)
[ ] [ x unconstitutional ] [ ] Nov 2016 Prop N (Non-citizen voting, school board)
[ x- alternatives needed ] [ ] [ ] Nov 2016 Prop Q (Prohibiting tents on public sidewalks)
[ x ] [ ] [ ] Nov 2016 Prop 62 (Ending Death Penalty)
Due Date: Sat, Sep 3, 11:59 pm.
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