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David OnekDavid Onek

My name is David Onek and I am running for District Attorney to make San Francisco the safest and fairest city in the country. I have spent the last twenty years working to reform our criminal justice system, which is grindingly slow, terribly costly and routinely unfair to both victims and the accused.

I know it will take an outsider who understands the system but is not a captive of its culture to make the changes we need.

A Brown University graduate, I began my career at Walden House Adolescent Facility, helping to keep young people in school and out of the criminal justice system. I then worked at the National Council on Crime and Delinquency, where I helped write the blueprint for the Clinton Justice Department on alternatives to incarceration for juvenile offenders.

After graduating from Stanford Law School and passing the bar in 1999, I received a Skadden Fellowship to work at Legal Services for Children, where I provided free legal services to low-income youth. I then worked for James Bell at the W. Haywood Burns Institute, focusing on reducing racial disparities in the juvenile justice system.

I next served in the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice, working with law enforcement agencies and community-based organizations to implement nationally-recognized criminal justice reforms. In this capacity I championed San Francisco’s “zone strategy,” which helped dramatically reduce homicides. I was later appointed to the San Francisco Police Commission, where I fought for modern upgrades such as CompStat. 

I brought this all together at UC Berkeley’s Boalt Law School as the Founding Executive Director of the Berkeley Center for Criminal Justice, where I worked to bring law enforcement and community together to build collaboration around pragmatic criminal justice reforms.

I have consistently and unequivocally stated that if elected I will not seek the death penalty under any circumstances. I have looked at the data – and the data guide my decision to focus our time and resources on things that actually make us safer.

I’ve earned the endorsement of over 2,000 supporters, including Berkeley Law Dean Christopher Edley, Jr.; Golden Gate Law Dean Drucilla Ramey; State Bar President Jon Streeter; former BASF Presidents Jim Brosnahan and Peter Keane; the San Francisco Democratic Party; the California Police Chiefs Association; SEIU Local 1021; the San Francisco League of Conservation Voters; United Educators of San Francisco; the Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club; Sheriff Michael Hennessey; Assemblymember Tom Ammiano; former Police Chiefs Heather Fong and Tony Ribera; Supervisors John Avalos, Carmen Chu, and Eric Mar; Board of Education members Sandra Lee Fewer, Kim-Shree Maufas, Hydra Mendoza, Rachel Norton, Jill Wynns, and Norman Yee; and over thirty current and former members of the San Francisco Police Department.

Our criminal justice system has nearly bankrupted the state while failing to keep communities safe. Fixing this system won’t be easy. I’ve spent my entire career studying, shaping and implementing criminal justice reform, and I would appreciate your vote.

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