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Guest Opinion: Independence will protect vulnerable communities

by Nancy Tung

San Francisco district attorney candidate Nancy Tung. Photo: Rick Gerharter
San Francisco district attorney candidate Nancy Tung. Photo: Rick Gerharter  

Editor's note: The Bay Area Reporter asked each of the four candidates for district attorney to write about why LGBTQ voters should choose them in the November election. This week, we feature Suzy Loftus and Nancy Tung. For pieces by Leif Dautch and Chesa Boudin go to http://www.ebar.com

We see around us every day that what's happening on our streets isn't working. San Francisco leads the nation in property crimes, and despite being one of the most progressive cities in the country, we still experience gun violence, assaults, and hate crimes affecting our most vulnerable communities.

As an 18-year prosecutor, with 16 years in San Francisco, I've tried misdemeanors, violent felonies, and white collar crimes. I've safeguarded domestic violence victims and protected children. I've held people accountable for public corruption and police misconduct.

I believe our city's top prosecutor should make it her number one priority to protect victims — and that includes victims of hate crimes. San Francisco has seen a 17% rise in hate crimes and over 25% of all hate crimes are against members of the LGBT community. LGBT youth are more likely to experience sexual and dating violence than their peers, yet we know that these crimes are significantly underreported or unheard.

I remember working side-by-side with my friend and colleague, Jessie McGrath, on the hardest case of our careers. She also happened to be transitioning. We met on a joint SF-LA prosecution of Uber for consumer fraud, and I was witness to her resilience and strength on a case that required us to give everything we had professionally and personally.

McGrath is a phenomenal attorney and a wonderful person who had the courage to tell our team, a year into working together, that we may have noticed some changes, and that she would fully transition to being Jessie the next month. I am proud that McGrath is my friend, and we won that case against Uber, resulting in $25 million for California consumers.

Trans rights are human rights. Law enforcement has a critical role to play for the trans community, including vigorously prosecuting crime against transgender individuals, protecting transgender sex workers who have been victims of crime from prosecution, and providing culturally-sensitive victim services for the trans community.

My concept of community-centered justice puts the community at the heart of everything we do. A one-size-fits-all approach doesn't work in a city as diverse as San Francisco, and I will fight for the LGBT community the same way I have as a prosecutor my entire career:

- Ensure that LGBT victims feel safe and empowered to come forward and be heard — a criminal justice system that fails any one victim is failing our community.

- Prosecute hate crimes to the fullest extent of the law. We must be vigilant and firm in our commitment to equality and personal safety.

- Recruit and retain LGBT prosecutors and staff. The D.A.'s office should reflect the diversity of San Francisco, especially when it comes to historically victimized communities.

As your district attorney, public safety and victims will be front and center. I am the daughter of immigrants, a wife, a mom, a gun violence prevention advocate, and a career public prosecutor. I am the independent and experienced district attorney San Francisco needs, and I will be a champion for all victims.

Nancy Tung is a candidate for San Francisco district attorney. For more information, visit https://www.nancytung2019.com/

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