Politics as Usual

Someone hire this man

Chesa Boudin’s career transition
It’s a great market for job seekers. PHOTO: Clem Onojeghuo/Unsplash

Hi, Chesa,

So great to hear from you after all these years. I know things have been a bit bumpy in your neck of the woods lately, so I totally understand your request for a letter of reference. Keep your options open, I always say. So I was happy to oblige, though I admit it took me a while to figure out what to write. After all, what could I say about your work performance that would be believable? But after a lot of prayer and quite a bit of 2015 Riesling, I was able to write the letter. Here it is; feel free to use it in June. 

Your pal,



Dear Hiring Manager:

It is my pleasure to strongly recommend Chesa Boudin for the position you are looking to fill. Though I don’t know the exact details of this position, I’m sure it is something that can use Chesa’s unique combination of skills. Maybe something in a public defender’s office, driving Uber, or doing magic tricks.

During our many years of acquaintance, Chesa has demonstrated his great talents in standing up for criminals and those who have been labeled as criminals simply because they committed crimes. This has caused some misunderstanding among people who thought his job was explicitly to prosecute criminals, but Chesa is an innovator. This is Silicon Valley; he thinks outside the box — he’s a San Franciscan, not a San Franciscan’t.

He earned his current role through hard work and the electoral crapshoot known as ranked-choice voting. He’s not afraid to take on controversial tasks, and he isn’t so focused on his day-to-day responsibilities that he won’t gladly spend time on unrelated and even counterproductive side projects. There have been some naysayers who, frankly, are narrow-minded and expect him only to work on prosecuting criminals because that’s his job. But his focus on fringe theories of emptied prisons and murderers released on pinky-swear promises have earned him many ardent supporters who have a lot of time on their hands between Bernie Sanders campaigns. 

But it’s not just editors who love him. I  know you will find Chesa works well with his colleagues, as long as he gets to hire all of them from his previous place of employment. He will expect to bring over 20–25 colleagues, so you might want to begin the work now of firing 20–25 employees to make room. Accuse them of being Republicans or something.

Though you might have heard about a few bumps in the road at Chesa’s current job, you can rely on him to always let you know it was someone else’s fault. Due to the highly sensitive nature of his work, I can’t provide certain information, like the names of any drug dealers he’s sent to prison. But just trust him.

Let me end on a note about his personal life and how it has fueled his career. Chesa comes from a long line of prominent leaders. You have no doubt already heard about his parents Kathy Boudin and David Gilbert of the Weather Underground (Chesa, did I get the band’s name right?). He is also related to Marxist theoretician Louis B. Boudin and Fidel Castro’s former attorney Leonard Boudin, and quite possibly is the sole heir to the Boudin Bakery fortune.

He has traveled widely, including to England for schooling and to Venezuela, where he worked as a translator in the presidential palace while Hugo Chavez was dismantling Venezuela’s democracy. (Feel free to ask him about it; the Chronicle won’t.) He was a little ahead of the curve on that, but overthrowing democracies is now so much in vogue, I suggest you hire him quickly before his services are snapped up by some other budding dictator.

I am confident you will find his current employers, the people of San Francisco, will be very accommodating about making him available for his new position with your company. He has been so productive in his tasks that he is able to leave just 18 months into his four-year contract. 

A recommendation letter is really only a brief overview of someone’s many talents and accomplishments. If you need more information or specific examples, please do not hesitate to contact me at [email protected]


John Zipperer


Chesa, what do you think? On reflection, I shouldn’t have included the suggestion that you get a job with Uber. That was unfair. That job requires follow-through.

Feedback: [email protected]; Author email: [email protected]

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