March 2024 Local Races

This is a nonpartisan analysis of the San Francisco ballot for the March 5, 2024, election.

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Learn how we chose the order for listing names in this guide and how we came up with questions for the candidates.

Superior Court Judge, Seat 1

Question for the candidate:

What do you think the general public needs to understand about the role of Superior Court judges in San Francisco and the scope of their powers?

Michael Isaku Begert

Michael Isaku Begert has served as a San Francisco Superior Court judge for 13 years and has presided over three collaborative courts since 2019: Veterans Justice Court, Community Justice Court and Drug Treatment Court. Collaborative courts focus on treatment and rehabilitation as a way to improve public safety and outcomes for people in the criminal justice system. He presides over the city’s Community Assistance, Recovery and Empowerment Court, commonly called CARE Court, which is part of a new treatment program for people struggling with mental health and substance use issues. Begert has said that he has advocated to local officials for more robust housing and treatment resources, and that he is committed to forging relationships with people in his courtroom. He wants to grant them “the agency and the responsibility to make decisions that will improve their circumstances,” he said. Begert has raised nearly $142,000, mostly from lawyers and judges, in addition to a $100,000 loan to himself. He has served on the Asian Law Caucus board of directors, among other positions with legal organizations. He has a Japanese immigrant mother and a father who served in the U.S. Air Force.

Website FacebookInstagram • Twitter/XLinkedIn

Chip Zecher

Albert Zecher, who appears on the ballot as Chip Zecher, is a licensed attorney who has spent years as general counsel at Intevac Inc., which produces components for hard drives. He has served on the board of directors for UC College of the Law San Francisco, formerly called Hastings, since 2019, and is vice chair. Zecher said that working in the city’s Tenderloin neighborhood “opened my eyes to the conditions on our streets and how they are impacted by open air drug markets,” and that the criminal justice system “should demand more accountability from these bad actors.” Though he has not litigated criminal cases, Zecher said his stint in the early 1990s as a research attorney for the San Francisco Superior Court helped prepare him for this position. The judicial candidate with the most funds, Zecher has raised over $494,000 — including $100,000 from Chris Larsen, co-founder of tech company Ripple, and three $50,000 donations from various venture capitalists.

Website FacebookInstagram Twitter/X

Superior Court Judge, Seat 13

Question for the candidate:

What do you think the general public needs to understand about the role of Superior Court judges in San Francisco and the scope of their powers?

Patrick S. Thompson

Patrick S. Thompson has been a San Francisco Superior Court judge since April 2022. He conducts preliminary hearings to determine when the District Attorney’s office has sufficient evidence for a felony trial. He has worked on civil matters at several major law firms, and prior to becoming a judge he served on multiple nonprofit boards, including for the California Pacific Medical Center, where he was chair. Thompson says he runs his courtroom “by the book,” saying he sets aside politics and treats everyone with respect. His campaign has raised over $81,000, with $20,000 from the California Judges Association. Thompson grew up in a mostly white neighborhood in the Midwest, where he “felt the personal sting of being treated unfairly,” he said. “I believe the answer to lowering crime, and lifting up every community, is absolute fairness before the law.”


Jean Myungjin Roland

Jean Myungjin Roland is an assistant district attorney in San Francisco, with over 22 years’ experience as a prosecutor. She has worked on cases concerning domestic violence, juvenile justice, child abuse and more. She “will seek to ensure public safety while bringing needed balance and accountability back to our justice system,” she said on her website. Roland said she was inspired to be a voice for crime victims after interpreting for her grandparents following a violent home robbery. She has raised nearly $125,000, with $50,000 from venture capitalist Jeremy Liew. Supervisor Aaron Peskin in January questioned Roland’s judicial temperament in light of an incident in the early 2000s, when she failed to tell her superiors about drug use by her husband, who also worked in the D.A.’s office. In a letter shared on X, formerly Twitter, Roland responded that no policies were violated — a sentiment recently echoed by Jerry Coleman, her boss at the time. “I had hoped,” Roland said, “I would be judged by my merits and not by the man who stands by me. I was wrong.”


Community Survey

In December, the San Francisco Public Press asked residents to identify issues that concern them. Those responses informed the questions we posed to candidates for this election guide, and we will use them in our ongoing reporting. Would you like to tell us about your concerns? We are continuing to gather responses.

Order of Candidate Names Within Races

Wondering why we listed candidates’ names this way? California has been using the “randomized alphabet” to determine how candidates’ names appear on the ballot since 1975, a practice that began after placing names in alphabetical order on ballots was deemed unconstitutional. San Francisco has 7 versions of the ballot for this year’s elections — if you’re a resident and registered to vote, you’ll see a different assortment of races depending on where you live, and the placement of names within a particular race may appear in various orders. For races with multiple orderings, we chose to list candidate names as they appear on the first available ballot type. You can learn more about this process here

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We are collaborating with KALW this election season. You’ll hear audio segments from our “Civic” team on our own KSFP 102.5 FM and on KALW 91.7 FM. You’ll see ballot summaries from our election guide on

This guide was created by Madison Alvarado, Liana Wilcox, Sylvie Sturm, Mel Baker, Yesica Prado, Zhe Wu, Richard Knee, Noah Arroyo, Michael Stoll and Lila LaHood.

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