Since 2010, the casual attitude City Attorney Pete Holmes took toward his prosecutorial authority fostered a somewhat lawless atmosphere in Seattle. Voters were right to reject Holmes’ request for a fourth term in the August primary and should make a fresh start by electing Ann Davison to replace him.

Davison, like Holmes, is a civil attorney but takes a far clearer view of the need for restoring compassionate order on city streets. This means intervening with troubled people in a way that preserves public safety and gets people to helpful services. A study of 100 people who had been frequently arrested for minor crimes found they had been repeatedly let go so rapidly that those 100 people had been charged with involvement in about 3,600 criminal cases.

Seattle Times editorial board endorsements: Nov. 2, 2021, general election

That isn’t mercy. That’s turning a blind eye to public safety and the need to get individuals meaningful help. Davison is the only candidate serious about reforming the city’s justice system to make Seattle a kinder, safer place.

Her opponent, Nicole Thomas-Kennedy, is a self-proclaimed “abolitionist” of policing and jails, and has said she will cut back dramatically on the city’s prosecutions of misdemeanor offenses. If given power, Thomas-Kennedy could be a worse version of Holmes.

Thomas-Kennedy also has been an abrasive, violence-advocating presence on social media, which does not bode well for her ability to be an effective advocate for reasonable discourse and policy-building.

Thomas-Kennedy’s rhetoric and approach are so concerning that former Democratic Govs. Christine Gregoire and Gary Locke, as well as 30 retired judges — including former state Supreme Court justices Bobbe Bridge and Phil Talmadge — have stepped up to endorse Davison.

Davison has shown a deep willingness to be engaged with many different communities. Her track record indicates she can be a conscientious, nonpartisan steward of the city’s law firm. Davison deserves voters’ support.