Race for SF Mayor Highly Contested
This June’s highly contested special election to fill the San Francisco mayor’s position has left residents wondering, after 15 years of political and policy stability, what the rapid changes at the mayor’s office and the coming special election have in store for the city.
The death of Mayor Ed Lee last December has led to somewhat of a revolving door at the mayor’s office. London Breed, president of the San Francisco Board of Supervisor, stepped into the temporary mayoral position, as per the city charter in December.
But on January 23, the Board of Supervisors, anxious about Breed’s using the temporary position as a campaign advantage in the upcoming special election for mayor, ousted Breed and appointed Mark Farrell to serve until the special election in June. The special election will choose a mayor to fill the remainder of the late Lee’s term, until 2020. Progressive supervisors Jane Kim and Aaron Peskin were particularly concerned about moderate Breed’s incumbent advantage in the coming election. However, many residents saw Breed’s demotion as a racial move, as Breed is black and has been very active in issues dealing with blacks, and her replacement is white.
With eight candidates qualifying, four have moved into the leading positions: former acting mayor London Breed, former Supervisor Angela Alioto, Supervisor Jane Kim, and former state Senator Mark Leno. All four are Democrats. A win by moderate Breed would likely mean top priorities of affordable housing and business, while progressive Kim or Leno would likely focus on social and gender issues.
With the city experiencing rapid changes and some serious issues, residents are concerned about what the new mayor’s priorities will be. Political consultant Jim Ross explained that despite the rapid changes in the administration since Lee’s death and the coming changes as a result of the election, the temporary new administration will only be in office for a couple of years. He believes this is not long enough to bring about permanent damages to the city, putting to rest some worries residents might have.
Former San Francisco Police Commission President Suzie Loftus said that she and others want a new leader who can effectively tackle the problems the city faces, such as homelessness, public safety, and affordable housing. On a positive note, she pointed out that this is a good time to think about the city and its future. “I think that most people are taking a moment to reflect on what do we want.” she said.