SAN FRANCISCO—On the first working day after the New Year, Ellen Lee Zhou formally filed her application to join the approaching mayoral race. As a Republican candidate, she vowed to end the city’s mono-party control of the government.
“The current mayor is not a people’s mayor. We need a people’s mayor like me,” said Zhou to the office clerk and the press around her as she filed her paperwork for the mayoral race in the election office.
“We do not have a people’s government. We have a tyranny government, which means we are only ruled by one party,” said Zhou, standing in front of the election office with a small crowd of supporters after she filed her election application paperwork.
Zhou said none of Republican, Green Party, Tea Party, or Independent candidates were elected in San Francisco.
In the 2018 midterm election, almost all moderate Democratic candidates lost their campaigns. Because of this, the city’s political landscape has significantly shifted to the far left.
Zhou ran her 2018 campaign in the special mayoral election as an independent candidate. She said that was because she did not have enough time to prepare for the campaign.
San Francisco held the special mayoral election in June 2018 because the former Mayor Ed Lee died in office in December 2017. Current Mayor London Breed won the special election to serve the remaining term left by Lee to the end of 2019.
The winner of the mayoral election this November will be the new mayor starting in 2020.
Zhou said she is a Republican, and she would run her 2019 campaign as a Republican to stop the one-party control of the city government.
Zhou stated that if Breed is reelected, the city will continuously support more cannabis stores and likely new drug injection centers.
Breed, who won the 2018 special election for the city mayor, has been a vocal supporter of the city opening the first drug safe injection sites (SIS) in the United States.
The California Legislature passed AB 186 in 2018, which allowed San Francisco to legally open and to operate SIS. The sites met strong resistance from the city’s Asian community and from law enforcement agencies throughout the state.
Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed AB 186 in September 2018. However, the new governor, Gavin Newsom, who was elected last year, reportedly promised during his gubernatorial campaign to reconsider new bills similar to AB 186 if elected.
San Francisco currently has 50 commercial cannabis stores in operation. Zhou, as a longtime city social worker, said in her speech there are now more than 400 pending applications for new cannabis store permits.
Commercial marijuana was approved by California voters through Prop. 64 in 2016. However, the drug is still listed as a Schedule I controlled substance by the federal government based on the Controlled Substance Act of 1970.
Commercial marijuana has met strong resistance from the Asian communities in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Zhou, a 49-year-old mother with two college-aged children, is a Chinese immigrant who came to the United States during her high school years. She has been one of the most vocal leaders calling for a drug-free city.
Zhou is the 15th candidate who has signed up for the race so far. Breed applied in August. The deadline for candidates to file applications for the race is 5 p.m. on June 11, 2019.