‘We’re Not Victims of Circumstances’: Here’s How Mayor Breed Plans to Revive San Francisco

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Mayor London Breed laid out a vision for how to revive San Francisco in her annual State of the City address Thursday, pledging to tackle the city’s biggest challenges, including the housing crisispublic safety concerns and a struggling downtown.   

Breed unveiled proposals to pump $25 million more into overtime for a Police Department struggling to fill vacancies and to revitalize downtown by lightening the tax burden on businesses, and reiterated her plan for how to build 82,000 homes in eight years. 

The mayor painted a picture of San Francisco as resilient and stressed she was committed to its economic recovery and addressing its social issues as the city struggles nearly three years after the pandemic began. She spoke to a packed crowd of city officials, politicians and residents, who greeted her arrival with cheers.

“We are San Franciscans,” Breed said inside the glass atrium of a modern building in the Dogpatch neighborhood, which hosts a satellite communications company and tech human resources business. “We’re not beholden to past catastrophes. We’re not victims of circumstances. We are the captains of our own ship. We are the City That Knows How.” 

Since her address last year, Breed’s had political wins and losses. While the city celebrated a drop in homelessness, it’s struggled to contain a lethal drug epidemic and open-air drug dealing, despite Breed’s efforts to do so in the Tenderloin. The moderate Democratic mayor clashed with more progressive supervisors over housing policy and the limits of her own power.  

“The last few years have been tough, and our challenges ahead are even tougher: public safety concerns, a spiraling fentanyl crisis, empty offices, shuttered businesses, and profound learning loss among our kids,” Breed said from Pier 70, a once industrial neighborhood on the waterfront that’s being redeveloped. “I know we can overcome these, in part because, through four consecutive elections last year, our voters re-instilled every level of our government with a mandate to get the basics right, to put children before politics, to put results before posturing.” 

Breed now has another year in office to show results after elections last year extended her term to January 2025. Voters also gave her the ability to pick political allies to fill vacancies after two historic recalls. In her speech, Breed praised two of her appointees, District Attorney Brooke Jenkins and Supervisor Matt Dorsey, both of who won election in November, and new Supervisor Joel Engardio, who ousted a progressive incumbent, pointing out all three are focused on public safety. 

“I’ve been waiting for help like this, for a long time,” Breed said. 

What Breed didn’t have to wait on was control of the Police Department, whose chief she also appoints, to pursue her top priority of public safety. 

More than a year ago, Breed promised to crack down on open-air drug dealing and use as part of her three-month emergency to tackle the overdose crisis in the Tenderloin. But critics took issue with her promises of a crackdown, calling it a second War on Drugs, and she struggled to make meaningful change, according to people who live and work in the neighborhood. 

But tides shifted when San Franciscans, furious about crime, ousted progressive District Attorney Chesa Boudin, who critics perceived as too lenient. To replace him, Breed picked Jenkins, who promised to balance criminal justice reform with accountability for repeat offenders, including drug dealers. 

Over the past year, Breed has pumped money into the Police Department to help recruit and fill vacancies and has added community ambassadors downtown to deal with drug use and other issues. Many residents have welcomed changes, but some have accused the city of just pushing problems out of sight. 

“I am not OK with open-air drug dealing in this City. Period,” Breed said Thursday. She stressed home and business break-ins also require timely responses, but the city needs officers to respond. 

Breed announced Thursday she would introduce a $25 million budget supplemental to fund police overtime to get the department through the end of the fiscal year while it continues to try to hire new officers. The money — which the Board of Supervisors would need to approve — comes on top of the Police Department’s $713 million budget in fiscal year 2023, an increase of $50 million from the year before. The overtime will come out of the city’s $108 million general reserve. 

Click here to read the full article on the San Francisco Chronicle

Comments

  1. It’s called SINK BEFORE YOU SWIM. With leadership like hers San Fran has been going down the drain for quite awhile. Liberalism does not pay the bills, it just raises the debt until bankruptcy has to happen. Now it is their job to dig their way out of it. CERTAINLY IT IS NOT THE JOB OF THE REST OF THE STATE TO DIG THEM OUT!! Same with the rest of the state liberal cities that want to be rescued by the rest of the state and nation.

  2. With a reported +$800 million budget deficit for the next two fiscal years, spending down their reserves to place Band Aids on enormous problems will do little to solve them. Burning out existing police officers with more overtime will only hasten their early retirements when city residents fail to support their difficult work. Same for lenient judges, who Breed does not appoint.

    Why would any sane person want to be on the SFPD? It isn’t Mike Stone’s (Karl Malden’s) department from the 1970s television series “The Streets of San Francisco,” but a woke institution afraid to do anything for fear of prosecution by greedy lawyers, chastisement by the press and a public that has been taught not to respect any type of authority figure.

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