First Black woman mayor elected in San Francisco commits to disrupting the gross inequities under her Administration.
London Breed seemed to be the longshot on election night in San Francisco’s mayoral election.
Although she initially trailed behind State Senator Mark Leno, the race is now so close that it took the Department of Elections a week to produce most of the ballots . The days grew tense as there were small shifts in voting numbers, election reports started to show that Breed caught up to Leno, then eventually passed him. Leno conceded on Wednesday morning, June 13.
A long fought victory, Breed, was as a San Francisco Board supervisor. She served for six weeks as acting mayor last year when Mayor Ed Lee died of a sudden heart attack. In a surprising move, the Board voted her out of the position then replaced her with Mark Ferrell, a venture capitalist. The political joust caused an uproar. Ferrell also ran for mayor.
Breed is the first Black woman mayor of San Francisco and the only woman mayor to currently lead one of top 20 major cities. During her victory speech, Breed identified several poignant issues that she would tackle: housing, homelessness, mental health, drug addiction, education and police reform.
For Breed, housing is on the top of the list in a city now known for its tech-heavy companies and residents. “With all this economic growth and wealth and all that exists in San Francisco, homelessness continues to be a challenge. ” Breed pointed out as spoke to the crowd.In addition, she plans on curtailing homeless by addressing the fact that many who are homeless have mental health and drug addiction issues.
“We have to make changes in our bureaucratic process that gets in the way of housing production in San Francisco. I want to make sure [of] that [for] the next generation of San Franciscans. I don’t want what happened to me and my friends to happen to the next generation,” said Breed at her victory speech.
Born in the Bay Area and reared in San Francisco by her grandmother, she decided to speak near Rosa Parks elementary, the school she attended as a child.
“I think about this school. I think about the people I went to school with and I think about the fact that many of them don’t live here anymore.”
She emphasized, “We have to build more housing. We have to build more housing. And I will be relentless in my pursuit to get the job done.”
Breed grew up in the Western Addition neighborhood, a part of the Fillmore District that was once considered the cultural and economic hub of San Francisco’s African-American residents.Today, there are barely any Black constituency left.
“If it wasn’t for a community that believed in me and supported me and raised me and did what was necessary to make sure that I was a success, I would not be here. But the problem is, I am the exception and not the norm. As mayor, I want to change what is normal in this city,” Breed said to a congratulatory crowd.
The Western Addition along with Bayview Hunter’s Point, an area in the southern part of the city where Black enclaves existed, have dramatically shifted due to decades of Blacks being pushed out. Since the late 1980s, city policy and rising housing costs weakened an African-American population that lived in the area since the city was built in the 1800s. Most Blacks moved in the mid-nineteenth century from Louisiana, Texas, Alabama, and Arkansas during the Great Migration.
Breed pointed out that she also plans to address the heroin drug surge in San Francisco by creating safe injection sites. “It’s not about making it easy for people to use drugs, it’s about treatment on demand.”
Finishing her speech which challenges the city’s status quo, Breed thanked her grandmother who is now deceased. “She is here in spirit,” she said.