London Breed
London Breed Photo: Faceboook

After the sudden death last year of San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee in December, London Breed (a Black woman) became acting Mayor. Tee city’s charter mandated that Breed take the city’s top spot because she was the next in the line of succession as president of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.

However, Interim Mayor Breed was ousted and replaced during a lively Board of Supervisors meeting on Tuesday night. Mark Farrell was named the new interim mayor in a 6-3 vote after three hours of testimony. The vote had to be done twice because Supervisor Katy Tang withdrew her initial vote of support for Farrell.

Breed was not allowed to vote. Farrell’s win was met with jeers and shouts from Breed supporters in attendance. “This is war!,” shouted someone as the Board of Supervisors filed out of the room after the vote.

During her tenure on the Board, Breed has been credited with being the driving force behind important progressive policies on affordable healthcare, public housing, and environmental justice. A life-long resident of San Francisco, Breed herself grew up in public housing and has long been a voice of reason condemning the high cost of living pushing out residents and discouraging potential new residents.

Some believe Breed’s removal was due to racism and a desire to remove any advantage she would have had by being listed on the ballot as the incumbent in the upcoming mayoral election.

When asked if she thought racism had anything to do with the Board snatching away her interim mayorship, Breed declined to directly answer the question. “I don’t want to dwell on that particular element because it has sadly brought out the worst in some people. And so what I am trying to do as a leader in this city is bring out the best in people.”

Not everyone believes Breed’s ouster was due to racism against her. Supervisor Hillary Ronen believes its actually wealthy white men with bad intentions for the city who propped Breed up in the first place.

“There are white, rich men — billionaires — in this city that have steered the policies for the past mayoral administrations … that have gotten us into the absolute mess that we are in today, where poor people and people of color cannot afford to live in the city,” said Ronen during her remarks on the vote.

“I hate to say it, but those same white men are enthusiastically supporting your candidacy, London Breed. They are threatening people [saying] if they don’t support London Breed, their careers will be ruined,” Ronen continued.

Breed was the first Black female mayor of San Francisco and the second woman of any race. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) was the first.

Farrell is the third San Francisco mayor in six weeks. The mayoral election will take place this June. Breed, who will remain the president of the Board of Supervisors, says she will continue fighting for her city.