Editor’s Note: This is the first in a series of stories produced by California Black Media on the political relationship between Blacks, liberals and progressives.
San Francisco—The fallout over the replacement of London Breed as San Francisco’s first Black, female mayor in the city’s history with a White male, Mark Farrell, as the interim mayor continues.
After the passing of Mayor Ed Lee, the first Asian American to be elected in that role, on December 12, Breed took the seat as allowed by the city charter. It also allows supervisors to vote in a successor.
She was to hold the post for the remainder of Lee’s term—six months—but served as acting Mayor until January 23, 2018.
Residents protested after Breed’s colleagues voted 6-3 to remove her on January 23.
“In an only-in-San Francisco tale that involved a mix of tech money, racial tension, and political jockeying, the city’s most progressive elected officials spearheaded the ouster of the city’s first female African-American mayor, a woman with roots in the city’s public housing projects, in favor of a white, male venture capitalist who represents the city’s wealthiest neighborhoods,” wrote Benjamin Schneider in the San Francisco Chronicle.
In interviews, Breed, 43, has talked about her upbringing around a lot of poverty, despair, and crime. She attended UC Davis, and in that time realized she should not be the only one from her neighborhood to succeed, so she chose to return to make a difference, Breed told Hoodline, an online site for news in San Francisco.
The Sun Reporter newspaper publisher Amelia Ashley Ward said she was surprised at so many “young white liberal progressives speaking out against Breed.” She continued, “perhaps San Francisco isn’t as progressive as some people like to think.”
Kimberly Ellis, former California Democratic Party Chair candidate, chided the Board of Supervisors vote, which many alleged was rigged. “It only took Democrats 43 days from praising Black women for delivering the U.S. Senate victory in Alabama to disenfranchising the first Black Woman Mayor of San Francisco,” posted Ellis on her Facebook page. “Well, that’s the Democratic Party establishment for you.”
Ellis said the matter is not about the race for mayor. “This is about making lame excuses, reinterpreting San Francisco’s charter and replacing a progressive woman of color with a wealthy white male moderate. So much for all of those pink pussy hats, eh,” she questioned rhetorically. Ellis was referring to hats worn during the first Women’s March as a symbol of support and solidarity for women’s rights and political resistance. “But not to worry. We’ll handle it from here… Like we always do. Time to turn rage into election results. See you at the polls,” Ellis’ post continues.
Dr. Willie and Mary Ratcliff, publishers of the San Francisco Bay View Newspaper, feel Breed is now in a better position. “Nobody did London Breed any favors at Tuesday’s board meeting. Not the supervisors who swept her out of the mayor’s office that had been given to her by the city charter and not Ron Conway and the big money boys whose overly aggressive support was the screen the supervisors hid their racism behind,” indicated the Ratcliffs in a recent editorial.
Breed heads into the June election owing nothing to anybody, only the people of San Francisco, including the neediest, they said.
The Bay View quoted Fred Jordan, who heads the San Francisco African American Chamber of Commerce. “San Francisco is a racist city,” wrote Jordan. He noted Dianne Feinstein wasn’t removed when she was president of the Board of Supervisors, like London Breed succeeded a mayor who died in office, the outlet continued.
Following the vote, Breed herself spoke out. “Last night, six of my colleagues voted to elect a successor Mayor to serve until the June election. It’s been an honor to serve the City as Mayor during this difficult time, and I will continue working for ALL San Franciscans to address the important issues we face as a City: homelessness, housing, and public safety,” she stated.
“I am running for Mayor because San Francisco deserves a leader who will fight to get things back on track for families and working people,” announced Breed in a Facebook post.
Social media sounds off
“My childhood friend I’m sad to say that your colleagues was wrong for voting you out but I & the citizens of SF will vote you back in as the mayor of our city you live in I may be living across the bay from my hometown that I’m going to pray everyday until the day its time to vote you in as mayor because I know the late mayor Ed Lee would rather have you in his place this is just a minor set back so you just continue to look for our people in the city of the lovely San Francisco love you girl,” commented Deidre Bradford on Breed’s thread.
Monica Jones said she welcomes Breed’s candidacy and leadership. “What went down last night was wrong and unprecedented,” Jones wrote.
Hugh E MC remarked, “#Salute sis. That was a conniving ugly move…but we know this is politrickz…You are handling this with incredible grace….Now let’s Bring them war #DonMachiaveli style.”
“Although, I am not a fan of all of your policies I must say that the vote the board decided on was a bamboozle and wreaked of race-baiting and pure political maneuvering,” commented Amos Gregory.
“I no longer live in SF, so I can call Hilary Ronen out for being a race-baiting manipulator. Breed can’t have a rich white male help her reach her goals, but you can? This BS is the progressive Imprimatur from 2016…telling black folk they’re the tools of white folk, if we only really understood politics, we would know we were being used. Reading Hilary Ronen’s condescending racist claptrap! It’s just Bernie Sanders drivel…wash, rinse, and repeat,” posted Victoria Jee.
Black Lives Matter co-founder, Alicia Garza responded with a tweet “San Francisco dislikes Black women so much they appointed a white conservative to be the caretaker Mayor. Somebody explain to me how this was the best option. Oh, San Francisco you break my heart.”
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