Guest Commentary: Why San Francisco Should Re-Elect Mayor London Breed

by Rodney Wrice

Disclaimer: Opinions are those of the writer and do not reflect those of The Vanguard or its Editorial Staff. The Vanguard does not endorse political candidates and is committed to publishing all public opinions and maintaining an open forum subject to guidelines related to decency and tone, not content.

In the complex and diverse landscape of San Francisco, effective leadership is paramount. Mayor London Breed has shown that she possesses the vision, dedication, and resilience required to guide the city through its myriad challenges. As she seeks a second term, it is crucial to reflect on her achievements, her proactive policies, and the significant strides the city has made under her administration. My words in this article argue, based on lived experiences and statistical evidence, why San Francisco should re-elect Mayor London Breed.

Economic Recovery and Development

Mayor Breed’s tenure has been marked by her decisive action in addressing economic challenges, particularly in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. San Francisco, like many major cities, faced unprecedented economic turmoil. Under Breed’s leadership, the city implemented the Small Business Resiliency Fund, which provided critical support to over 3,000 local businesses, helping them stay afloat during the pandemic’s darkest days. The success of this initiative is reflected in the city’s recovery statistics, with unemployment rates dropping from a high of 12.5% in April 2020 to 3.8% by late 2023.

Moreover, Breed’s focus on innovation and technology has attracted significant investment to the city. San Francisco continues to be a hub for tech startups, with venture capital investments reaching $25 billion in 2023 alone. This influx of capital not only creates jobs but also fosters a climate of innovation and economic resilience that benefits all residents.

Affordable Housing and Homelessness

San Francisco’s housing crisis is well-documented, but Mayor Breed has made tangible progress in addressing this issue. Her administration has accelerated the construction of affordable housing units, with over 10,000 units completed or in progress during her first term. The passage of Proposition A, a $600 million affordable housing bond championed by Breed, stands as a testament to her commitment. This bond aims to provide housing for low-income families, seniors, and the formerly homeless.

The city’s homelessness crisis, a complex and deeply rooted issue, has also seen proactive measures under Breed’s leadership. The Homelessness Recovery Plan, initiated in 2021, aims to end chronic homelessness by 2025. As of 2023, the plan has housed over 2,500 individuals and provided comprehensive support services, including mental health care and job training. These efforts have led to a 15% reduction in the homeless population since the plan’s inception.

Public Safety and Health

Mayor Breed’s commitment to public safety is evident through her efforts to reform the police department and improve community relations. The introduction of the Community Police Academy and the expansion of neighborhood-based policing have fostered trust between law enforcement and residents. According to recent statistics, these initiatives have contributed to a 10% decrease in overall crime rates since 2020.
Furthermore, Breed has been a staunch advocate for public health. Her swift response to the COVID-19 pandemic, characterized by early lockdown measures and a robust vaccination campaign, saved countless lives. San Francisco boasted one of the highest vaccination rates in the nation, with over 85% of eligible residents fully vaccinated by mid-2022. This public health success story underscores her capability to lead in times of crisis.

Environmental Sustainability

San Francisco has long been at the forefront of environmental sustainability, and Mayor Breed has continued this legacy with her ambitious climate action plans. The city’s Climate Action Plan 2020-2024 sets forth aggressive targets, including achieving net-zero emissions by 2040. Under Breed’s leadership, the city has already reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 30% from 1990 levels, through initiatives such as the expansion of renewable energy sources and improvements in public transportation infrastructure.

One of the standout projects is the city’s investment in electric buses and the electrification of the Muni fleet, reducing emissions and setting a precedent for other cities to follow. Additionally, Breed’s commitment to expanding green spaces and urban forestry programs has enhanced the city’s livability and resilience to climate change.

Community and Equity

Mayor Breed’s policies are deeply rooted in equity and community empowerment. As the first African American woman to serve as mayor of San Francisco, she has been a vocal advocate for racial and economic justice. Her administration has launched numerous initiatives to address systemic inequalities, including the Office of Racial Equity and the Dream Keeper Initiative, which redirects $120 million from law enforcement to the Black community over two years.

Her efforts to bridge the digital divide have also been noteworthy. The Fiber for All initiative aims to provide high-speed internet access to all San Francisco residents, ensuring that every individual, regardless of socioeconomic status, can participate in the digital economy.

Conclusion

Mayor London Breed’s first term has been characterized by substantial progress in economic recovery, housing, public safety, environmental sustainability, and community equity. Her ability to navigate the city through the COVID-19 pandemic, coupled with her forward-thinking policies, has set a strong foundation for the future. Re-electing Mayor Breed means continuing the positive momentum and ensuring that San Francisco remains a vibrant, inclusive, and resilient city. The lived experiences of countless residents, backed by solid statistical evidence, make a compelling case for her second term.

Rodney Wrice is a former lifer who once served 33 years off a 40 year to life prison sentence in the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitations. He is now the author of 5 books, a keynote speaker, the creator of the popular online magazine Changing Lives Forever – Voices Often Ignored and co-founder of Changing Lives Forever, LLC. For more information you can contact CLF at: P.O. Box 640307, S.F., CA. 94109.

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