New San Fran­cisco mayor breaks bar­ri­ers

Times Colonist - - World -

SAN FRAN­CISCO — San Fran­cisco Su­per­vi­sor (coun­cil­lor) Lon­don Breed emerged vic­to­ri­ous a week af­ter Elec­tion Day to be­come the city’s first African-Amer­i­can woman elected mayor, nar­rowly de­feat­ing a ri­val who was seek­ing to be­come the first openly gay man in the po­si­tion.

Former state Sen. Mark Leno called Breed Wed­nes­day to con­grat­u­late her on the vic­tory.

The elec­tions office con­tin­ued to tally roughly 7,000 bal­lots, but there was no way Leno could make up the dif­fer­ence. On Wed­nes­day, Breed, 43, was lead­ing Leno by fewer than 2,200 votes of nearly 250,000 counted and had 50.49 per cent of the vote.

In a brief ap­pear­ance be­fore re­porters and cheer­ing sup­port­ers on the steps of city hall, an ex­u­ber­ant Breed said she was hum­bled, hon­oured and look­ing for­ward to serv­ing as mayor.

In par­tic­u­lar, she rel­ished the mes­sage her elec­tion sends to San Fran­cisco’s youth, es­pe­cially kids like her­self who grew up poor.

“No mat­ter where you come from, no mat­ter what you de­cide to do in life, you can do any­thing you want to do,” she said. “Never let your cir­cum­stances de­ter­mine your out­come in life.”

Breed vowed to be mayor for all of San Fran­cisco, a mes­sage she re­peated through­out her bid to lead a city that is eco­nom­i­cally thriv­ing, but mired in home­less­ness, con­ges­tion and un­af­ford­able homes.

She has vowed to rid the side­walks of home­less tent camps within a year of tak­ing office.

Turnout ex­ceeded 50 per cent— un­usu­ally high for re­cent may­oral elec­tions— in a con­test that was placed on the June 5 bal­lot af­ter the un­ex­pected death of Mayor Ed Lee in De­cem­ber.

Breed will fill the rest of Lee’s term, which ends in early 2020, and must run in Novem­ber 2019 for a full four-year term.

Breed con­sis­tently main­tained her lead in first-place votes, but San Fran­cisco uses a unique ranked-choice vot­ing sys­tem that al­lows vot­ers to pick their top three for mayor.

Leno and Su­per­vi­sor Jane Kim asked their sup­port­ers to pick the other as their No.2, say­ing that Breed rep­re­sented the sta­tus quo that had made San Fran­cisco so in­equitable. All three are Democrats.

Breed was the favourite of the busi­ness and po­lit­i­cal es­tab­lish­ment com­mu­ni­ties go­ing into the con­test. She raised the most money of the can­di­dates with the help of con­tri­bu­tions from big back­ers.

Leno, 66, did not rule out a fu­ture run for office.

ERIC RIS­BERG, AP

Lon­don Breed: first AfricanAmer­i­can woman to lead San Fran­cisco.

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