London Breed became president of the Board of Supervisors on Monday for a second term.
The unanimous vote, along with the fact that there were no other nominees for the post, was a show of unity as San Francisco braces for the era of President-elect Donald Trump.
Supervisor Malia Cohen officially nominated Breed for the position. “She is hardworking, she is smart, she is committed, she is sassy, she looks good when she is banging that gavel. But above all else, she cares. She cares for everyone,” Cohen said.
Supervisor Aaron Peskin said, “If there was any time to bury our divisions, it was this time.”
After being voted in to lead the first female-majority Board of Supervisors in 22 years, Breed spoke to the economic challenges facing many in San Francisco’s booming economy and the importance of The City to stand as a leader in the nation around core values.
“Our city faces daunting challenges,” Breed said after securing the vote. “We have over 7,000 people with no home and thousands more struggling to afford the homes they have now. We have immigrants, minorities and transgender men and women who feel un-welcomed in our booming economy.”
She then shifted her focus to the national stage. “In 11 days we sail into uncharted waters,” Breed said, referring to the inauguration of Trump on Jan. 20. “Our values have never been more important, our fight never more clear and our role in this country never more needed.”
The outcome of the November election gave Breed the moderate majority she needed to remain president. Since there is a precedent for previous board presidents to serve more than one term, not doing so would have been a significant political setback for Breed, who is also rumored to be considering a run for mayor.
The race that swung the board from a progressive majority to a moderate majority was District 11, where Ahsha Safai defeated the progressive challenger there.
In the past when the board voted on the president position there was often a level of intrigue and multiple members nominated during the voting process — even if these board members were known to lack the votes. But in this case there was a decision to show unity in the Trump era and Breed was the only board member nominated for the post.
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Breed told the San Francisco Examiner last week that board members “offered” to vote for her.
Newly elected District 1 Supervisor Sandra Fewer told the Examiner last week that Breed had called her asking for her vote.
Fewer told the Examiner on Thursday that she was supporting Breed for the presidency — even though Breed is part of the moderate bloc and Fewer the progressive faction. “I’m supporting her. I haven’t told her yet. She asked me,” Fewer said at the time.
Fewer said that Breed “has the votes” and that “it’s unifying not to have a split vote especially going into the Trump era.”
Fewer added that Breed “thinks she can do a better job in her second term — I seem to agree.”
While Safai was the perceived swing vote, he told the Examiner last week that he left the decision up to the senior members of the board and he would vote accordingly.
“I kind of left it up to the more senior members of the board to let them work it out among themselves and then they’ll circle back with me,” Safai said Thursday of the board president decision.
He added that Breed has done a “great job” as board president and he would support her for a second term.
Among the first big decisions for Breed as president will be to decide on which committees
the members serve. Notably, Supervisor Mark Farrell may hold on to his position as chair
of the Budget and Finance Committee, arguably the most influential committee post. Supervisor Aaron Peskin has for the past year distinguished himself as chair of the Government Audit and Oversight Committee, particularly over his investigation into the sinking Millennium Tower.
Another influential committee is the Land Use Committee.
The new board has a considerable amount of work already ahead of itself. Unresolved issues include how to improve Airbnb regulations, how to set the affordable housing requirements and whether the free City College promise to voters will be fully or only partially funded.