Mayor-elect and Board of Supervisors President London Breed visited her old elementary school Thursday and delivered an official victory speech, promising to open safe injection sites, reform mental health services and build more housing.
In a 20-minute speech sprinkled with campaign slogans, often greeted with applause and celebratory chants from those packed in the Rosa Parks Elementary School’s auditorium, Breed thanked specific supporters by name, vowed to address residents’ biggest complaints and emphasized her life story, one of her biggest strengths as a candidate.
She comes to office as The City struggles with sky-high rents, homelessness and a widening gap between the prosperous and the poor.
“It reminded me of when I had my first fight,” Breed said of returning to her Western Addition elementary school. “Yes, I won.”
Breed spoke of how she has come to success in her life against the odds, growing up in San Francisco public housing surrounded by drug dealing, gunfire and police conflicts.
“I never thought the opportunity to be mayor of the City and County of San Francisco was ever possible,” Breed said. But she said it was the support she received from community members that helped her achieve success and ultimately make history by becoming San Francisco’s first black female mayor.
“The problem is I am the exception and not the norm,” Breed said. “As mayor, I want to change what is normal in this city.”
That means trying new things.
Breed said The City needs to treat drug addiction in a new way. “It’s why I’ve been talking about safe injection sites and as mayor I plan to make them a reality,” Breed said. Safe injection sites allow drug users to inject drugs onsite under medical supervision and help link them to treatment services. However, opening them would require defying state and federal laws.
Breed is also a supporter of a pending state bill from state Sen. Scott Wiener that would expand The City’s conservatorship powers to include those who are chronically homeless. The proposal has faced opposition from homeless advocates.
Breed said addressing homelessness “requires someone to make the hard decisions … around reforming our mental health system so that people we know are struggling on the streets who are clearly not in their right minds get the help and the support that they need.”
Breed also committed to building more housing, such as by streamlining the approval process for development.
“I think about the people I went to school with and I think about the fact that many of them don’t live here in the city anymore,” Breed said. “We have to build more housing. We have to build more housing. We have to build more housing.”
She used the moment to thank her campaign supporters in attendance. Those thanked included Assemblymember David Chiu and Assessor Recorder Carmen Chu as well as labor unions including Firefighters Local 798, Carpenters Local 22, janitors union SEIU Local 87, plumbers union Local 38, and construction laborers Local 261.
“I plan to roll up my sleeves and get the job done,” Breed said.
Breed will continue to express gratitude to her supporters Friday in Chinatown, where she is scheduled to thank supporters there in the afternoon.
The next mayoral race is November 2019.