Mayor London Breed won’t face the voters until 2023—but the politics of the next six months will play a huge role in her political future.
Breed is attacking the School Board and endorsing the recall of three members, including one she appointed. She’s attacking homeless people in the Tenderloin and pushing a police crackdown. She hasn’t formally endorsed the recall of District Attorney Chesa Boudin, but she’s made clear she wants another DA and he is opposing her plans for the Tenderloin.
Breed hasn’t endorsed a candidate for state Assembly, but it’s safe to say she wants someone who isn’t David Campos.
She’s pushing a big agenda for the June election, including a measure that would give the mayor considerably more control over the School District. She’s also promoting a Yimby measure to allow developers to avoid community scrutiny of market-rate housing development.
At the same time, the supes are pushing several measures aimed at municipal corruption that would limit the powers of the mayor (including the right of the chief executive to fill vacancies on the School Board, Community College Board, and Board of Supes).
While those measures would go far beyond this particular mayor, they will also be seen as a referendum on her administration.
It’s pretty clear that her poll numbers are looking bleak right now, and she’s using the well-established strategy of using homeless people for political gain.
If the mayor gets her way, she will appoint three members of the School Board and a new district attorney, to add to her appointment of City Attorney David Chiu, and she will get a state Assembly member who will work with her on local politics.
If she doesn’t, the power in the city will shift in a significant way from the Mayor’s Office to the progressives on the board.
And if the recall efforts are any indication, there will be big money, including big Republican and out-of-town money, pouring in to protect the mayor and her agenda.
Six months is a long time in local politics. The mayor’s plan, such as it is, for the Tenderloin could be a complete failure by then (although she will try to blame that on the DA). We have no idea what the latest COVID wave will mean for the public schools, the local economy, the public-health system, or the attitudes of voters.
But if anyone seriously wants to challenge Breed in 2023, the next six months will help determine if that’s possible.