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ElectionsCampaign TrailFarrell complains about cuts in child-care measure that he tried to kill

Farrell complains about cuts in child-care measure that he tried to kill

He didn't support Prop. C in 2018; now he blasts Breed for not spending the money.

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Mayoral candidate Mark Farrell is attacking incumbent London Breed for not spending money from the June 2018 ballot measure Prop. C to provide universal child care in San Francisco:

“Under Mayor Breed’s administration, the rollout of universal childcare has been stalled,” Farrell said.

Farrell is challenging Mayor London Breed for her seat. Farrell says voters approved a tax in 2018, “Baby Prop C,” to provide early care and education for kids up to five years old whose families are low income.

“Close to $400 million that we have collected as a city government in San Francisco is sitting unused in our cities coffers right now,” Farrell said.

Breed is also refusing to spend money from another Prop. C, which provides revenue for affordable housing, something Farrell hasn’t mentioned.

Farrell appears to have selective memory. Photo from his mayoral website.

But there’s another issue here, as Sup. Aaron Peskin points out: Farrell was never a supporter of the June 2018 ballot measure, and pushed for an alternative that included a poison pill to kill Prop. C.

Farrell was mayor in June, 2018, through an odd combination of circumstances that started with the untimely death of Mayor Ed Lee. When Lee died, Breed, as president of the Board of Supes, became acting mayor. She also made it clear she was running to finish his term.

The progressive supes, seeing that an incumbent would have an unfair advantage, agreed to let Farrell, then representing D2, serve as acting mayor until the next election.

Sups. Jane Kim and Norman Yee put a measure on the ballot that would raise the tax big commercial landlords pay to fund child-care subsidies. Farrell and Sup. Ahsha Safai put an alternative measure on the ballot, Prop. D, that would have raised less tax money, did not fund childcare—and would have killed Prop. C.

Opponents of Prop. C included a Trump-allied billionaire. Farrell, at least based on the ballot handbook, did not support Prop. C.

But now he’s complaining that the mayor won’t spend the money—from a measure he tried to derail.

From the Peskin campaign:

“When San Francisco kids needed Mark Farrell’s support to pass Prop C in 2018 — the funding source for his childcare initiative — he turned his back on them and tried to kill it with a poison pill. Why should our kids and families trust him now?” President of the Board of Supervisors Aaron Peskin said.

In June of 2018, Farrell and his allies in the real estate and commercial property industry introduced a competitive measure, Prop D, which was written to block the childcare funding in Prop C. Prop D had little chance of passing but served as a Trojan Horse to siphon votes from Prop C. The Yes on D campaign spent over $1 million; their allies who opposed Prop C spent $1.3 million attacking it.


“Mark Farrell is right that we need to spend the childcare funds. But when the Mayor tried to divert Prop C funding in last year’s budget, where was Mark Farrell then? He was nowhere to be found, and we had to defeat that attempt without his help,” said Peskin.

Breed didn’t support Prop. C, either; in fact, she was part of the effort to derail it. From the Bay Guardian endorsement at the time:

We would have no problem supporting Prop D—except for the nasty politics. This is a measure backed by Sup. Ahsha Safai and endorsed by Sup. London Breed, and it includes (for no good reason) a poison pill that would invalidate Prop. C if D gets more votes.

Oh, and Prop. D’s taxes are lower.

Why not work together, raise taxes to pay for both childcare and housing? Because Safai and Breed want to undermine Kim. That’s bogus and petty politics. 

And now, it continues.

Full disclosure: My son and daughter work on the Peskin for Mayor campaign.

48 Hills welcomes comments in the form of letters to the editor, which you can submit here. We also invite you to join the conversation on our FacebookTwitter, and Instagram

Tim Redmond
Tim Redmond
Tim Redmond has been a political and investigative reporter in San Francisco for more than 30 years. He spent much of that time as executive editor of the Bay Guardian. He is the founder of 48hills.

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