SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. - On November 5th, voters in San Francisco will determine who will lead their city. The mayor’s race features six candidates including incumbent Mayor London Breed.
The incumbent is vying for a full term in the office after she won a special election in June, after the death of then-mayor Ed Lee. During our interview, the mayor said she’s running on a platform of equity. “Change that’s going to deliver change,” said Breed. “And, this is why we got to open more navigation centers, we got to build more housing, we got to put more officers on the street in our commercial corridors.”
Breed prides her office in helping more than 2,000 people exit homelessness since 2018, though the city continues face massive challenges with a growing number of people living on the street. If re-elected, she says she has a plan. “Make investments in shelter beds, make investments in housing but also cut the bureaucratic red tape that stops our ability to produce housing and shelter beds in a more timely manner,” said Breed.
We made multiple attempts to reach out to candidate Robert Jordan, but were unsuccessful. He did not list any contact information on his paperwork filed with the city. The San Francisco Chronicle calls him a “street minister.”
Wilma Pang is a long-time Chinatown resident who has run for a number of offices in the past. “I’m a very experienced person and I am a professor for the longest time, the last 35 years,” said Pang. “I look at things differently, instead of a glass half-empty, I look at it half-full. We need to have more compassion and more caring. This is what my good point is, I can help people better themselves.”
Pang wants the city to focus more on doing its part in addressing climate change. The singer and educator also believes the mayor should do more to help boost tourism. “Tourism is supposed to be the number one industry, kicks in about $7 billion a year, but they don’t pay attention to tourism, surprisingly.”
PAUL YBARRA ROBERTSON
Paul Ybarra Robertson has lived in San Francisco for nearly thirty years. He served in the Marine Corps and now the small business owner wants to change the face of the mayor’s office. “Get someone in there that can give you another side, and can stop this wrecking ball from going down the street, that’s what we need to do,” said Robertson.
Robertson’s platform includes adding parking in the city, repaving all the roads and the other candidates, addressing the homeless issue. He wants to eliminate navigation centers, declare a state of emergency and cut the budget. In his words, “get more bang for the buck.” “I would say $50 million and then put the other $450 million towards paving our streets, fixing up Chinatown,” said Robertson. “We should have the most beautiful Chinatown in the country. “
Joel Ventresca has worked for the city and county of San Francisco for 34 years. He calls himself a progressive Democrat who wants to make public transit free by taxing the downtown business community, make the city a zero-carbons emissions city and challenge corporate and tech agendas. “Bring practical solutions to these problems, and have them cost-effective, and not just do incremental things,” said Ventresca. “But do comprehensive, fundamental change.”
Ventresca says he’s the leading challenger to Mayor Breed and has a solution for the issues of homelessness. “I’m determined to be the first mayor on the west coast,” said Ventresca. “To solve the homeless crisis in a way where you have people coming in, they’re in a program 1 -3 years, they’re working part time or full time, they’re sober, they’re reintegrating into society.”
Public health employee Ellen Zhou made news after paying for a campaign billboard depicting a Mayor Breed. Community and political leaders labeled it sexist and racist. Though it’s been taken down, she stands by the message she says it displayed. “It’s time for San Franciscans to think about whether we want to take another four years of London Breed, with more homeless coming and more people dying on the street, and more drug dealers,” said Zhou.
The outspoken conservative is running on a platform of making the city safer and cleaner. “I will be working with the federal government to enforce the United States constitution and I will clean up city hall and I clean up the streets and save the homeless and heal them and give them housing,” said Zhou.