On Tuesday, a report from Politico revealed that Democratic San Francisco Mayor London Breed has begun backing down from signature soft-on-crime policies as several of her political opponents announced that they plan to run against her in the 2024 mayoral election in the city.
In 2020, Breed was a major proponent of the defund the police movement, following Black Lives Matter protests opposing law enforcement agencies. She slashed the budgets of the police and sheriff departments by $120 million to “remove barriers to progress,” according to ABC7 News.
Now, however, Breed has started reversing course, after moderate Democrats Ahsha Safai and Daniel Lurie announced that they would enter the mayoral race earlier this year. In the past month, Breed has introduced several reversals to police reform in response to their criticism of her administration.
“She’s doing what she needs to do to get reelected,” former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown told Politico. “She’s playing a good poker game.”
Back in March, Breed outlined her policy priorities on a webpage, placing emphasis on “community ambassadors,” and “community-based outreach teams,” to respond to “non-emergency” crimes in the city.
However, after Safai announced his campaign to run against the incumbent mayor in May, Breed quickly altered her approach, expanding the police department’s budget by $25 million and claiming that she had always been focused on “bringing in new officers,” according to a June update of the webpage.
Lurie and Safai have heavily campaigned against Breed, using her soft-on-crime policies as a base, which prompted the mayor to suddenly introduce new crime-fighting measures. Since she started seeing competition, Breed has begun requiring that welfare recipients stay off drugs to keep receiving benefits, and eased restrictions on police pursuits in October.
Breed’s campaign denied that the changes were in response to her political opponents’ criticism, claiming that she had tried to introduce public safety measures for “years.” Lurie and Safai, however, questioned Breed’s intentions, pointing out that, up until recently, she had done next to nothing to respond to the crime crisis since she took office in 2018.
“It seems pretty desperate,” Safai told Politico. “The mayor has been in office for six years. She’s been in charge.”
In a September poll, 68% of respondents felt that San Francisco was on the “wrong track,” and 65% disapproved of how Breed has led the city.
In another poll from Probolsky Research, a local research and polling group, almost 80% of San Francisco residents said that crime is a major issue for the city, but 65% said they felt they were unhappy with how Breed has responded to the ongoing crime crisis. Only 26% of voters would choose Breed for mayor in 2024, while 64% said they did not think she should be reelected.
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