SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — Acting Mayor London Breed Wednesday declined to say whether she plans to run for mayor in a special election scheduled for June following the unexpected death of Mayor Ed Lee.
Breed, who is president of the Board of Supervisors and represents District 5, was named acting mayor after Lee was taken to Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital and died early Tuesday.
At a news conference Wednesday to announce a gun buyback event in the city on Saturday, Breed said she had not yet thought about whether she will seek the mayor position permanently.
Breed said her primary focus is on assuring residents that the city government will continue to run smoothly during the transition.
“I’m here to focus on the work that we know needs to be done,” Breed said. “I’m focused on assuring the public that we will be out there taking care of the city, the buses will run, the potholes will get fixed if you call 311.”
Unless the Board of Supervisors votes to appoint someone else as interim mayor, Breed will continue to act as both mayor and supervisor until a June 5 special mayoral election that was called following Lee’s death. Whoever wins that election will serve for the remainder of Lee’s term through January 2020.
The next mayoral election had not been expected to take place until November 2019, and the only person who has formally declared plans to run so far is Mark Leno, a former state senator, assemblyman and city supervisor. Others rumored to be considering a run include Breed, Supervisors Jane Kim and Mark Farrell, Assemblyman David Chiu and City Attorney Dennis Herrera.
However, candidates now only have until Jan. 9 at 5 p.m. to declare their intention to run in the special election, according to city elections officials.
While Breed, who is only the second woman to serve as mayor in San Francisco and the first black woman, declined to state her intentions, she did express confidence in her ability to do the job.
A San Francisco native who grew up in public housing and previously worked as executive director of the African American Art & Culture Complex, Breed won election in 2012 and was re-elected in 2016.
She said today that her experiences were unique for someone holding her position.
“I think I’m blessed to have those experiences. I never forget where I came from and I always use those experiences to make sure I make good decisions on behalf of the city,” Breed said. “I do feel strongly that I’m qualified and I’m prepared to do this job.”
In addition to the mayoral special election, the District 8 seat held by Supervisor Jeff Sheehy will also be on the June 5 ballot. Sheehy, a longtime HIV and AIDS activist and the city’s first openly HIV positive supervisor, was appointed by Lee in January following the election of former Supervisor Scott Weiner to a state Senate seat.
There are those at City Hall who say that Breed’s multiple roles as acting mayor, supervisor and president of the board of supervisors could stretch her thin. The labor required as a possible candidate for full-time mayor may be one job too many.
“We’re in the holidays now, but at some point the legislative and the executive should have separate leadership,” said Sheehy.
There are also those who feel that Breed serving as acting mayor for the next six months would give her a leg up in the June election. They want a caretaker who won’t run.
“The bloom is off. It was only a few hours before people started speculating about who would ultimately replace Ed Lee, and not just as interim,” said former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown.
So one question is: when will the Supervisors make the call?
“We needs to move fairly quickly,” said Sheehy.
According to the elections office, candidates who wish to reduce the cost of filing nomination papers for the offices of mayor or for the District 8 seat have until Dec. 26 to gather signatures of registered voters on a petition in lieu of filing fees.
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