Now that she's clinched the race for the city's top job, San Francisco Mayor-elect London Breed is getting ready to bear down on the city's most pressing problems. After her July 11 inauguration, Breed plans to begin immediately working on solutions to curb homelessness, treat the mentally ill roaming the city's streets and — possibly — opening the country's first safe injection site. And with her job only secured until 2020, she'll have to work fast.


00:00:00Theo welcome to san francisco san francisco chronicle podcast on the people and politics making headlines in the city by the bay I'm here with mayor elect london breed who will take office july eleventh and focus immediately on tent encampments mental illness and potentially becoming the first mayor in
00:00:27the united states toe open a safe injection site she's only guaranteed to serve until january twenty twenty so the next eighteen months at city hall should be very interesting Thanks for joining us here at the chronicle today Thanks for having me Last time you were on my podcast
00:00:42you were a candidate running for mayor and now you're the mayor elect Congratulations Thank you Has it sunk in yet I don't know if it really sunk in it doesn't I feel like it until i go outside and people stop me on the streets and they're congratulating me
00:00:59when i'm in the grocery store Are you getting recognized Warn one yes for sure everywhere i go we definitely getting recognized Mohr and what's been the biggest surprise would you say so far in the past couple weeks I think that the biggest surprise has definitely been the excitement
00:01:17and the happiness that exists throughout the city just everybody all walks of life all different communities people are happy and excited and i'm seeing more smiles And that feels good it feels amazing and i think i just didn't even think about that i just ran a race and
00:01:36talked about the issues and we have experienced i think ah very challenging time here in the city with the loss of our mayor and with the things that happened at the board and really challenging campaign with a lot of negativity and then the count happened and people were
00:01:53refreshing their computer screens and then when it finally happened you know just this hole nuke positive energy has i think really taken over san francisco despite our challenges and the things that we no we need to get done to help address some of these issues people are happy
00:02:13they're excited and so that is really giving me life here it is making me even more excited about the opportunity to do this job it's pretty incredible as a woman to know that you're only the second woman mayor we've ever had telling yes well anyway the chronicle is
00:02:30running its thurn annual san francisco homeless project coming up and we're updating readers on where things stand in the city's seemingly never ending battle to tackle homelessness and i was wondering if you could describe how you think the city is doing on that front and what changes if
00:02:44any you want to make when you become there i think what what what's challenging about what we're experiencing in san francisco with homelessness is that we're doing a lot to help a lot of people but for all of those folks that we are able to help there are
00:03:00still people that are just challenging the help and then people who are newly becoming homeless And so i think part of you know what we're doing right is we're pushing for um relationships with people who own some of the buildings in the city ahh who are working with
00:03:18the city like the auburn hotel where we worked to open seventy new units of housing for formerly homeless veterans where we worked to build the richardson apartments where we opened one hundred and twenty units for people who are developmentally disabled and need wrap around services support we have
00:03:39success stories here in san francisco where we have provided opportunities where people are homeward bound program sending over ten thousand people home to other cities and throughout the united states to connect with their families that have not gone back through our system So there are things that we're
00:03:56doing right but i do think that prevention is a really important part of trying to make sure people don't end up homeless in the first place um so this is why as mayor and even as a member currently of the board of supervisors i'm working to ensure that
00:04:11there is funding for right to civil council prop f that just passed i'm working to make sure that we provide housing subsidies to try and keep people in their homes in the first place which we'll help with this this challenge but there's more work to be done because
00:04:29you know there are other challenges with our homeless population specifically people who suffer with mental illness with addiction and the need to reform some of our laws in order to address the issue we're going to have challenges with trying to change our conservatorship laws however i'm hopeful because
00:04:48senator scott wieners bill sb ten for five made it through the senate thirty one zero on and that's pretty amazing and if it gets to a point where it is state law and the governor signs it we in san francisco having opportunity to opt into that program and
00:05:05you know hopefully that's exactly what we were will do and we're talking about the possibility of helping anywhere between one hundred and two hundred people that we already have identified but we really can't do anything for people we've gotten into the navigation senators and other programs that we
00:05:22can't keep in those programs for various reasons and so i'm hope awful that we will be able tio at least doom or in that regard as well as you know the challenges toe laws around safe injection sites because of you know what we're experiencing clearly and havin for
00:05:40far too long around the needles that are on our streets and people who sadly or shooting up in public people who suffer from addiction having safe injection sites could really help with that particular challenge but more importantly provide a real option for people to get treatment on demand
00:05:57and that's what i see as you know two solutions that could contribute to helping move our city in a better direction as it relates to our homeless challenges on the conservatorship front When you proposed to the board of supervisors that they just signed the resolution saying they supported
00:06:15senator wieners idea they were reluctant to even do that how are you going to convince and even more progressive board of supervisors that they do need to be stronger on conservatorships for the mental Leo Well i think that there's a new member of the board of supervisors coming
00:06:28on board that's interested in looking at this legislation and supporting it and i think there has to be of course ah deeper conversation around how this will actually help those individuals that we no need this kind of support so part of it is getting my department To meet
00:06:46with members of the board of supervisors helping them to specifically understand the impacts and how this could potentially make a difference with some of those challenges so working with the board is going to be important to getting the legislation passed that allows us to opt in and also
00:07:01i've been in conversation with senator weiner because i want to make sure that we potentially have the case to take to voters if necessary if we can't get us all about it if you can't get it through yeah if that's an option and so i think that's one
00:07:15of the things that i briefly talked to him about the possibility because i think what's clear is that people want to see change and part of the need to move things forward involves doing things is that some are somewhat controversial but are hopefully going to get us to
00:07:34a better result it's not because we don't want to see it it's because we're watching these people die on the streets without the proper medical support and treatment and that is not humane that is not what we should be doing in san francisco so i think trying something
00:07:50different that's going to help people is is most important do you intend to be the first mayor in the united states to open a safe injection site A lot of cities have said they want to but they're all leery about doing so under a president trump administration because
00:08:04it legal concerns are you goingto be the first one to actually take the step and open one You know i i i want to be i'm you know hopeful it's not because i'm excited about being the first guy i just i want a solution and i think this
00:08:19provides an opportunity to solve what is a serious crises not just here in san francisco but throughout the country it's why mayor de blasio from new york reached out to me and wanted to understand what we're doing and in fact put out a press release where i did
00:08:36make comments talking about how he wants to propose something of that nature in new york because of their opioid crises his office had heard about the work that i had been doing here in san francisco they wanted to have a better understanding of what that is and how
00:08:51it could help with what they're dealing with and so i think there are a number of challenges you know we have to be make sure that we're protecting the employees of our nonprofit agencies are public health folks we have to make sure that we don't put them in
00:09:06a compromising position either along with medicare al and a number of other reimbursement methods and funding and so on and so forth but i do think um that it's something that could make a real difference and get a timeline when you'd like to see the first one or
00:09:23two open like yesterday And we have a possible funding sources for an opening And i think that i just have to make sure his mayor that we work with the city attorney we work with the non profits we work with their attorneys um to get to a better
00:09:39place in order to um open one of the first sites here in the city Um but more importantly i just really i want to solve the problem and i think that this is one of the things that is going to help us get to a better place And
00:09:57the good news is that san franciscans in the past were less supportive of this idea Um there was polling done Less than thirty percent of san franciscans supported it and the chamber did a poll and it came out this year that showed that's sixty seven percent of san
00:10:13franciscans actually supports the idea And even on the campaign trail when i had conversations ah with people they said well at first i was adamantly opposed and now i see exactly how this could potentially help so why not try it What's the funding source you mentioned so the
00:10:30funding source is possibly through ah cpm c and a grant through the san francisco foundation that could provide ah source that could help support it but again part of the challenge that we have is protecting you know protecting cpm cpi protecting our institutions and nonprofits that will help
00:10:54us facilitate this particular use and that is definitely going to be a challenge are you willing to put as mayor pharrell called it a target even bigger target on the back of san francisco when it comes to donald trump who already isn't to fund of what we're doing
00:11:11well i don't know if the target could get any bigger than the whole city but you know i think part of it is we we i have certain things that we believe in and you know our values are what makes us a strong city and what makes us
00:11:29um you know i think a great city and part of protecting our values means we protect all of our citizens and sadly we have people who have challenges with addiction and they are part of our city and we need to do something that's going to help address that
00:11:46issue so i think it's not about the desire to put a target on our backs it's just a desire to take care of all of our residents to make san francisco a better place for everyone even though struggling and to just work towards that goal and push forth
00:12:02good policies to achieve that goal a lot of san franciscans think that the city has become too tolerant of bad behavior on our streets and sidewalks when it comes to tent camps bicycle chop shops vandalism species do you think that the sfpd needs to get tougher on these
00:12:20quality of life issues and what will your directive b to the police chief i think it's not just about making sure that our officers are on the streets is and addressing these issues it also has to be about providing opportunities and so part of what i want to
00:12:35do as mayor is to make sure that we're out there on the streets we are talking to people we understand what their issue is but we're providing them with an alternative so for example you know sadly people who are selling drugs on the streets in our communities i
00:12:52grew up with a lot of people who sold drugs as a way to survive i grew up in public housing and many of them cycled in and out of our criminal justice system so what i want to do as mayor is to say basically look here's a job
00:13:06opportunity we will work with you we will help you get on the right path because we have ah you know two point one percent unemployment rate right now and there are plenty of opportunity so connecting people toe opportunities so that they choose the opportunity over basically risking their
00:13:26freedom out on the streets selling drugs i want to make sure that i make it clear here's the opportunity we want to provide you with the opportunity we want to get you on the right path we want you to be patient with us and will be patient with
00:13:39you but we're not going to continue to allow this and the police will need to crack down on many of those issues But it's important from my perspective to make sure that there is a balance i don't want to just start filling up our jails with people I
00:13:56want them to have an opportunity to not go to jail in the first place but more of a firm stand from police officers so often people i'll report calling the police teo complain about some terrible thing happening on their side walk and the police say there's nothing i
00:14:09can do about it is that an okay answer Well i think it depends on the issue if it's you know like for example i mean you can't necessarily put a tent or sleep and lay on the sidewalk like you can't obstruct the ability for the public to get
00:14:25through So i think it just depends on on what is actually happening for example in the haight ashbury community the police have been you know consistently addressing a number of the challenges there because we have had a lot of challenges and part of the solution to our nonprofit
00:14:45organizations that actively worked with many of the folks who are sadly struggling on our streets is and you know holding the nonprofits accountable toe hold their clients accountable to just you know be more respectful to the community in the streets and also making sure that they're delivering that
00:15:03they're helping to achieve the goals that they're there to achieve by supporting this population So everyone has to be held accountable to a certain extent but more importantly you know the police have a responsibility to you know protect the public to deal with public safety concerns and that
00:15:21is something as mayor i would expect them to do Have you made any decisions on department head's moving forward Anybody who should be concerned about their job So i made it clear that i would not campaign for this job you know threatening to take away someone else's job
00:15:39i do think it's important a lot of your competitors did that yeah and and you know there are some challenges with the city and i want to make sure that i go in there i'm meeting with people i understand exactly what they're doing and they i understand exactly
00:15:54what i expect Um and then we try to work towards that goal but ultimately i want to hit the ground running I have a transition team i'm working to move the city in the right direction getting people hired for different positions that i need them hired for with
00:16:11a number of vacant sees but i don't have like a target on anyone's back per se i just know that i will make it clear what i expect and hopefully that particular department head can deliver and if they can't i need to know that But i have my
00:16:30own experiences with a number of department heads and you know it it's just i'm not certain exactly what will occur but a conversation has to be had before anything happens and anyone who's coming in as a new mayor is going to want to create their own team Now
00:16:49you who you're chief of staff will be yet um smiling You will know soon enough And what can you tell me about your inauguration Is july eleventh Yes yes And where will it be It will be at city hall and it will probably we're looking at outside of
00:17:07city hall I understand On the wall on the steps yes because i just i don't want anyone from the community to be turned away so i really who will speak ill of me a part of the ceremony we're working on that and their smile yes because the other
00:17:24thing is i don't want to say anything unless they agree nobody's going to say no he will swear you in working on that okay and any staff appointments that you're sure of yet or all to be determined it will be determined and i think you know we will
00:17:43be able to maybe provide some information if not by the end of this week early next week but were just finalizing some of those details and you know there's a there's a lot to do before you start ready decisions on your replacement on the board so i will
00:17:59tell you i have i have people that i'm going to be meeting with that have expressed interest that have reached out to me and and have expressed interest in the seat and so i will be sitting down with a number of candidates to um ask a lot of
00:18:13questions i think we have a lot of great candidates for the seat but i planned teo ah by the end of this week i start meeting with a number of those candidates so um a decision definitely has not been made but it will be made at the right
00:18:28time and last time you were on the podcast you talked about your housing situation and your roommate had moved out and you were wondering if you should find another roommate but your salary's about to go up by i s so happy i don't know what to do three
00:18:43hundred thirty five thousand dollars a year say that includes benefits and then they take taxes and there's just a lot of money that comes out of that money sounds good but it's still a good salary Yes so what are you going to do has in life I don't
00:18:55know yet because my my i've been focused on just my transition team and inauguration and doing my job as board president still responding to my constituents who still have issues with construction happening when it shouldn't feeling somebody's pothole so i'm focused on all of that but as far
00:19:15as what i plan to do i haven't even thought of it just yet so i i really like where i live i like the neighbourhood i love my neighbours yeah they always look out for me and it just feels like home and it feels like a community s
00:19:30so i just want to make sure you know that i get settled in the position before i make any decisions about what i might d'oh we ran a story recently that a san francisco household has to make just over three hundred thousand dollars a year to afford a
00:19:45median priced home in the city so you would qualify e i would It is my dream toe oh na home in san francisco and so i would love to and it's just definitely something that will happen in my future So i'm excited about that neighborhood would be your
00:20:04ideal The community i grew up in i love it over there i love it and in the western addition and i just i would love to stay in my neighborhood I also asked you last time but want to see if the answer is the same what will be
00:20:19your very first act after your soreness Sauron and his mayor to really focus on the tent encampments to really focus on addressing you know people to go out there to bring it my team out there to understand what people's issues are and to get people off of the
00:20:39streets one person at a time S so i really want to focus on that because that is of serious concern for me it's ah a public health issue and it's something we need to address so that it doesn't continue and it creates more problems in the future great
00:20:55well thanks so much for being with us today it was good to see you thank you this show is part of the san francisco chronicle podcast network Our theme music in san francisco by god's prompt courtesy of the free music archive The show is produced by dominic for
00:21:09casa and fernando diaz For more city hall coverage you can follow dominic on twitter at dominic For casa and me at h night sf check out all of our coverage at sf chronicle Dot com

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