Just weeks before voters head to the polls in a pivotal litmus test of her tenure, Mayor London Breed was shaking the proverbial can at business leaders urging them to back a handful of key races.
“I can't do it alone. I need your help more than ever,” Breed said at the San Francisco Business Times’ Structures forum on Wednesday at the Westin St. Francis in Union Square.
Breed promoted Prop. D, a ballot measure known as Affordable Homes Now that is meant to speed up housing that exceeds affordability minimums, and efforts to shore up law enforcement like a controversial live surveillance program. And she had a few choice words for some members of the Board of Supervisors, who she said were out to lunch on housing and other issues.
“Everyone in this room knows how we have made it difficult to build housing in this city,” Breed said. “Our system is completely broken down with all kinds of bureaucratic, unnecessary drama […] everyone knows it except a majority of the members of the Board of Supervisors.”
A competing ballot measure, Prop. E, was placed on the ballot by the Board of Supervisors. It’s also described as a housing streamlining measure, but tacks on additional labor and occupancy standards and would nullify Prop. D if it receives more votes. Read our entire voter guide for the Nov. 8 election here.
Breed urged business and real estate leaders in the room to support the campaigns of District Attorney Brooke Jenkins, District 6 Supervisor Matt Dorsey and Joel Engardio, who is running to unseat District 4 Supervisor Gordon Mar.
“All of you need to be a part of helping to make sure that this November, we send a clear message—that we get the ballot measures that need to pass, that we continue to keep the candidates in office that we need to keep,” said Breed.
Breed’s predecessor onstage was Hamid Moghadam, the chairman and CEO of San Francisco-based industrial real estate giant Prologis.
Moghadam, who was the victim of an armed robbery outside of his Pacific Heights home in June, didn’t mince words on the city’s problems.
Although Moghadam said he’s “not a quitter” when it comes to his commitment to the city, he noted that in his meetings across various countries San Francisco has gone from being “the envy of the world” to “the laughingstock.”
The real estate executive listed a familiar litany of complaints around street conditions, open-air drug use and homelessness funding that “we’re frankly pissing away.”
“In the 50 years I’ve been here, this is the worst,” Moghadam said. “We need accountability. If I don’t produce the earnings that I’m supposed to, guess how long I’ll have this job? How come that doesn’t happen to our elected officials?”
Moghadam pitched a few solutions, including building political coalitions around nonpartisan issues like fighting crime, moving away from district elections to citywide contests and scorecards for elected officials to gauge their performance.
“Sixty thousand people in a district can elect a supervisor and that supervisor can change the course of this city, which is the engine of a 9 million person Bay Area,” Moghadam said.
The mayor, who was initially scheduled to appear before Moghadam, walked in the room soon after to begin her remarks.
“She might be hiding,” Moghadam joked.
Kevin Truong can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org