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San Francisco mayor had secret meeting with Nancy Pelosi on city’s drug crisis

San Francisco Mayor London Breed joined members of Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing during a tour of City Gardens, a new supportive housing community for formerly homeless residents in San Francisco’s SoMa neighborhood on April 14, 2023. | Stephen Lam/San Francisco Chronicle/Pool

San Francisco Mayor London Breed met with U.S. House Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi, U.S. Attorney Ismail Ramsey and other officials on May 22 to discuss secret plans to battle the city’s drug crisis.

Breed told the Board of Supervisors about the clandestine huddle after an open-air meeting on May 23 in United Nations Plaza was forced to move back into City Hall when hecklers made it difficult for city officials to speak and a woman threw a brick in their direction. 

The meeting in U.N. Plaza was an attempt by Board President Aaron Peskin to force Breed to address the drug crisis at its de facto ground zero in Downtown San Francisco’s Civic Center. 

“I’m not at liberty to speak about the details, but know that everyone is focused on this very important issue,” Breed told the board last week of her meeting with Pelosi and others. “There is confidential information that we will not be able to allow you or even myself to be exposed to, as it relates to what we are doing to address this problem.”

Mayor London Breed describes her plan to enlist federal and state help to address San Francisco's worsening drug crisis. | SFGovTV

The mayor’s comments came hot on the heels of a plan announced by Gov. Gavin Newsom to deploy resources from the California Highway Patrol and the state National Guard to San Francisco to help city police deal with the drug crisis. 

Speaking at a homeless shelter in the Mission on Tuesday, Breed teased more details of the meeting, telling The Standard that the goal of the coordinated effort was to disrupt drug-dealing activity that has been moving away from the Tenderloin and SoMa neighborhoods. Breed said she wouldn’t give more details away so as not to tip off drug dealers.

Gov. Gavin Newsom attends a press conference with Mayor London Breed at San Francisco City Hall on April 26, 2022. | Yalonda M. James/San Francisco Chronicle via AP

“Our goal is to have the results speak for themselves and to talk about the information of the arrests that we’ve made or the data that shows the change,” said the mayor. “Rather than providing a road map to people who are actually out there […] dealing the drugs and doing what they’re doing.”

A Pelosi spokesperson confirmed the congresswoman was at the meeting and said her office did not have further details to share.

A spokesperson for the San Francisco Police Department and also declined to provide further details. A U.S. Attorney’s Office spokesperson confirmed the meeting took place but also declined to comment.

“I think we haven’t sufficiently managed or allocated our resources,” said Peskin when asked about the meeting. “I have no idea what she was speaking to the Speaker Emerita about or what the Speaker Emerita could do.” 

District Attorney Brooke Jenkins’ office did not respond to requests for comment by publication time.

David Sjostedt contributed additional reporting for this story.
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