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Politics & Policy

Mark Farrell touts tough-on-crime stance during Chinatown campaign stop

A group stands outdoors holding red signs with a man's photo and Chinese text, with a speaker addressing them.
Mayoral hopeful Mark Farrell stands alongside Chinatown leaders during a press conference at Portsmouth Square on Saturday. | Source: Joel Umanzor/The Standard

Former Mayor Mark Farrell—who is hoping to get his old job back come November—campaigned at Portsmouth Square in San Francisco’s Chinatown on Saturday afternoon, hammering his tough-on-crime-and-homelessness message in a neighborhood he called “the heart and soul of our city.”

Surrounded by dozens of Chinese supporters holding “Mark Farrell for Mayor" signs, the candidate harkened back to his local upbringing in the nearby Marina District. Farrell reminisced about going to church at  Old St. Mary’s Cathedral on Grant Avenue and playing for the Chinatown YMCA’s boys basketball team.

“I’m running for mayor because the city I grew up in is not the San Francisco that we have today,” Farrell said. “Over the last five years, I’ve watched San Francisco crumble.”

Ex-Mayor Mark Farrell walks through Chinatown while campaigning in the neighborhood on Saturday, March 30, 2024.
Ex-Mayor Mark Farrell, who is hoping to get his old job back, campaigned in Chinatown on Saturday, promising to crack down on crime and homelessness. | Source: Joel Umanzor/The Standard

Since announcing his campaign in early February, Farrell has doubled down on his hard-line positions on policing and homelessness, vowing to fire San Francisco Police Chief Bill Scott on his first day and authorize encampment sweeps, as he did in 2018 as interim mayor following the death of Mayor Ed Lee.

“The safety of our residents should be the number one job of city government, and we have failed over the last six years,” he said Saturday, adding that sidewalks are meant to be used by the public. “They do not belong to people who choose to live in tents on our streets and think they can do that forever and ever.”

After the press conference, Farrell walked the neighborhood with community leaders and met with business owners at the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association on Stockton Street.

Ex-Mayor Mark Farrell speaks to Chinatown residents at the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association of America on Saturday, March 30, 2024.
Mayoral candidate Mark Farrell speaks to potential voters at the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association on Saturday. | Source: Joel Umanzor/The Standard

Tina Wong, who described herself as a Chinatown community leader, said she was endorsing Farrell because he understands firsthand how crime has affected the citizens of San Francisco.

Farrell has said that last year, his own home was burglarized in the middle of the night while his family was asleep inside. 

“He has experienced how important public safety is,” Wong said.