SAN FRANCISCO — In her first state of the city address, Mayor London Breed acknowledged San Francisco has problems with homelessness, bad street behavior and housing, but she said she was optimistic about the future and tired of the negativity.
The Democratic mayor addressed several hundred supporters Wednesday at the new National LGBTQ Center for the Arts. Her remarks came six months after she won a special election following the sudden death of former Mayor Ed Lee.
"The question is: What do we do next? Hang our head and give up? Concede our problems are too great and the soul of our city is lost?" Breed said. "Anybody who thinks that's what we'll do knows nothing about this city."
Breed said she would champion a November ballot measure that would speed up the construction of certain affordable and teacher housing proposals.
"No more bureaucracy. No more costly appeals. No more 'not in my neighborhood,'" she said to cheers.
Breed said she would also use Tuesday's bankruptcy filing by the country's largest utility, Pacific Gas & Electric, to push for public power if possible. She added that the city remains a sanctuary for immigrants and transgender people despite what she called fearmongering by the White House.
San Francisco has been ridiculed in national press for city streets dotted with feces and used needles. Residents complain about sluggish public transit, congested city streets and constant construction.
And housing costs are enormous in San Francisco, where rent for a one-bedroom easily tops $3,000 a month. Teachers and others say it's impossible to make ends meet.
Attorney Harmeet Dhillon lives in the upscale Russian Hill neighborhood, which is full of homes that are worth at least $1 million. But she says neighbors worry every day about getting mugged.
"I'm a conservative Republican, but everyone in my neighborhood is not and 100 percent of them feel the city is going down the tubes," she said.
Breed also said she does not support a plan to earmark part of a $185 million windfall for teacher pay, which educators and some supervisors are calling for.
She wants to spend the money on homelessness and housing services, carrying out a controversial ballot measure approved by voters in November 2018.
Breed had not backed Proposition C, which divided the city's tech leaders, but said the voters had spoken.