The mayor defended her Tenderloin emergency plan on a popular national podcast, but her joke that she "would remove the Board of Supervisors" and critique that they’re mostly white will surely stoke hostilities.
Kara Swisher may not be a household name, but the veteran journalist is highly respected in tech and news gathering fields, and she’s been consistently able to move up the media food chain for decades. Among her current incarnations is that of the host of a popular New York Times podcast Sway, and on Thursday, that podcast welcomed Mayor London Breed for a 42-minute interview that Breed peppered with attacks on the board of supervisors and district attorney Chesa Boudin.
“I would remove the Board of Supervisors!,” Breed laughed, responding to a question about if she could remove “one thing in your way, what would it be?” (She quickly walked back that obvious joke with “I don’t mean get rid of the supervisors” and “I think having supervisors who are accountable to the entire city could be very helpful"). But her slam on Boudin and the supervisors that “They’re also white. They are not Black people” is probably going to be an enduring sound bite, for better or worse.
The full context here is a question about her thoughts on her latest Tenderloin crime crackdown announcement, and Swisher asked, "So who is in your way then? Is that Boudin? He’s concerned with criminalizing substance abuse."
“I think a lot of people, like some members of the board, like Boudin, did not grow up in poverty in San Francisco,” Breed said. “They did not grow up in these kinds of conditions. They have a theory as to what they believe based on their ideology. But they’re also white. They are not Black people who’ve had these unfortunately traumatizing experiences in communities where there’s not trust with the police, but also there’s a desire to be safe.”
When asked about her thoughts on Boudin recall, Breed said, “Oh, I do know how I’m going to vote. But I’m not ready to reveal what I plan to do publicly.” She added, "I wouldn’t say it’s a tense relationship" between her and Boudin.
Breed also claimed, implausibly, that she had not meant to use the word “bullshit” in her December 14 “all the bullshit that has destroyed our city” speech. (It was not her first, nor second public “bullshit” remark.)
“Well, I basically did not plan to curse publicly,” she said. “I know many of my elders, including my family members, were like, ‘London, I can’t believe that you cursed on TV’ But they understood where it was coming from.”
And in a question built for political intrigue, Swisher asked if Breed would run for another term (she said “Yeah”) and even if she’d run for aging Dianne Feinstein’s Senate seat.
“I’m not going to rule anything out,” Breed said. “I don’t know what the future holds. And I’m a very spiritual person. So I, of course, got to pray about it and make sure it feels right in my heart. And right now, I love being mayor.”
It’s an old rule of politics that when someone invokes God, Jesus, or praying when asked such a question, that means they are definitely running for higher office. The question is whether remarks about “bullshit” and “they’re white” would help or hurt such a campaign.
The full 42-minute interview can be found here.
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