This made-for-TV event is not going to look good on TV, as Mayor Breed and the Board of Supervisors were heckled off their own stage and reportedly had a brick thrown at them at a Tuesday joint press conference on drug dealing at U.N. Plaza.
The San Francisco Board of Supervisors meets every Tuesday afternoon, and per the City charter, the mayor has to appear for a “question time” at one of those meetings every month. On Tuesday, that was scheduled with much fanfare as an outdoor press conference at U.N. Plaza, where clearly both Mayor Breed and Supervisor Aaron Peskin hoped to burnish their credentials as cracking down on the drug trade (Peskin was given an advance op-ed for it in the Examiner). And to make it all look good on television, crews power-sprayed U.N. Plaza to a spick-and-span state, and the SF Standard reported last week they ordered “$650 for Board of Supervisors tablecloths” for the occasion. Honestly… do they not already have any tablecloths at City Hall?
The whole thing was very much political theater, but it was not the theater they’d hoped for. The event started at 2 p.m., but by 2:12 p.m., neither Breed nor Peskin was able to get in many words edgewise, as they were being ruthlessly heckled and shouted down by the assembled crowd. It was unclear the nature of the protest, because it was difficult to hear the hecklers, but SFist could hear audible chants of “No more cops!” and “Get rid of Urban Alchemy.”
NEW: After the public shouted down the Board of Supervisors and Mayor London Breed's public question time in UN Plaza, @AaronPeskin recessed the meeting and moved it back to City Hall. https://t.co/AV1pHf5nOJ pic.twitter.com/PC2bLJuKKY— Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez (@FitzTheReporter) May 23, 2023
As the shouting grew louder, Breed seemed to indicate that she was looking to Peskin to pull the vaudeville hook and get everyone off stage. “I’m not sure without listening to the public that this is going to be the right forum to be able to answer your question thoroughly,” she said.
Peskin compiled, saying, “We will recess this meeting to the Board of Supervisors chambers. You are all welcome to join us.”
Breed’s speech actually got off on the right foot, starting as she’d planned with a passionate stemwinder, and she seemed to maybe even be testing some reelection campaign lines. “I am doing this job without fear of losing it,” she said. “Why should someone else’s rights be put before their needs and their safety and what they deserve, in a place like San Francisco that claims to be so compassionate and liberal. What about them? At the end of the day, some people are going to like it and some people aren't.”
That riled up Breed’s supporters, but riling up her supporters also seemed to rile up the hecklers. And the hecklers won this round.
WATCH: Police officers restrain a woman who reportedly threw a brick toward city officials shortly after this afternoon's open-air meeting at UN Plaza was cut short by hecklers.— The San Francisco Standard (@sfstandard) May 23, 2023
The brick hit a high school student.
More information here: https://t.co/PflnrTYb3N pic.twitter.com/78wR5USu3J
Once the board and the mayor reconvened safely indoors, Peskin added that “There was someone who threw an object, and no one was injured.” The SF Standard is reporting that item was a brick, and that the brick did strike “a Galileo High School student who was with a Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps class presenting flags for the meeting.”