Former SF supervisor and interim mayor Mark Farrell officially threw his hat in the ring to challenge London Breed for mayor this November, so now Breed has three moderate opponents (two of whom are pretty wealthy).
It is a surprise to absolutely no one that former SF supervisor Mark Farrell is announcing his run for mayor today, as reported by the Chronicle. He’s been indicating he would run for the better part of the last three months (and perhaps secretly fundraising that whole time), and people in his orbit leaked to the SF Standard that he was definitely running earlier this month.
Today Farrell makes it official with a slickly produced campaign announcement video, claiming “we got guns and drugs off our streets” during Farrell’s six months as interim mayor in 2018, which anyone who lived here in 2018 would surely dispute.
I'm running for Mayor for my family & for families across San Francisco.— Mark Farrell (@MarkFarrellSF) February 13, 2024
Over the past 5 years, I’ve watched our beloved City crumble.
I have a clear vision for a safer, cleaner, & more vibrant San Francisco.
Join our campaign today: https://t.co/PuUndDsCia pic.twitter.com/BoeCKaVLOc
Farrell’s Tuesday campaign rollout was carefully planned. As Mission Local notes, he consciously timed it not to compete for attention with the Super Bowl or its hangover. He also had a Heather Knight-penned New York Times interview clearly planned in advance and ready to go (among many other exclusive interviews running today), and Knight perhaps correctly describes Farrell as “the most rightward leaning” of the four announced major candidates.
The San Francisco mayor’s race just got more crowded.— Heather Knight (@hknightsf) February 13, 2024
Mark Farrell, a venture capitalist and former interim mayor, wants to “massively” increase police staffing, put cars back on Market St, eradicate tent camps and compel drug overdose victims who survive into hospital holds. pic.twitter.com/pn3w6fDmYA
“Over the past five years, I have watched our city crumble, along with the rest of San Francisco’s residents,” Farrell said in his Chronicle interview. “People don’t feel safe. The conditions of our streets have never been worse. Downtown and our local economy has collapsed and we have literally become the butt of jokes across the country … I simply believe that we cannot afford another four years of Mayor Breed’s failed leadership.”
London Breed’s predecessor Mark Farrell is running for mayor. Here’s what he’d do if he wins:— San Francisco Chronicle (@sfchronicle) February 13, 2024
- replace the police chief
- create a new 24/7 intake center to help homeless
- reopen all of Market Street to carshttps://t.co/qy5LlpEfLX
Farrell is out of the gate with more concrete overhaul proposals than Mayor Breed’s three other challengers: He says he would for ask for the resignation of SFPD Chief Bill Scott and "flood" the police academy with new recruits; he would reopen Market Street to cars; take a "zero-tolerance approach and policy for all crime in San Francisco"; and he would create a “24/7 intake center” for homelessness services.
So in that sense, there may be a lane for Farrell to stand out in a four-way moderate race. But that would also require political skill, and Farrell may have lost his fastball in the five-plus years he’s been out of office and instead in the venture capital business (that is, if Mark Farrell ever even had a fastball).
Farrell will be running in November against Breed, who may be unpopular, but has the power of incumbency — San Francisco has not voted out a sitting mayor since 1995. Farrell and Levi Strauss heir Daniel Lurie both have personal wealth and connections, which will certainly help them blanket the city with advertising. And the fourth challenger Ahsha Safai has, well, he has his work cut out for him.
Image: @MarkFarrellSF via Twitter