Past and present Mission District representatives are doubling down on their support for mayoral hopeful Mark Leno. Indeed, unlike recent past mayoral elections, the Mission District appears to be in play.
On Thursday morning, standing beside District 9 Supervisor Hillary Ronen and her predecessor David Campos at the 24th Street BART plaza, Leno trumpeted his plans for small business, housing and homelessness — issues he believes deeply affect the Mission.
“I’m so proud to be standing here in my district, supporting Mark Leno for the next mayor of San Francisco,” Ronen said.
She emphasized that Leno’s legislative history and plans for housing, homelessness, street sanitation and crime are among the most realistic and detailed in the field of candidates.
To tackle housing and the homelessness crises, Leno pledged to build and refurbish 5,000 low-income, moderate-income, and supportive housing units each year. He also said he would make sure the budget includes additional funds to end city homelessness by 2020.
A crowd of mostly Leno supporters waved signs bearing his name and cheered as he made his pledges. Some passersby stopped to listen, while others approached him during his speech.
“Are you a Democrat or a Republican?” asked an older lady with a basket in tow.
“I’m a Democrat!” replied Leno as the lady walked away.
David Campos, now the chair of the San Francisco Democratic County Central Committee, said he is casting his first vote for Leno in the election’s ranked-choice voting system. He echoed Ronen in calling Leno’s plans “detailed and realistic.”
“Not enough to talk about change; you have to deliver on that change,” he said.
Campos said that Leno is the Central Committee’s first choice and Kim, he said, is the committee’s second choice. Ronen, too, has endorsed both candidates, although not in any particular order, saying only that they both would be excellent and have “different strengths.”
As Mission Local reported in March, both Leno and District 6 Supervisor Jane Kim are focusing resources in District 9. Kim has a field office on Mission Street, Leno’s is not far away in the Castro, and both appeal to the area’s working-class, progressive politics.
Recently, however, Board of Supervisors President London Breed’s campaign has become more active in the district. Breed signs are popping up in merchant windows along the district’s main drags. And Breed, who has been conspicuously absent from many mayoral forums, attended the SF Latino Forum last week in the Mission.
On Thursday, Campos took a shot at Breed for heading a Board of Supervisors that worked with Ed Lee “to roll out the red carpet for corporate entities without anything in return.” He mentioned the Twitter tax break, as well as now-state Assemblyman David Chiu’s legislation that “legalized Airbnb without any metrics for how (the company) could be a socially responsible entity in the city.”
The statements, perhaps, served as a knock at Kim as well, since she supported both laws.
A poll released Thursday has Leno and Breed virtually tied for the lead — Leno at 28 percent and Breed at 27 percent — with Kim in third at 17 percent, Angela Alioto at 6 percent, and all other candidates at 12 percent. Nine percent of voters are undecided, according to the poll.
It’s unclear, however, if the poll means anything, aside from the fact that the race is tight.
As evidenced by the candidates’ ramped up presence in the neighborhood, this cycle appears to be the first time in a while that the Mission District is in competition. In 2011, when Ed Lee made his successful first-term run for mayor, it was the progressive District 11 Supervisor John Avalos who won the district’s vote by a landslide.
Leno said after his speech that the Mission was especially important to him because it is “not only the epicenter of the affordability crisis, but also the poster child for unbridled change and growth.”
“It does reflect all that San Francisco is dealing with,” he said.