Former District 9 Supervisor says Leno is his number one pick for mayor. Photo by Julian Mark

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.

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Julian grew up in the East Bay and moved to San Francisco in 2014. Before joining Mission Local, he wrote for the East Bay Express, the SF Bay Guardian, and the San Francisco Business Times.

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  1. The old monied, old guard of San Fran will never allow Leno to become mayor. Never, just too radical an entourage surrounding him. Him and his supporters can think he’s a player all they want but the line will be drawn, rest assured. He’s only a player to the degree that the old monied, old guard allow. He’s only a player to the degree that he stays within his lane. It’s his progressive pals that in many respects have put the city in a negative light nationally. His big supporter here, David Campos in as singularly responsible for the homeless crisis, filthy streets, and rampant crime throughout the Mission as anyone out there. Campos, the cop-hater himself? Was it necessary to go there? Campos and his buddy, our neighborhood’s former BART Director as well as Leno endorser Tom Radulovich, couldn’t even get the escalators at BART in dependable working condition for years, not to mention the filth, stench, and surrounding denizens of BART. That’s a basic and direct responsibility of our local elected officials so that should be a lesson. I went through Leno’s punch list of campaign wants and suggest everyone else do the same. Everyone of them is code for increased taxes, fees, AND MORE GOVERNMENTAL CONTROL. Who’s been hit hardest by the fifteen dollar an hour minimum wage? Probably those very Mission District merchants you, Campos, and Ronen purport to represent, that’s who. Who even works for fifteen dollars an hour any more, and why would they want to live in San Francisco, easily one of the if not the most expensive city in the United States? Are they really entitled, is that in part the argument?
    And here’s one of the best, straight from his Mark for mayor website: “As Mayor he will lead a regional effort to build housing, and will create 50,000 affordable, workforce, and permanent supportive housing units in San Francisco in the next ten years.” Notice the sleight of hand “lead a regional effort.” And: “As Mayor, I will work to create, build and refurbish 5,000 low-income, workforce, and supportive housing units annually.” That ain’t going to happen. It’s all campaign bluster, rest assured. It will never, ever happen if the private sector doesn’t think it can make an outsized buck. Investors MUST be rewarded or they go elsewhere and to expect government to step in? Well, ask them in any former Soviet Block country how that worked out. Heck, that whole idea fell apart in London thirty years ago. It’s all an effort to stir up the masses with false hope and deny that change is happening. Not only that, Mark seems to have a short memory with his law and order past and now attempts to redeem himself with some of that old-time religion. He may be as soft on crime a politician as ever existed. He repeatedly tried to decriminalize offenses while in Sacramento, and that’s fine except now the chickens have come home to roost while he attempts to backpedal the disasterous effects his line of reasoning have brought upon San Franciscans and our visitors. We maybe should have listened a little closer to those that had reservations about Prop 47. Really Mark, trying to project yourself as a law and order guy with ‘the answers”? Who’s buying it? A day late and a dollar short, my friend, and lo San Francisco if we fall for it. Mark is a good guy, no doubt, and has his heart in the right spot, but the City is passing you guys by, hopefully at least. By the way, anyone else notice the veiled reference to corruption and mismanagement in the City? Where might that be? The dollars spent on our homeless crisis, that’s where. And what interests are running that whole morass?

  2. All three of the candidates support almost equally moronic policies that will drive up housing prices and ramp up inequality. It’s a bummer to watch, but at this point the people who vote for these people are only reaping what they sow. Breed is the best of a bad bunch, in that she might cause inequality and housing prices to go up the slowest — but not by much. Kim is certainly the worst. Leno is pretty much as bad as Kim.

    The only way to fix this problem is to empower developers to build market rate housing as fast as humanly possibly and increase the density around transit corridors by about a hundred-fold. All the BMR, low-income housing solutions are feel good policies that won’t do a damn thing and in fact even make the problem worse over time. Madness.