Overheard in Fog City: Breed Tells It Like It Is; Avalos to Campaign for Davis

Written by Luke Thomas. Posted in News, Politics

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Published on August 20, 2012 with 37 Comments

Community organizer and former Redevelopment Agency Commissioner London Breed. Photo by Luke Thomas.

By Luke Thomas

August 20, 2012

There’s something special about London Breed, the born and bred Western Addition native and former Redevelopment Commissioner who’s vying to be the next District 5 Supervisor.

She’s a fiery scrapper, someone who speaks passionately and eloquently without mincing her words. She’s also leading the field in campaign contributions having amassed more than $85,000 to date.

She could be the next Chris Daly on the Board of Supervisors (Inshallah), someone who will not bow at the altar of establishment pressure, who will fight relentlessly for the voiceless in the pursuit of social and economic justice, and who will hold to account the moneyed special interests that too often dominate politics at the expense of the many.

During a post debate interview sponsored by the Harvey Milk Democratic Club last week, Fog City Journal asked Breed to comment on questions raised about her candidacy, particularly about contributions from protégés and close associates of former Mayor Willie Brown.

Such contributions beg the question of whether Mr. Brown, who is publicly supporting appointed Supervisor Christina Olague, is hedging his bets in case Olague is defeated in the ranked choice race that will be decided by voters in November.

Asked to comment on her contributions, particularly a contribution from Brown’s partner, attorney Steven Kay, Breed said, “Steven Kay and I are good friends and basically he got a lot of shit for giving me money because that’s considered being against Brown – and all the people who are friends with Brown and Rose Pak who gave me money, got a phone call.”

Asked if Brown has two candidates in the race (Olague and Breed), Breed said, “He is supporting my opponent who is the mayor’s appointee for supervisor who I don’t support and who I am running against because she is not the right candidate for District 5.”

Ok, but perhaps you’re his backup in case Olague fails to hold on to the seat. Can you respond to that perception?

“So why do women have to be a pawn for somebody?” Breed fired back. “Why aren’t women strong enough to stand on their own two feet and run and be the kind of voice that… I mean, look at my record, Willie Brown didn’t do that work, I did the work.  Willie Brown didn’t make those decisions on redevelopment – I made those decisions.  Willie Brown didn’t wipe my ass when I was a baby – my grandmother took care of me.  He hasn’t been there through the thick and the thin when I had to grow up and watch at 12 years old a bullet get put in somebody’s head.  You think I give a fuck about a Willie Brown at the end of the day when it comes to my community and the shit that people like Rose Pak and Willie Brown continue to do and try to controls things.  They don’t fucking control me – you go ask them why wouldn’t you support London because she don’t do what the hell I tell her to do.  I don’t do what no motherfucking body tells me to do.”

Now she’s definitely sounding like Chris Daly.

“Let me be clear, I am not for playing games with my life when it comes to politics,” Breed continued. “The work I’ve done for many, many years should really speak for me.  I’ve been consistent in my advocacy for the District.  I’ve not moved to twelve different places in twelve years.  I’ve been in that community, working in the trenches, dealing with the public safety issues, dealing with those things because my people are the ones getting left behind at the end of the day – so I can’t be bought.”

The other criticism we’ve been hearing is that you’re repackaging yourself as a progressive, which doesn’t comport with the more moderate positions you’ve taken, for example, when you served on the Redevelopment Agency and supported Lennar.  Can you respond to that?

“I’m packaging myself as someone who is honest and can stand by any decision I’ve made.  I don’t need to be a progressive, a moderate, a this or a that – I’m a black woman in San Francisco who has lost a tremendous amount of people in District 5 and everyone else who is moving into District 5 claims to be the savior of the black folks there, the families who are there, or the folks who are disenfranchised – where were they when someone got shot and killed at Ella Hill Hutch (community center) in front of a bunch of kids?  Where were they when public housing was getting torn down and we were getting pushed out left and right…where were they in protecting my family and my friends from getting booted out of public housing in District 5?”

“My point is, you want to believe me, well come see me in my District, where I’m the only one who is working on the ground every single day with the people who need it the most,” Breed added.

Unopposed Avalos Pledges to Campaign for Davis

Supervisor John Avalos, who is running unopposed in the race for District 11 Supervisor, signaled Saturday he will be campaigning to elect community organizer Julian Davis in the race for District 5 Supervisor.

During the opening of Davis’ campaign headquarters, previously home to the now shuttered Vapor Room, Avalos told the well-attended audience, “I have not endorsed anyone else in District 5. I have been very impressed with Julian’s work over the past eight years. He’s been involved in so many issues as a really true independent progressive in San Francisco. When I say progressive, that’s not a word I bandy around a lot. But I really truly believe that progressivism is about good government, it’s about taking a stand on social justice, it’s about making sure that we are dealing with inequality in our society, that we are promoting opportunity for people, and I see that Julian Davis has stood for many of those principals for years and years.

“When we elect Julian Davis as Supervisor in District 5, San Francisco, we’ll have a real independent progressive who’s going to stand for all these issues.

“He’s not being bankrolled by power brokers in San Francisco. He’s not being bankrolled by Ron Conway or the biggest powerbrokers in Chinatown. It’s going to be everyday people, everyday San Franciscans who are going to make his campaign successful. It’s a people-powered campaign much like we had last year in the mayor’s race.

“I’m proud and honored to be supporting you, Julian. I’ll be here, because I’m running unopposed in District 11,” Avalos added.

Davis, who has been endorsed by Supervisors David Campos, Avalos and former Board of Supervisors President Matt Gonzalez, was also endorsed today by Assemblymember Tom Ammiano.

“Julian represents a new generation of progressive leadership that San Francisco desperately needs,” Ammiano said. “He shares my values of justice and equality. I know we can count on him in City Hall.”

District 11 Supervisor John Avalos at the Julian Davis for District 5 Supervisor campaign headquarters grand opening on Saturday in the Haight. Photo by Francesca Alati.

Luke Thomas

Luke Thomas

Luke Thomas is a former software developer and computer consultant who proudly hails from London, England. In 2001, Thomas took a yearlong sabbatical to travel and develop a photographic portfolio. Upon his return to the US, Thomas studied photojournalism to pursue a career in journalism. In 2004, Thomas worked for several neighborhood newspapers in San Francisco before accepting a partnership agreement with the SanFranciscoSentinel.com, a news website formerly covering local, state and national politics. In September 2006, Thomas launched FogCityJournal.com. The BBC, CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox News, New York Times, Der Spiegel, San Francisco Chronicle, San Francisco Magazine, 7x7, San Francisco Examiner, San Francisco Bay Guardian and the San Francisco Weekly, among other publications and news outlets, have published his work. Thomas is a member of the Freelance Unit of the Pacific Media Workers Guild, TNG-CWA Local 39521 and is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.

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