by Dr. Amos C. Brown

London Breed quickly turned around the attack against her by the Progressive Block to take the lead in the race for mayor of San Francisco. The election is June 5 – time to check your voter registration and volunteer to support a winner who won’t forget you after the election.

One of the seven deadly social sins, recited first by Anglican priest Frederick Lewis Donaldson in 1925 and later by Mahatma Gandhi, is “politics without principle.”

That may be the nicest way to describe the injustice that led to London Breed’s ousting as San Francisco’s first Black woman mayor.

Ms. Breed justly assumed the role of acting mayor earlier this year following Mayor Ed Lee’s fatal heart attack. Her swift ascension from public housing resident to the city’s top executive was the epitome of the American dream. Against great odds, this native San Franciscan emerged from poverty, attaining both undergraduate and graduate degrees before launching a career in public service that has aimed to help San Franciscans like her break through the barriers of poverty and glass ceilings.

But that’s not the story that was told loudly and angrily by the so-called San Francisco Progressive Block that formed just months before Mayor Lee’s untimely death. One would think that the progressives would cheer a qualified person’s ascension from San Francisco public housing to City Hall. Not this particular group.

The party that jeers at the consequences of white privilege ended up forcing a vote on the Board of Supervisors that replaced an African American woman as mayor with a white man who supervises the city’s wealthiest districts. This is not playing the race card. It amounts to dealing with the racist deck that was played out.

Even more disingenuous were the reasons to remove Breed from office: Firstly, that she should not be acting mayor, chair of the board and also a candidate for mayor and, secondly, that somehow she is in the pockets of deep-pocket developers.

The party that jeers at the consequences of white privilege ended up forcing a vote on the Board of Supervisors that replaced an African American woman as mayor with a white man who supervises the city’s wealthiest districts.

Let’s unpack these hellacious assumptions. The first claim is outright nonsense, as Sen. Diane Feinstein similarly assumed the role of acting mayor in 1978 following the assassinations of San Francisco’s Mayor George Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk. Ms. Feinstein, who like Breed was the Board of Supervisors’ president at the time, became acting mayor for the exact same reason as Breed: It is the city’s protocol. No one attempted to oust Ms. Feinstein.

Without a good enough reason to unseat Ms. Breed, the political operatives of the self-proclaimed progressive party needed a better accusation. Thus came the charge that London Breed is in the pocket of developer Ron Conway, a claim that is unfounded and ridiculous.

In fact, it was discovered that Mr. Farrell, who the progressive supervisors picked to replace Ms. Breed as acting mayor, is the one who has been taking money from Conway. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Farrell has “counted Conway as an investor in his venture capital firm since 2011.”

At a forum on voting at Third Baptist Church are Rev. Amos Brown, Board of Supervisors President London Breed and Rev. Jesse Jackson on March 2, 2016. Like the two veterans of Black leadership, Rev. Brown and Rev. Jackson, San Francisco’s entire Black community is proud to welcome London to leadership. – Photo: Johnnie Burrell

The progressive faction on the board never once included London Breed, herself a moderate, in their decision-making. This doesn’t add up to progressive politics aimed at uplifting the poor and downtrodden in San Francisco. This played out more like the wolf in sheep’s clothing – an elite class stopping at nothing to hold onto power.

It is a dagger to the reputation of true progressives who strive to ensure that San Francisco’s vast economic gains are shared by all, not by the few. Does this bode well for the so-called image of San Francisco being a progressive, inclusive city?

That question can only be answered by the voters when they look at all the facts and do the just act of voting for a competent, qualified person who has not only demonstrated the ability to lead the city, but is demonstrated to be a person of character, competency, positive social chemistry, compassion and passion, and with an ability to relate to all people. That is what Breed represents as a champion of homeless rights and affordable housing and advocacy for dreamers, among other issues.

Do not let the slander get in the way of the facts. We should be swayed, instead, by the candidate with the courage to do the right thing, who is not intimidated by any forces, no matter how powerful.

The unholy alliance that ousted London Breed is the same type of group taken to task by Dr. Benjamin Elijah Mays, the late civil rights leader, Morehouse College president and spiritual mentor to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Dr. Mays famously attacked some white liberals who claimed to promote racial equality but did so only for the purpose of retaining their power.

In Dr. Mays’ final address to graduates, he called it right when he said: “Discrimination in the future will not be administered by poor whites and the people who believe in segregation but by the ‘liberals’ who believe in a desegregated society but not an integrated society. If this battle can be won, Morehouse will have an equal chance to develop like any other good college in America.

“If discrimination against Negroes is directed now against the predominantly Negro institutions rather than against the individual, the future will be difficult indeed. The Negro’s battle for justice and equality in the future will not be against the Wallaces, the Barnetts and the Maddoxes, but against the subtlety of our ‘liberal friends’ who will wine and dine us in the swankiest hotels, work with us, and still discriminate against us when it comes to money and power.

“This battle must be won because for a long time the wealth of this nation will be in the hands of white Americans and not Negroes. The abolition of economic and philanthropic discrimination is the first order of the day, not for the good of the Negroes alone but for the nation as a whole.”

Do not let the slander get in the way of the facts. We should be swayed, instead, by the candidate with the courage to do the right thing, who is not intimidated by any forces, no matter how powerful.

Friends, in the city of St. Francis, we need a leader not beholden to maintaining a political party’s power or ideology, but who will represent a genuine willingness to share power and money with the marginalized and underserved.

Dr. Amos C. Brown is pastor of Third Baptist Church of San Francisco, chair of the National NAACP Religious Affairs Committee and of the Social Justice Commission, National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc. He can be reached at dramoscbrown@thirdbaptist.org.

1 COMMENT

  1. I’m white man but the color has nothing to do with how to handle with respect and response from sexually religious and Mr mighty A.D.A. smartass client and I’m grateful for Mrs London bBreed and that I’m willing to having 23 million people who will support her to be fair mayor in San Francisco but I’m aware of the situation that Mrs London Breed have gotten the raw end of the stick and then I’m gotten it for over 25 year’s of discrimination by the top notch CBHS management members?

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