Why London Breed Chose The Police Over The Pride Parade
San Francisco is a city of symbols. We’re iconic for a bunch of shit we don’t really live up to. The current situation London Breed has found herself in relation to the LGBTQIA+ Pride Parade is emblematic of the issues facing San Francisco itself
If you’ve been following national media at all in the last few years, you know that San Francisco has been rebranded. The City by the Bay used to be regarded as a quirky, progressive tourist spot where everything was gay, high tech and expensive. Picture matching with Mark Zuckerberg on a premium Grindr account, now take that experience and expand it into a city. That’s kind of how outsiders used to view San Francisco.
Fox News and other major media outlets have fucked up San Francisco’s tourist friendly image. There are now daily stories about how San Francisco is a crime ridden dystopia. To be fair, San Francisco is kind of a dystopia, but not because of crime… And this change in public perception, along with remote work emptying San Francisco’s big gleaming office buildings that sit mostly empty, serving no other purpose than to remind us that capitalism’s success in a city is best measured by how many dicks it can dot the horizon with, is taking a massive chunk out of the city’s delicious revenue.
London Breed had to do something.
London Breed had to do something. She is the Mayor after all. And what did she do? She featured in the Matrix movie and went to Europe… She also took a shit on Chesa Boudin – a man whose name sounds like a fancy dessert that you could order from a secret menu at The Cheesecake Factory.
Chesa was voted in to address inequities and abuse in the criminal justice system. It should also be pointed out that he wasn’t just some guy who saw Dangerous Minds and got an erection followed by a white savior complex. Chesa’s parents actually went to prison. So to him, the fight for criminal justice reform is likely very personal. Also a result of his progressive approach to law enforcement, any time anyone as much as stubs their toe in San Francisco, the media basically rebrands San Francisco as Gotham, but a gay, high tech and expensive version. Picture matching with Joaquin Phoenix’s rendition of the Joker on a premium Grindr account, now take that experience and expand it into a city. See where I’m going with this?
Guess what every desperate politician in San Francisco says when their back is against a wall? They say it’s time to clean up the Tenderloin. The Tenderloin remains anything but tender.
So, how did London Breed take a shit on Chesa the Cheesecake Boudin? She vowed to clean up the Tenderloin. Did she mean we’re going to provide housing for everyone? No. She basically did her best (pre-Trump 1990s) Rudy Giuliani impression and said the word “shit” for street cred during a prepared speech.
By the way, I hate to tell you, but cleaning up the Tenderloin without adequately addressing the housing shortage is unlikely. Even before gentrification became synonymous with the Bay Area, the Tenderloin was rough. I’ve lived in the Bay Area my entire life and the Tenderloin has been rough my entire life. You wanna know how long the Tenderloin has been rough? My mom is well into her sixties, guess what? When she was a kid, the Tenderloin was rough. Guess what every desperate politician in San Francisco says when their back is against a wall? They say it’s time to clean up the Tenderloin. The Tenderloin remains anything but tender.
Let’s just say San Francisco isn’t in love with law enforcement. So, it doesn’t come as much of a surprise that the Pride Board has forbidden uniformed officers from marching in the parade.
London’s idea is that if she rebrands herself as a tough on crime politician, she can make the tourists and techies feel safe again while simultaneously ingratiating herself with Chesa’s growing opposition which includes the Police Union. The only people trying to openly placate the police in San Francisco, at least in popular culture, are politicians. Let’s just say San Francisco isn’t in love with law enforcement. So, it doesn’t come as much of a surprise that the Pride Board has forbidden uniformed officers from marching in the parade.
Another interesting aspect to consider is SFPD officers won’t get paid if they’re not in uniform. This may not be about politics, but about money. According to former SFPD commissioner John Hamasaki. SFPD can participate as civilians, but not as cops. The idea around officers not marching in uniform is not an entirely new one. Cities like New York and Toronto have similar policies
London had a choice to make. She either would stand with the Pride Board’s decision, or she would stand with the Police Union. To further elevate her tough on crime approach, she chose the cops and opted out of the parade.
Time will tell if this strategy pans out for her, and if it does, what does that mean for San Francisco?
Will San Francisco follow New York’s lead in the 90s and elect a Rudy Giuliani type figure? It’s hard to say. But one thing’s for sure, San Francisco’s iconic fog is literally (the City is less foggy as a result of climate change) and metaphorically diminishing. As a result, we can see San Francisco more clearly, but what do we see? Do we see a city that will withstand the heat of a changing world or one that is filled with people who are utterly full of shit?