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Mayor London Breed to Pose Devastating Budget Cuts

Updated: May 27, 2024 09:36
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Mayor London Breed on the safety of her constituents: “F*ck ‘em.”

Facing eviction, certain people will soil and vandalize the property they occupied as a last word to their landlord. They rip copper pipes from walls, scratch and pit the floor, break windows and toilets. We’ve all heard stories of vengeful tenants smearing feces on walls. It’s a rotten thing to do that impacts neighbors, disrespects sanitary workers and doesn’t send the message it thinks it does. And that’s exactly what Mayor Breed is doing to San Francisco as her term comes to an end.

This week Mayor Breed will reveal her latest plan to shortchange city services and organizations with budget cuts. Mission Science Workshop, an afterschool program created for K-12 students, fears they’ll get the axe. They’ve already endured some deep budget cuts. According to the Chronicle, “the city Department of Children, Youth and Their Families awarded just 20% of the grant funding sought by the nonprofit during the next five years.” Mission Science Workshop and afterschool programs like it may face closure if indeed Mayor Breed cuts funding.

As I reviewed her considerations for budget cuts, I wondered if and how the disparate collection reflected the mind of its curator.

I wasn’t raised in San Francisco, but I did grow up in poverty. To me, afterschool programs were more than a place to learn. It was where I met and made friends. One program provided us with food (peanut butter sandwiches and chocolate milk, but still). I liked that students in every grade attended, making it possible to have friends in every part of school. And of course, the less time I spent around my violent stepfather, the better. Poor kids in working-class neighborhoods don’t deserve to have their communities demolished, especially if it makes well-off adults even richer.

Mayor Breed’s decision-making feels symptomatic of her withdrawal from the wellspring of cash that was COVID-era San Francisco. The mayor blames the $800,000,000 freefall since 2022 on COVID’s effects, from skyscraper-draining, work-from-home culture to low tourism. Mayor Breed also cited “rising costs,” which neither she nor the Chronicle itemized. Will she be so transparent when revealing which afterschool programs she’s cut? Will it end there?

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Indiscriminate budget cuts?

The mayor is not precious with her picks for potential budget cuts. London Breed faced outrage when she threatened the San Francisco City Clinic with a $25.8 million budget cut. Serving the community for more than a century, SF City Clinic provides life-saving services to the un- and underinsured. As more people lose their jobs and, subsequently, their insurance, SF City Clinic is getting more patients than it can handle. The Clinic was counting on an infusion from the city to furnish a relocation, but the cuts would’ve made it impossible. 

Mayor Breed, via the City Controller’s Office, relisted SF City Clinic for additional funding earlier this month, proving protests work

As Mayor Breed hasn’t yet disclosed where the axe will fall, Mission Science Workshop may be similarly redeemed. Meanwhile the mayor continues her campaign for reelection, dangling false promises like finally addressing San Francisco’s homelessness crisis. It doesn’t make me want to vote for her. It suggests she’s had a proper affordable housing solution on her the whole time like Dorothy’s ruby slippers. All she has to do is click her Louboutins. As I reviewed her considerations for budget cuts, I wondered if and how the disparate collection reflected the mind of its curator. Does she have a plan or is she batting at the budget all dizzy and blindfolded, like it’s a piñata? 

The next few days promise a contemptuous reaction wherever Mayor Breed has made her budget cuts. Will the mayor show favor to the SFPD, leaving everyone from afterschool program counselors to 911 operators on the hook? No one knows where her policymaking will land us by the time her term ends. All I can say is that London Breed’s passive Republicanism would make Ronald Reagan proud. 

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Jake Warren

Jake Warren

A Potawatomi nonfiction writer and Tenderloin resident possessing an Indigenous perspective on sexuality and a fascination with etymological nuance. Queer decolonial leftist, cannabis industry affiliate, seasoned raver, and unofficial earthquake authority.