By Lee Hubbard
When San Francisco District 5 supervisor Ross Mirkarimi was elected Sheriff of San Francisco, his position on the Board of Supervisors opened up.
This opening, which becomes effective Jan. 8 when Mirkarimi becomes sheriff, has sparked a debate in San Francisco ’s Black Western Addition community, which is in the heart of District 5.
District 5 includes the areas such as Lower Pacific Heights, Haight Ashbury, Fillmore, Western Addition and Japan Town. Many Black activists want Mayor Ed Lee to appoint someone Black as supervisor, which would give an African American a leg up for the November election, which will determine the fate of the post for the next four years.
Mayor Lee has said one of the qualifications he will use in making his appointment is whether the person can win in November.
Among those reportedly interested in the District 5 seat are Julian Davis, president of the board of Booker T. Washington Community Service Center; Gabriel Haaland, political director of SEIU Local 1021; Phil Ginsburg, Recreation and Park Department Director; and Michael O’Connor, the co-owner of the Independent Music Hall.
Breed, who directs the African American Cultural Center on Fulton Street, has expressed interest in the position. She has a large segment of the Black activist community behind her, pushing Mayor Lee to appoint her as supervisor.
“ London is a woman who is definitely qualified to sit in that seat,” said Bridgette LeBlanc, with Black Women Organized for Political Action (BWOPA). “She is a native San Franciscan who was raised and works in the community. She is a leader who is electable, and she can build bridges.”
“There is a large faction of members in the Black Chamber of Commerce who are eagerly getting behind London Breed and pushing her name out there as a potential supervisor in District 5,” said Fred Jordan, head of the San Francisco African American Chamber of Commerce. “After all, the Fillmore used to be close to one hundred percent Black, so having the area represented by someone Black from the community and who knows the history of the community would be a good thing.”