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Read Supervisor Ronen’s powerful, emotional speech at last night’s interim mayoral vote

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“That’s how gross these people are—because they are gross”

Supervisor Hillary Ronen speaks at a rally outside of City Hall in 2017.
Photo by AP Photo/Jeff Chiu

The Board of Supervisors voted 6-3 Tuesday night to remove London Breed, a woman of color who grew up in public housing, from the position of acting mayor and replace her with Mark Farrell, a wealthy white venture capitalist who went to prep school St. Ignatius, as caretaker.

The optics of this political plot twist aren’t lost on anyone, most notably Breed supporters who showed up at the vote to jeer the city’s progressive lot.

One could—and most likely will—write endless think pieces on exactly what went down at City Hall. Joe Eskenazi’s rundown for Mission Local is an excellent place to start. And this thread is helpful for perspective.

Before the final vote that temporarily put Farrell in the mayoral seat, testimony from District 9 Supervisor Hillary Ronen, who presides over the Mission District, a blueprint for gentrification gone awry, proved most powerful.

In a speech filled with damning accusations—most notably aimed at tech billionaire Ron Conway, supporter of former mayors Gavin Newsom and Ed Lee, whom she claims has a stranglehold on the future of SF—Ronen’s tear-filled speech was one of the most raw ones ever to happen in chambers, at least in recent years.

In part, Ronen said:

I have to say it, there are white, rich men, billionaires, in this city who have steered the policies of the past two mayoral administrations, if not more.

They got us into this absolute mess we are in today where poor people and people of color cannot afford to live in this city...It is absolutely ridiculous and outrageous and it weighs on me as a supervisor. I can’t sleep at night.

I hate to say it, I wish it weren’t so, but those white men are so enthusiastically supporting your candidacy, London Breed. And what you haven’t heard because you’re not in this inside world we all inhabit in City Hall is that they’ve been threatening people. They’re all saying if you don’t support London Breed that people’s careers will be ruined. … It is happening right now in this Board of Supervisors chamber. It happened the morning Ed Lee passed away. That’s how gross these people are—because they are gross.

Dissenting votes came from Supervisors Malia Cohen, Ahsha Safai, and Katy Tang. Breed will run against Supervisor Jane Kim, former State Sen. Mark Leno, and a slew of others in a June election.

You can read the rest of Ronen’s remarks here:

Here are my remarks from today's Board of Supervisors meeting about why I felt it was important to vote for a caretaker...

Posted by Hillary Ronen on Tuesday, January 23, 2018