Proposed ballot measure injects fireworks into San Francisco's mayoral race

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- San Francisco's mayor, district attorney, city attorney and other leaders gathered on the steps of city hall in a show of unity to denounce a proposed November ballot measure that would alter the city's sanctuary city law.

Mayor Mark Farrell vowed to fight the change. He said "We are a sanctuary city. It is in our DNA. It is who we are as San Francisco."

RELATED: SF Mayoral Candidate Angela Alioto defends sanctuary city reform initiative

The sanctuary law limits city agencies from cooperating with federal immigration agents. it's designed to make undocumented residents feel safe reporting crimes to police without fear of deportation. The proposed change, sponsored by mayoral candidate Angela Alioto would no longer shield dangerous felons. She says she's shocked by the opposition from city leaders.

"Why do they want to protect dangerous felons..why" was the question she asked today. Alioto authored the original sanctuary city law when she was a Supervisor in 1989 but says others later amended it. She wants it back to what she intended, and today clarified that her proposed limits would apply only to convicted felons not those merely suspected of a crime.

"if you are convicted by a jury of a violent felony, rape, murder, mayhem or a crime punishable by death, then you will not be protected by the city's sanctuary law. it's just that simple."

RELATED: Racial insult yelled at San Francisco mayoral candidate during election event

Alioto says many immigrants support her idea, but last week when she first proposed it, the reaction from immigrant rights activists was swift. They staged a demonstration holding signs that read "Shame on you, Angela Alioto" and blasted the measure. City leaders said Alioto's stance reminded them of the rhetoric coming out of the White House. District Attorney George Gascon accused her of "pandering" to the same themes being repeated in Washington, adding "that is wrong."

Alioto believes the politicians are out of touch with average San Franciscans, adding "they will not bully me. I'm moving forward with my initiative." She predicts her measure will pull 70 percent support at the polls.

She has until July 9th to collect just over 94 hundred signatures to qualify for the November ballot.

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