San Francisco mayor announces budget proposal prioritizing public safety

BySuzanne Phan KGO logo
Saturday, May 27, 2023
SF mayor wants to increase budget for public safety
San Francisco Mayor London Breed is announcing plans to increase public safety to help businesses survive and thrive in the city.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Just three days after a contentious San Francisco Board of Supervisors meeting outside in the U.N. Plaza where someone threw a brick in the crowd, Mayor London Breed is announcing plans to increase public safety in the city of San Francisco.

Mayor Breed says she's doing all she can to help businesses survive and thrive in the city.

Friday, as Breed visited small retail stores around Noe Valley, she acknowledged that more help is needed to keep business owners and residents safe.

Breed said the budget she's proposing will include more money to better staff San Francisco's police department. She says applications have been coming in and now it's about finding the right candidates.

"Our goal for next two years based on our numbers, based on the new info we have so far - we anticipate we'll have at least 220 new officers on the ground."

MORE: San Francisco wants extra $27M to pay police overtime, hire more officers and prosecutors

However, the San Francisco Police Department is down as many as 500 officers and more could be retiring in the next few months.

The mayor said she's also adding more support for police officers by adding another 22 civilian positions.

"They are going to replace officers that are inside, indoors, that are doing paperwork, so that those officers can be out on the streets," said Breed.

"The other thing we are doing with our retired police officers that are ambassadors - we're helping to move them to areas where they can be helpful to be the eyes and ears on the streets."

San Francisco residents say things are slowing coming back. But they're hoping for change that leads to safer streets and the return of business.

MORE: These are the businesses thriving in SF's Union Square

We've heard a lot about the struggles of Union Square, with lots of empty storefronts and even more stores leaving. However, there is some good news. Here are some of the stores thriving in that area.

"I've been here for about 10 years. We need more businesses in the area," said Tanya Lavelle of San Francisco. "Downtown near Union Square, a lot of businesses are gone. It's not quite what it used to be."

The mayor is responding to those concerns.

"I know people want to see something happening now. Something is happening now. It's just not happening as fast as people want it to happen." said Breed. "I do know that with the proposed changes and lot of things we are going to do, we are going to see a difference."

Regarding the fentanyl problem, the mayor believes there needs to be stricter penalties.

"I do think there needs to be some level of accountability. Right now, people are not afraid to deal fentanyl. We have to change that," said Breed.

MORE: Hope -- and some skepticism -- as fentanyl crackdown begins in SF's Tenderloin

Monday marks the start of Gov. Newsom's move to crack down on San Francisco's open-air drug market with CHP officers and the state's National Guard.

The mayor explained how she plans to pay for the added police and civilian staffing.

"We have done some reductions from all of our various departments. We looked at reserves, department cuts overall," said Breed.

Mayor Breed also talked about the help coming from opioid settlement money.

"We've been able to redirect those resources. So, with behavior centers, sobering beds, and things we proposed to help us with this challenge, we shifted resources from that settlement and we did what we needed to do to get to a good place," said Breed.

We reached out to San Francisco Board of Supervisors for a response to the mayor comments. They say they're waiting for additional details of the mayor's specific budget proposals.

"I'm really confident what we are planning to propose," said Breed. "We are not aggressively dipping into the reserves. Everyone had to sacrifice in this budget cycle."

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