Controversy erupted in San Francisco this week after the city’s black female interim mayor was replaced by white male venture capitalist following a vote by the city’s Board of Supervisors. Opponents of the former interim mayor, London Breed, said they felt she was too beholden to the financial interests of the city’s tech companies, citing her backing from prominent Silicon Valley investor, Ron Conway, as evidence. But many have questioned why then they would choose to replace Breed with Mark Farrell, the managing director of Thayer Ventures. Farrell has made a fortune by investing early in tech companies such as Airbnb and Pinterest. Politically, Farrell is arguably most famous for sponsoring a ballot measure that targeted the city’s homeless population by banning tent encampments from sidewalks.
“The black community is not going to take this sitting down,” said Rev. Amos Brown, the pastor of Third Baptist Church and head of the NAACP in San Francisco, who described the decision as yet another blow to the city’s dwindling black community. “There’s never been an intentional effort on the so-called progressive liberals of this town to work with the black community so that we would have our fair share.”
Breed, who has supported the legalization of marijuana and government divestment from fossil fuel companies, said she preferred to give no opinion on a possible racial component to her ouster. The group that ousted Breed has said that her position as both interim mayor and president of the Board of Supervisors gave her unchecked authority and an unfair advantage going into the upcoming mayoral election in June. Among those who voted for Farrell, who is not running for mayor, was Jane Kim, a progressive candidate for the position.
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