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Mayor London Breed Expresses Optimism Amid City's Challenges In 2022 State Of The City Address

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5 / BCN) – San Francisco Mayor London Breed delivered her State of the City address Wednesday, sounding a decidedly optimistic tone about the city's future amid ongoing challenges.

That's the thing about a state of the city address. They are usually pretty upbeat, even when times are challenging. That was absolutely the theme of the mayor's address Wednesday.

"Look behind me, at what's being built right here at Mission Rock," Breed said. "One of these buildings will be affordable housing."

Standing in what could be called San Francisco's newest neighborhood, Breed described a city moving out of the pandemic, but still in the grips of familiar problems. A city with a $13 billion budget, that struggles to keep streets clean.

"Basics, like a government that delivers on the essential services," she said. "Basics like accountability and competence."

"Even in the details of the speech, where I might disagree with her on some of the policies, I did not disagree with the tone," said Supervisor Hillary Ronen. "The tone was 'we are innovative, but we also have to do the basics correctly.' That we can only innovate if we have a functional city run competently and it works for everyone."

Then there are the more complex and entrenched challenges, like the conditions that contributed to the state of emergency in the Tenderloin.

"There are some hard-working people around here and we don't deserve to have to deal with that," Fawn Lagnefors told KPIX 5 last week.

"The families and small businesses of the Tenderloin deserve better," the mayor said Wednesday. "Those on the street deserve better, and the people of the city deserve better."

The mayor continued her calls for more housing, changes to conservatorship laws, and more police.

"We need law enforcement to keep people safe, to make arrests, to hold people accountable, and to support victims," she said. "But right now, police staffing is at crisis levels, with just over 1,630 police officers. That's over 250 fewer officers than we had three years ago, and 540 officers below what we need, according to our city's independent analysis based on a growing population. We simply do not have the police staffing to meet the needs of a major city, especially as we welcome workers and visitors back."

The problems are significant and recent years have been hard, but Breed said solutions are possible with a new era of problem solving.

"That's the nature of cities," Breed told the crowd. "We endure, and we adapt."

Breed delivered her annual speech this year at Mission Rock, the southeastern waterfront site where new housing projects are underway. In total, the area and nearby sites will receive some 5,000 new market-rate homes and 2,000 affordable homes.

"In this area, in the coming years, 7,000 homes will be built as part of just three waterfront projects alone, here at Mission Rock, at Pier 70 and at the Potrero Power Station. These will be diverse neighborhoods with new housing at all income levels," she said. "New neighborhoods, new parks, and open spaces all along the waterfront and throughout the Dogpatch. New offices and storefronts. This doesn't happen in a city that is dying, it happens in a city that is growing and thriving."

According to Breed, in 2020, the city completed construction on some 4,400 new homes, and in 2021 built about 4,600 more. Breed said she's hoping to improve those numbers through a proposed ballot initiative this coming November to increase housing production.

In addition to increased housing, Breed also touted the city's latest major transportation projects near completion, including the Van Ness Improvement project -- set to be finished next month -- and the Central Subway project, which could be unveiled later this year.

"Housing, jobs, environmental justice, investments, innovation, parks, and transportation. That's what's happening in San Francisco and that is the work we must do all over this city," she said.

Wilson Walker contributed to this report.

© Copyright 2022 CBS Broadcasting Inc. and Bay City News Service. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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