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Friday, June 14, 2024

Heir of Levi Strauss Set to Contest San Francisco Mayor London Breed

San Francisco Mayor London Breed is facing a variety of difficulties in the city’s downtown area, but on Tuesday, Levi Strauss apparel heir Daniel Lurie declared that he will run against her in 2019.

Mr. Lurie, 46, intended to kick off his campaign on Tuesday at a community centre in the formerly working-class neighbourhood of Potrero Hill, which is now filled with million-dollar mansions and high-end boutiques. His entry into the contest suggests that Ms. Breed has lost the backing of some moderate friends and may be vulnerable in her attempt for re-election.

Mr. Lurie said in an interview that he planned to run on improving the city’s quality of life and that he believes Ms. Breed has done too little to address these issues.

Mr. Lurie established the anti-poverty organisation Tipping Point. The sight of a man staggering down the street naked and shouting inspired him to run for mayor, he said, while he was taking his 9-year-old son and 12-year-old daughter to school.

Noting that he, too, did nothing to rectify the situation, he voiced concern that municipal officials and citizens had become desensitised to violence in public spaces.

Many San Francisco neighbourhoods avoided serious damage during the epidemic, but the city centre was hit hard. Because so many people are now working from home, many offices are currently empty. Problems including homeless encampments, opioid overdoses, and property crimes have persisted despite the struggles of retailers.

Even while voters authorised greater taxes to pay homeless programmes and low-income homes, Mr. Lurie said Ms. Breed had done nothing. He promised that if elected mayor, he would double the number of beds in the city’s hospitals for those with mental illness, improve access to shelters, and hire the city’s homeless to clean the streets.

He also pledged to increase the number of police officers on patrol and to force those with serious mental illness to receive treatment, even if they object. This autumn, San Francisco will join six other California counties in launching a court programme with the ability to commit persons with serious mental illness who reject treatment.

A spokesperson for Ms. Breed’s campaign, Maggie Muir, stated that Mr. Lurie’s agenda was not different from the mayor’s current efforts. She said that Mr. Lurie’s lack of government experience was the sole distinction.

Both 49-year-old Ms. Breed and 73-year-old Mr. Lurie grew up in San Francisco and voted Democratic. Ms. Breed, the city’s first Black female mayor, was reared by her grandmother in public housing near City Hall. She currently lives in the Lower Haight, a hip and trendy area full of artists and young professionals.

Mr. Lurie’s family history in San Francisco is among the longest and richest of any San Franciscan. His mother married Peter Haas, the great-grandnephew of Levi Strauss, a German immigrant who, in 1853, when San Francisco was booming with new arrivals seeking gold in the Sierra Nevada foothills, founded a dry goods business. Blue jeans are almost associated with the corporation founded by Levi Strauss & Co., which Mr Strauss amassed wealth by producing sturdy denim trousers for miners.

Mimi Haas, Mr. Lurie’s mother, is a millionaire. The Jewish Community Federation of San Francisco was led by his father, Rabbi Brian Lurie. While his home in Pacific Heights, the affluent neighbourhood where he grew up, is being refurbished, Daniel Lurie is staying in Potrero Hill.

It has been 28 years since Willie Brown defeated Frank Jordan, a former police chief, and therefore the incumbent mayor of San Francisco. Having been the speaker of the California State Assembly for over 15 years, Jerry Brown entered that contest with far more name recognition than his opponent, Mr. Lurie.

However, with the November 2024 election quickly approaching, Mayor Breed looks to be in danger. Residents of San Francisco are known for their fervent defence of the city, yet nobody is defending her. Residents have often complained that Mayor Breed is mismanaging the city’s efforts to recover from the epidemic, and that polls show the city is headed in the wrong direction. Her support from the public is consistently around 33%.

Mr. Lurie is running for mayor with the city’s lone other declared candidate, Democrat and San Francisco supervisor Ahsha Safa, whose platform centres on combating retail theft and increasing police presence. In 2019, San Francisco will have a single, nonpartisan mayoral election where voters can select their top three choices. If no candidate receives a majority of first-choice votes, the candidate with the highest number of second-choice votes would be declared the winner.

The voters of San Francisco have been in a bad mood. Chesa Boudin, the district attorney, and three board members were recalled in 2022. Local political strategists said Ms. Breed was vulnerable, but Mr. Lurie has an uphill battle due to progressive voters’ wariness of a rich candidate and his lack of experience.

Mr. Lurie has pledged to use his position of power for the greater good of the city, and he has promised to make his administration as culturally diverse as Chicago itself.

When asked which mayor he admired the most, Mr. Lurie named both Michael Bloomberg of New York City and Jerry Brown of San Francisco, who are both recognised for their pro-business, moderate policies.

Jonathan James
Jonathan James
I serve as a Senior Executive Journalist of The National Era
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