San Francisco native London Breed became the city's acting mayor Tuesday following the sudden death of Mayor Ed Lee, and is the first African-American woman to lead the city in the midst of a seemingly endless technology driven economic boom. Breed, 43, is a lifelong San Francisco resident who was raised by her grandmother in the city's predominantly black and lower-income Western Addition neighborhood, part of the same district she now represents as a city supervisor, the AP reports. She said she and Lee bonded over their shared experience of growing up in public housing. "He was from the dawn of his career an advocate for the powerless," Breed told a crowd of city workers who gathered to honor Lee in City Hall Tuesday.
Breed, like every San Francisco mayor since 1964, is a Democrat. Nationally, her political positions on issues like funding housing projects for the homeless and support for marijuana legalization are viewed as solidly liberal. But within the insular politics of San Francisco, she has had to defend her credentials from attacks from the left that she is a moderate and beholden to traditional Democrats like Lee and former mayor Willie Brown. She will remain acting mayor and board president of the supervisors unless a majority of the 11-member board votes to appoint another person, city attorney Dennis Herrera says. Herrera says San Francisco will now vote for a mayor in June 2018 rather than in the November 2019 election that was to take place at the end of Lee's term.
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