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Aaron Peskin announces bid for SF Mayor

San Francisco Board of Supervisor's President, Aaron Peskin, kicked off his mayoral campaign in Portsmouth Square on Saturday morning
Wren Farrell
San Francisco Board of Supervisor's President, Aaron Peskin, kicked off his mayoral campaign in Portsmouth Square on Saturday morning

“Good morning everyone and welcome to China Town!” *cheers*

Hundreds of people gathered in Portsmouth Square on Saturday morning, to hear Aaron Peskin announce his mayoral campaign.

Speakers from the Rose Pak Democratic Club — a progressive Asian Pacific Islander political engagement group — kicked off the event. They noted work Peskin had already done for the community and celebrated his lack of billionaire backers.

Wing Hoo Leung is president of the Community Tenants Association, he spoke to the multi-lingual crowd with the help of a translator.

“We know we have a lot of problems nowadays in San Francisco. Enough is enough. We want Peskin to be our mayor and save us from the chaos. Are we supporting Peskin? ” *cheers*

Nearby Portsmouth Square, a smaller, counter protest — organized by one of his opponents — took place. But Peskin brushed these protestors off.

“Let's be clear. These are the angry voices of a vocal minority, amplified by the money of billionaires who are deadly afraid to have San Francisco hear any voice but their own. *cheers* And I can't quite understand what they are saying, but if you're calling me names, believe me, I've been called worse.”

Peskin’s message was clear: he is the lone progressive in this year’s mayoral election, and his policies reflect that. He spoke about recovery, addressing his own history with alcoholism, and the city’s metaphorical relationship to the subject.

“And I know that recovery is not about anger and hatred. It's not about harboring bad grudges and petty vendettas. To recover you need to be firm and draw clear lines, but always stay compassionate.”

He spoke about homelessness, substance abuse, the fentanyl crisis, and policing. On most issues, he was further left than his opponents, but even Peskin has adopted a pro-police stance.

“For me, public safety is a progressive value. I voted to support increased police budgets, police overtime, greater police staffing, and an emergency declaration in the Tenderloin.”

Peskin went on to discuss the need for stronger tenant protections, vowing to expand rent control, build more housing, and even establish a “Marshall Plan” for middle class housing.

“For our union sisters and brothers, the teachers, nurses, firefighters, and families who don't qualify for low income housing but can't afford market rate luxury housing.”

The Board of Supervisors president also discussed his plan for ending corruption in City Hall, and ended his speech on the subject of climate change, and rising sea levels.

“We are surrounded by water on three sides, and climate change will be a top priority for me. It is the imperative of our time.”

The race for Mayor includes incumbent London Breed, former supervisor and interim Mayor Mark Farrell, and heir to the Levi Strauss fortune, Daniel Lurie.

It’s been decades since San Francisco has elected a “progressive” mayor, but some think the city’s ranked choice voting system could work in Peskin’s favor, come November.

Wren Farrell (he/him) is a writer, producer and journalist living in San Francisco.