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San Francisco’s mayoral candidates face off in first debate

Molly Blair Salyer for KALW
Molly Blair Salyer for KALW

San Francisco had its first mayoral debate last night. The top five candidates were invited to answer questions about their policies, priorities, and solutions for the city’s biggest problems including housing, education, crime, and safety.

In a race that appears to be tightening up, candidates are seeking to set themselves apart.

San Francisco supervisors Aaron Peskin and Ahsha Safai leaned into their progressive values and track records.

Peskin: "Over 17 years of public service, elected three times by my colleagues to be President of the Board, I've demonstrated the proven skill to turn San Francisco around. I get things done."

Safai: “Who has the experience and track record to fight for all San Franciscans to live in this city? Not the billionaires or billionaire heirs but working and middle class families and those struggling to get by”

Longtime politician, Mark Farrell called for change at City Hall.

“The reality is we are in a tough spot right, and we need a change of leadership in city hall.”

Mayor Breed responded with a campaign message centered on the promise of San Francisco and said her competition is working against the city.

“These guys have one thing in common: they want us to feel bad about San Francisco, they want to take us backwards”

Daniel Lurie, a nonprofit founder and Levi Strauss. argued San Francisco needs an outsider with accountability. He pushed back on other candidates that touted their experience.

“The city hall leaders that got us into this mess, won’t get us out”

The debate was held at Sydney Goldstein Theater and moderated by the New York Times San Francisco bureau chief Heather Knight and Manny Yekutiel of Manny's.

For more elections coverage, visit our elections page at KALW.org and while you're there, take our survey. Tell us what's on your mind ahead of the election. We're listening.