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Protest forces rare outdoor ‘Supes' meeting inside City Hall

San Francisco Mayor London Breed
MC3 Jenna Dobson/(U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communi
Flickr / Creative Commons
San Francisco Mayor London Breed

San Francisco Mayor London Breed said the city needs to take a "tough love" approach to tackle its open-air drug markets and fatal overdose crisis.

"Compassion is killing people," Breed said at Tuesday's Board of Supervisors meeting.

The remarks followed a failed attempt to begin the San Francisco Board of Supervisors meeting at the UN Plaza, an area of the Tenderloin considered to be the epicenter of the city's fentanyl epidemic.

Following Breed's opening remarks about the crisis, people began shouting at the policymakers while Board President Aaron Peskin attempted to ask a question about whether the city will coordinate a multi-agency emergency operation center to shut down drug dealing sites.

Peskin called a recess and moved the meeting indoors.

Once in City Hall, Breed responded to Peskin. She said she's been in conversation with federal and state partners, including the U.S. Attorney and California Highway Patrol and California National Guard officials.

She called on the board to back her efforts, saying that policymakers have tolerated "illegal and out-of-control behavior for far too long."

Breed highlighted some of the recent investments the city made to provide resources for people struggling with addiction, like adding treatment beds, launching a crisis response team, and allocating $75 million a year to the Public Health Department's substance-use treatment services.

Sunni M. Khalid is a veteran of more than 40 years in journalism, having worked has in print, radio, television, and web journalism.