Special Election 2018

June Vote: New Mayor, New Era



On June 5, San Francisco voters will choose the city's fourth mayor in six months, ending a period of upheaval in local politics after the death of Mayor Ed Lee in December. The stakes are high and the choices are stark: Four major candidates have distinguished themselves on a political spectrum running from “progressive” to “moderate.” Voters, meanwhile, are focused on the hot-button issues of housing affordability and homelessness.

The Public Press is profiling all eight mayoral candidates. Sharp edges have emerged from differing solutions to the housing crisis, endorsements by Big Tech and the sticky issue of identity — racial, gender and sexual orientation. Our coverage includes Proposition F (legal help for evictions) and the unusually contentious Superior Court races.

1. Proposition F: Free Legal Aid for Tenants Facing Eviction

In a city where two-thirds of adults are renters, more than 1,600 tenants have received eviction notices over the past year. On June 5, voters could make history by guaranteeing legal help to anyone facing eviction, regardless of income.

Published May 1, 2018

2. African-American Groups Convene Candidate Forum

Various demographics — the LGBT, Latino, and Asian-America communities — have held events that focused on their key issues, and on Saturday, May 5, the concerns of San Francisco’s African-American communities were heard at a mayoral candidates' forum.

Published May 3, 2018

3. In Mayoral Run, Leno Promises to 'Get Serious' About Affordable Housing Crisis

As the father of San Francisco inclusionary housing, Leno is proud of his achievement and wants to move it forward. For those who argue this city’s hefty affordability requirements are slowing construction, he can only offer his ever-present smile and a shake of the head.

Published May 7, 2018

4. Candidates Say How They Would Help African-American Community

San Francisco Black Community Matters, the San Francisco Black Leadership Forum and Black Young Democrats sponsored “Facing the Voters,” a May 5 candidates’ forum hosted and moderated by the Public Press.

Published May 7, 2018

5. As Mayor, Kim Would Try to Expand Inclusionary Housing Citywide

Kim, an ambitious politician who in 2016 fell short in her battle with Scott Wiener for Mark Leno’s termed-out state Senate seat, has played an active role in the transformation of her district — and, by virtue of its outsize role in city housing and homeless issues, the city writ large.

Published May 9, 2018

6. Minority Challengers Wake Up Normally Sleepy Superior Court Races

In  a rare challenge to sitting judges,  four public defenders have united in a bid to oust Superior Court  incumbents they see as vestiges of a “broken system.”  Addressing a jury of voters,  they faced off at the  May 5 candidates' forum, and sparks flew.

Published May 9, 2018

7. Alioto Says Her Past ‘Housing First’ Plan Would End Homelessness

Angela Alioto points to 10-year plan to abolish chronic homeless she crafted in 2004 as a model of success that the city needs to revive. She blames the late Mayor Ed Lee for letting the plan wither and siphoning away money for other programs.

Published May 14, 2018

8. Activist Weiss Focuses Her Mayoral Campaign on Housing and Homelessness

Activist Amy Farah Weiss is a bulldog. She shows up at mayoral debates uninvited, goes to obscure committee meetings at City Hall, talks and works with people in the city’s encampments, and has spent days driving around the most affected neighborhoods, counting the tents and vehicles being used as homes.

Published May 16, 2018

9. GOP Candidate Greenberg Aims to Bring ‘More Centrist’ View to City Hall

Richie Greenberg, the GOP candidate for mayor, believes that homeless people “are being used as pawns.” By his account, a big cause of San Francisco’s homelessness problem stems from the failure of those in power to effectively utilize the city’s resources. “I’m going to rein in the spending,” he says.

Published May 21, 2018

10. Spare Room? Mayoral Challenger Zhou Says You Could EASE Homelessness

Ellen Lee Zhou has a plan to end San Francisco’s homelessness crisis. And it could involve you. Zhou says that if elected mayor she would pay homeowners monthly stipends to house and mentor some of the city’s estimated 4,353 unsheltered residents. She argues that many homeowners would jump at the opportunity to help someone.

Published May 23, 2018

11. Data-Driven Questions for the Mayoral Candidates

Exclusive: The San Francisco Public Press partnered with faculty at the University of California, Davis, to produce a unique questionnaire — inspired by an analysis of the key political issues that have come before the city’s legislators. The questions were sent to all eight mayoral candidates.

Published May 24, 2018


San Francisco mayoral candidate Michelle Bravo wants to win, but that is not her first priority. A political neophyte, the holistic-health practitioner admits she has much to learn — in fact, her main reason for entering the race was to get a crash course in the local issues.

Published May 29, 2018

13. Mayoral Candidates Respond — or Do Not — to Our Issues Questionnaire

For the special mayoral election, the San Francisco Public Press partnered with faculty at the University of California, Davis, to assemble a data-driven questionnaire about key issues.  Only three of the eight candidates completed it, none among the top challengers, who ultimately ducked the questions. Transparency is risky.

Published May 31, 2018

14. As Mayor, Breed Would Centralize Tent Camps to End Them, Boost Housing Density

In her bid to reoccupy the mayor’s seat she held briefly after Ed Lee died, London Breed lists a bevy of accomplishments and proposals in the realms of housing and homelessness. In many cases, the Board of Supervisors president openly states that she did play — or would, if elected — a support role to craft or implement city policy. For other initiatives and proposals, Breed’s ownership is undeniable.

Published May 31, 2018

15. Finally, Data Map S.F. City Hall’s Progressive-Moderate Divide

Exclusive: A data-driven analysis by researchers at the University of California, Davis, in partnership with the Public Press, reveals what many political observers of San Francisco City Hall have been saying for years. London Breed, president of the Board of Supervisors and candidate for mayor in the June 5 election, is a political moderate, close to the middle, even though she has eschewed that tag. See how the other members of the board rank on the progressive-to-moderate scale.

Published June 1, 2018


REPORTING: Noah Arroyo,  Joe Eskenazi, Andrew Stelzer and Rob Waters

EDITING: Michael Winter

COPY EDITING: Sherman Turntine

GRAPHICS: Reid Brown

PHOTOGRAPHY: David Zlutnick / KALW Crosscurrents, Noah Arroyo and Terry Pon

ONLINE: John Angelico

This project was made possible by donations from Public Press members and the San Francisco Foundation