Pick for interim San Fran mayor upsets black activists


SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — San Francisco supervisors chose a white man to serve as mayor until a June election, replacing the African-American woman temporarily serving in the position and infuriating activists in a city that is celebrated for its progressive politics but also has a dwindling black population.

The racially diverse Board of Supervisors booted acting Mayor London Breed by selecting another supervisor, Mark Farrell, as interim mayor in an emotional Tuesday night vote. Those who supported the move said Breed, who's running for a full term as the city's top leader, should not have a leg up on the seven other candidates in the June 5 contest.

But the vote angered Breed supporters who packed the board meeting. Some booed and yelled "shame" when supervisors chose a white man who represents an affluent part of San Francisco over a black woman who grew up in public housing near City Hall.

"I've been pastor for 42 years now, and I've witnessed how so-called progressive white liberals have played the black community and have never been honest, straightforward participants in the welfare of black people," the Rev. Amos C. Brown, president of the San Francisco branch of the NAACP, said today.

Breed became acting mayor by law when Mayor Ed Lee died suddenly of a heart attack in December. Her supporters said the city should not change rules midstream.

Some people hankering for a "caregiver" mayor were still smarting from the last time the mayor's office was vacated in the middle of a term. Ed Lee was appointed interim mayor in 2011 and was supposed to be a short-term leader, but he changed his mind and later ran for office.

This time, supervisors waited until the election filing deadline had passed before picking an interim mayor. The 11-member board includes Asian-Americans, African-Americans and a gay man.

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