The Rubicon Rangers: Welcoming Mayor Breed to the Fight to End Poverty

By Ben Rowley July 16, 2018

The "Rubicon Rangers" series is a first-person account of Rubicon's intern experience, authored by the interns, Jessica, Sandy and Justin, themselves.

On June 13th, London Breed became the first African-American woman ever to be elected Mayor of San Francisco. As an intern with an interest in policy and public affairs, I decided to pay close attention to her and her work in Rubicon’s area of expertise: poverty.

Soon after, a press conference was held in which she thanked supporters and other candidates, and took on the city’s problems with an optimistic approach, and a focus on ending poverty.

“It is time that we come together, and work together to solve our most challenging problems,” she said in her post-victory press conference. She promises to help solve issues like homelessness, addiction and many other longstanding problems, including housing.

London grew up in San Francisco dealing with many of these struggles herself. She has stated that she has firsthand experience dealing with many of the issues that low-income San Franciscans have to confront.

In her victory speech, she emphasized a poverty-free future as well as an interest in helping the youth of San Francisco.  Later on MSNBC, Breed continued to highlight the importance of youth getting actively engaged in the community, and talked about her plans for San Francisco’s – and California’s – future.

She made it clear that she likes to focus on people, and said that, “San Francisco is not just beautiful because of its monuments, it’s beautiful because of its people,” furthermore showing that she is not only proud of the city itself, but also of its diverse cultures and all that they can offer.

Mayor Breed often talks about the fact that her success story is an exception, and how she is pushing for that success story to become the norm for today’s youth in San Francisco. Since San Francisco has many large businesses, Breed wants to expose the youth to paid internships, so they can have opportunities and generate income that can help pay for their education.

Another issue that Breed spotlights is homelessness. While she is under the impression that the city is on the right track, there is still a big issue concerning how the city helps people who have a mental illness. She hopes to make changes to state and local laws and provide options for those working through addiction and psychiatric issues. One plan is to open safe injection sites in San Francisco, to help people avoid further medical issues.

To be successful as mayor, London Breed has said that she will need to learn patience, as being impatient is “a natural part of [her] personality.”

Even though a lack of patience may seem like a weakness at first glance, it could prove to be an indispensable quality when it comes to making housing affordable fast and getting other issues related to poverty resolved as soon as possible.

While at Rubicon Programs, I’ve learned that our organization aims to take a leadership role in the fight for a poverty-free Bay Area.

In the coming years, they will work in partnership with Mayor Breed, as well as mayors and nonprofit organizations across the Bay Area, and especially the East Bay, to push for policy changes that end the cycle of poverty. I look forward to being involved with these exciting efforts.