San Francisco elects first African-American woman as mayor

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Mayor-elect London Breed acknowledges supporters before speaking to reporters outside of City Hall in San Francisco on June 13, 2018. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
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London Breed speaks to reporters outside of City Hall on June 13, 2018 in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Lorin Eleni Gill)
Updated 14 June 2018

San Francisco elects first African-American woman as mayor

  • Breed will fill the rest of term of Mayor Ed Lee, who died in December. Lee’s term ends in early 2020, and Breed will need to run in November 2019 for a full four-year term.
  • Breed was the favorite of the business and political establishment communities going into the contest.

SAN FRANCISCO, US: San Francisco Supervisor London Breed emerged victorious a week after Election Day to become the city’s first African-American woman elected mayor, narrowly defeating a rival who was seeking to become the first openly gay man in the position.
Former state Sen. Mark Leno called Breed earlier Wednesday to congratulate her on the victory.
The elections office continues to tally roughly 7,000 ballots, but there is no way Leno can make up the difference. On Wednesday, Breed was leading Leno by fewer than 2,200 votes of nearly 250,000 counted and had 50.49 percent of the vote.
In a brief appearance before reporters and cheering supporters on the steps of City Hall on Wednesday, an exuberant Breed said she was humbled, honored and looking forward to serving as mayor.
In particular, she relished the message her election sends to San Francisco’s youth, especially kids like herself who grew up poor.
“No matter where you come from, no matter what you decide to do in life, you can do anything you want to do,” she said. “Never let your circumstances determine your outcome in life.”
Breed vowed to be mayor for all of San Francisco, a message she repeated throughout her bid to lead a city that is economically thriving but mired in homelessness, congestion and unaffordable homes. She has vowed to rid the sidewalks of homeless tent camps within a year of taking office.
Turnout exceeded 50 percent— unusually high for recent mayoral elections— in a contest that was placed on the June 5 ballot after the unexpected death of Mayor Ed Lee in December.
Breed will fill the rest of Lee’s term, which ends in early 2020, and will need to run in November 2019 for a full four-year term.
Breed consistently maintained her lead in first-place votes, but San Francisco uses a unique ranked-choice voting system that allows voters to pick their top three for mayor.
Leno and Supervisor Jane Kim asked their supporters to pick the other as their No.2, saying that Breed represented the status quo that had made San Francisco so inequitable. All three are Democrats.
Breed was the favorite of the business and political establishment communities going into the contest. She raised the most money of the candidates with the help of contributions from big backers.
Earlier in the day, Leno told reporters crammed into his tiny print shop that he had a positive conversation with Breed and that “she is going to do a very fine job. Her success is San Francisco’s success.”
Leno, 66, did not rule out a future run for office and thanked voters for exceeding low turnout expectations.
“This was a campaign about change, a campaign about the betterment of the great city of San Francisco,” he said.
The portrayals of her as a lackey of big business bugged Breed, who first won a supervisor’s seat in 2012.
“I ask people to not attribute what I’ve done — my success and how hard I’ve worked— to not reduce that or attribute that to someone else,” Breed told the AP in a pre-election interview.
The former executive director of the African American Art & Culture Complex grew up in the historically black Western Addition, raised by her grandmother in public housing. They drank powdered milk and ate meat from a can labeled “pork,” she said.
At City Hall, she paid homage to her late grandmother and said she probably had a hand in her win.
“She took care of the community, she took care of me even on days when I didn’t deserve it, and so being here in her honor means so much,” she said.


White House rejects participation in ‘baseless’ impeachment probe against Trump

Updated 36 min 8 sec ago

White House rejects participation in ‘baseless’ impeachment probe against Trump

  • The House Judiciary Committee is to meet starting Monday to review the evidence from investigators and decide whether to charge Trump with abuse of power, bribery and obstruction
WASHINGTON: The White House blasted the impeachment inquiry into Donald Trump as “completely baseless” Friday, signaling it would not seek to defend the president in Democratic-led hearings to draw up formal charges against him.
But Republicans demanded that Joe Biden’s son Hunter, the lawmaker leading the impeachment probe Adam Schiff, and the whistleblower at the origin of the inquiry all testify next week before the House Judiciary Committee.
“As you know, your impeachment inquiry is completely baseless and has violated basic principles of due process and fundamental fairness,” White House chief lawyer Pat Cipollone wrote in a letter to the committee chair, Jerry Nadler.
“House Democrats have wasted enough of America’s time with this charade. You should end this inquiry now and not waste even more time with additional hearings,” he wrote.
Cipollone issued the letter minutes before a deadline to declare whether the White House would deploy representatives to defend Trump against accusations he abused his office by pressuring Ukraine to find dirt on former vice president Biden, his potential challenger in the 2020 election.
Nadler’s committee is to meet starting Monday to review the evidence from investigators and decide whether to charge Trump with abuse of power, bribery and obstruction.
Those charges could become articles of impeachment sent to the full House to vote on within weeks.
If they pass the Democratic-led House as expected, it would make Trump only the third president in US history to be impeached.
That would set up a trial next month in the Republican-controlled Senate, seen as likely to acquit him.
Trump is accused of pressuring Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to open investigations into Biden and his son, and also into a widely-dismissed theory that Ukraine helped Democrats in the 2016 election.
The US leader is accused of demanding Zelensky announce the investigations in exchange for the release of military aid and a high-profile summit — which Democrats say constitutes bribery.
Democrats also say Trump’s actions amount to soliciting foreign interference in American elections — which is barred by US laws.
Trump denies any wrongdoing but has refused to cooperate with the inquiry, citing his privilege as president to prevent top aides from testifying.
Cipollone told Nadler in the letter that adopting articles of impeachment “would be a reckless abuse of power” and constitute “the most unjust, highly partisan, and unconstitutional attempt at impeachment in our nation’s history.”

Blocking 'key evidence'
He repeated Trump’s tweet of Thursday: “If you are going to impeach me, do it now, fast, so we can have a fair trial in the Senate, and so that our country can get back to business.”
In a statement Nadler accused Trump of continuing to block “key evidence” from Congress.
“We gave President Trump a fair opportunity to question witnesses and present his own to address the overwhelming evidence before us,” Nadler said.
“If the President has no good response to the allegations, then he would not want to appear before the committee. Having declined this opportunity, he cannot claim that the process is unfair.”
Meanwhile the senior Republican on the Judiciary Committee, Doug Collins, announced a list of witnesses his camp wishes to subpoena “to provide context and transparency about the underlying facts at issue.”
Besides Schiff, the list includes Hunter Biden and his business partner Devon Archer, who both sat on the board of a Ukraine energy company Burisma, which Trump allegedly pressured Zelensky to investigate.
Also included were the whistleblower, believed to be a CIA analyst who reported his concerns about Trump’s demands of Zelensky; possible government contacts of the whistleblower; White House national security official Alexander Vindman, whose earlier testimony strongly supported the allegations against Trump.
With the exception of Vindman, there was little likelihood Nadler would accept the witness list.