Will Voters in San Francisco Go for a Different Kind of Mayor?

Famously liberal San Francisco is irritable these days.

Poll after poll shows its residents aren’t confident in the future of their city and don’t support their leader, Mayor London Breed. They lament that their downtown isn’t coming back after the pandemic as quickly as other cities’ cores, that drug overdose numbers continue to skyrocket and that property crime remains a stubborn problem.

But what’s not so clear is what kind of mayor they want to fix what’s broken.

Mark Farrell, a venture capitalist who served as interim mayor for six months in 2018, believes he has the answer: a firm style of governance that would “massively” increase police ranks, clear all homeless encampments, detain drug overdose victims who survive and return cars to the city’s main thoroughfare.

He’ll test his platform — which he calls common sense and his detractors will surely label too conservative for San Francisco — on the November ballot. Mr. Farrell, the city’s 44th mayor, plans to announce on Tuesday that he wants to be its 46th one too.

“I’ve watched San Francisco crumble over the last five years,” Mr. Farrell, 49, said recently over coffee at a downtown cafe. “Public safety has never been a bigger concern. The conditions of our streets have never been worse. Our local economy has collapsed. And we’ve become the butt of jokes across the country.

“This mayor has completely failed us.”

Mayor London Breed of San Francisco has moved toward the center in a city worried about crime and the economy. Credit…Jim Wilson/The New York Times

Maggie Muir, a political consultant for Ms. Breed, accused Mr. Farrell of spending the pandemic years at his venture capital firm instead of helping the city get back on its feet.

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