SF Supervisors Appoint Mark Farrell as Acting Mayor

In a surprise decision, San Francisco's Board of Supervisors voted 6-3 Tuesday night to appoint Supervisor Mark Farrell as the city's acting mayor, replacing London Breed, and the debate continued to heat up Wednesday.

Farrell essentially will be a "caretaker mayor" until the June election, when Breed and other candidates vie to serve the remainder of late Mayor Ed Lee's term.

The process of nominating and electing the new interim mayor grew fiery, with claims of racism, sexism and pay to play politics. Breeds supporters were furious with the decision and felt the board betrayed women of color.

"This shows our little girls this is a racist city," resident Virginia Marshall said. "You can work, work, work, and in the end, the white boys win."

Farrell, who was sworn in Tuesday night, vowed to adequately represent all San Franciscans during his time at the helm.

"To me, this isn't about politics," he said. "This is about moving the city forward and again the continuity of our government. All I can say is that I will work to represent every single San Francisco resident no matter their race, their ethnicity, their religion. It doesn't matter."

The initial vote for Farrell was opposed by Supervisors Ahsha Safai and Malia Cohen, who had nominated Breed for interim mayor, and then by Supervisor Katy Tang, who asked to rescind and change her previous vote in support of Farrell. A final confirmation vote for Farrell was 10-2, with Farrell abstaining and Cohen and Breed voting in opposition.

Breed became the subject of the public comments during Tuesday's meeting. As board president, she had become acting mayor immediately after Lee's Dec. 12 death. She also continued to serve as a supervisor and as board president, and some in the audience argued that she shouldn't hold three positions.

Others argued with Breed holding the seat, it gave her an unfair advantage over other mayoral candidates in June. However, not everyone in the audience agreed with that.

"Don’t be deceived," Cohen said. "There is no such thing as a level playing field." 

Cohen told reporters on Wednesday that she thinks this is dirty politics and described the process as a "back room deal."

Unlike her, Supervisor Aaron Peskin voted in favor of replacing Breed stating that, "The Board of Supervisors made the right decision."

Breed, who appeared visibly shaken after the vote, stepped outside the board chambers and thanked her supporters, reminding them that there was still a campaign to run.

"I am born and raised here, I will still do everything I can to take care of the city," Breed said. "I am still on the ballot on June 5. We need to get lined up and ready to go."

Farrell will be tasked with appointing his replacement on the Board of Supervisors.

NBC Bay Area's Jean Elle and Bay City News contributed to this report.

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