Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Democrat San Francisco mayor slammed for visiting China in ‘pursuit of pandas’ despite ‘death spiral’ at home

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San Francisco Mayor London Breed returned to the city Sunday after spending a week in China in efforts to advance economic and cultural ties with the region despite ongoing crises in her city. 

According to Breed’s office, the mayor traveled to China for a week-long, multi-city journey that included meetings with government, business and airline officials. Chinese President Xi Jinping and Chinese Ambassador to the U.S. Xie Feng invited Breed to the country during last year’s Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation conference, which was held in San Francisco.

Prior to the trip, Breed told the local NBC station one of her goals was to bring back pandas for the San Francisco Zoo, create stronger relationships with Chinese officials, boost tourism and put San Francisco businesses on the radar. 

“We think that with increased flights, business opportunities, pandas, the economic opportunities for San Francisco will be significant,” she said during a press conference.

MAYOR LONDON BREED’S OFFICE SILENT ON ANTI-ISRAEL PROTESTERS CLOGGING GOLDEN GATE BRIDGE AS SHE VISITS CHINA

San Francisco Mayor London Breed returned from her trip to China, which included proposals for airlines to bring more flights into SFO and to advance some giant panda diplomacy.  (KTVU)

Back at home, Breed’s constituents face problems well beyond zoo exhibits. 

“Mayor London Breed’s decision to jet off to China in pursuit of pandas while her city grapples with escalating crime and homelessness is a disgraceful evasion of her responsibilities to ensure the safety of San Francisco residents,” California Senate Minority Leader Brian Jones told Fox News Digital.

“Her misguided focus on photo ops abroad only highlights her utter disregard for the urgent needs of those suffering in her own backyard.”

“Her misguided focus on photo ops abroad only highlights her utter disregard for the urgent needs of those suffering in her own backyard.” 

— California Senate Minority Leader Brian Jones

“If you asked a thousand San Franciscans what the biggest problem facing the city is, not a single one of them would say that the zoo doesn’t have pandas. They would say they’re tired of rising crime, sick of soaring homelessness and fed up with a broken government that ignores the city’s problems,” Assembly Republican Leader James Gallagher told Fox News Digital.

“Rather than boosting public relations for the Chinese Communist Party, Mayor Breed should focus on fixing San Francisco’s death spiral.” 

Earlier this year, San Francisco officials claimed the city’s crime rate was “lower than any period in the last ten years” aside from 2020. 

In most categories, crimes in San Francisco reported to police declined in 2023 compared to 2022, but not as much as the rest of the country, statistics from the FBI show. In 2023, there were 50,744 crimes reported in the city across all categories. In 2022, San Franciscans reported 54,649 crimes, a 7.2% decrease year-over-year.

However, robberies increased 14.8% in 2023 over the prior year, and motor vehicle thefts went up 6.3% from 2022. So far this year, the city has recorded 11,077 crimes, down 29.7% from the same period in 2022.

FORMER SAN FRANCISCO MAYOR CHALLENGING LONDON BREED SAYS CITY’S FALLEN APART: ‘BECOME THE BUTT OF JOKES’

London Breed at SFO

Mayor London Breed returns to San Francisco after spending time in China with plans to bring pandas to the city. (KTVU)

San Francisco International Airport spokesperson Doug Yakel said the mayor’s visit could help boost the city’s economy by generating millions of dollars from airline travel, with the hope that three China-based airlines will do business at SFO.

“It’s so powerful what it represents, not only for our airport but for local economies. We look at a single flight, and I’m talking a daily flight between a foreign destination like China and the U.S. to SFO,” Yakel told KTVU. “It can be upwards of $175 million in annual revenue and 1,200 jobs in the Bay Area total, and that’s just one flight.” 

Breed said an estimate on the cost of bringing giant pandas to the city has not yet been determined, but she told KTVU she is confident it will happen. 

“We expect a pair of pandas, and they are hopefully expected to come as soon as we’re able to raise the resources, do all the permitting, continue to work with the wildlife and conservation group in Beijing for all the paperwork,” she said.

Jones told Fox News Digital Breed should send her resources and focus elsewhere.

SAN FRANCISCO RAPPER SAYS ‘DISS TRACK’ ON MAYOR BREED, CRIME DREW ‘THREATS FROM SOMEONE EXTREMELY POWERFUL’

Protesters blocked the Golden Gate Bridge while San Francisco Mayor London Breed was in China this week to increase tourism and boost San Francisco businesses

Protesters blocked the Golden Gate Bridge while San Francisco Mayor London Breed was in China this week to increase tourism and boost San Francisco businesses. (KTVU | Getty Images)

“Besides, everyone knows that the San Diego Zoo is world-famous for their panda exhibit. Mayor Breed should focus on fixing San Francisco rather than competing with San Diego over pandas,” Jones added. 

“Mayor Breed should focus on fixing San Francisco rather than competing with San Diego over pandas.”

— Brian Jones

Gloria Chan, the director of communications with the Office of Economic and Workforce Development, argues that securing pandas for the zoo will pay dividends for the city.

“Securing the first official residency for giant pandas in San Francisco is a big win for our city. San Francisco is an international destination and the gateway to the Asia Pacific. Having pandas here will strengthen our already deep cultural connection and honors our Chinese and API heritage that is core to San Francisco’s history,” Chan said. 

A professor at UCLA also shared thoughts on Mayor Breed’s panda diplomacy with Fox News Digital. 

“If Mayor Breed and the Board of Supervisors do not make dramatic changes regarding homelessness, crime, drug abuse, spending and reinventing downtown by attracting new businesses, soon San Francisco could become the next Detroit,” Lee Ohanian said.

According to the 2022 Point-in-Time Count from the city’s Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing, 7,754 people were homeless in San Francisco that year, 3.5% lower than the previous year. Of those people, 3,357 were staying in a shelter, the report said. 

In 2023, the city reported 810 drug overdose deaths. Of those, 656 were linked to fentanyl. Those numbers were more than double the national average that year, The New York Times reported.

SAN FRANCISCO MAYOR LONDON BREED BLASTS HOMELESS COALITION: HELD CITY ‘HOSTAGE FOR DECADES’

Breed

San Francisco Mayor London Breed and scenes of drug use and homelessness in the California city. (Gary Coronado/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images; Miikka Skaffari/Getty Images)

In November, U.S. Attorney Ismail Ramsey announced the federal government was providing major resources to assist in the city’s drug-dealing epidemic. A press release said the “all hands on deck” initiative combines federal, state and local resources to ramp up arrests of street dealers. The U.S. Attorney’s Office also increased federal charges against drug traffickers, raising the stakes by holding dealers accountable, the release stated. 

Breed has also faced criticism from several high-profile people.

During TNT’s alternative broadcast of the NBA All-Star Game in February, Charles Barkley took a jab at the city while talking to Basketball Hall of Famer Reggie Miller.

Barkley asked Miller which he would choose — playing in the cold in Indianapolis, where Miller spent his entire 18-year NBA career, or “being around a bunch of homeless crooks in San Francisco.”

Golden State Warriors star Draymond Green called Barkley “crazy,” adding Barkley was not “welcome” in the city. 

In defense of the city, WNBA star Candace Parker said, “We love San Francisco.” 

“No we don’t,” he responded. “You can’t even walk around down there.” 

CHARLES BARKLEY BLASTS SAN FRANCISCO DURING ALL-STAR GAME, DESCRIBES IT AS CITY WITH ‘HOMELESS CROOKS’

London Breed addressing crowd

San Francisco Mayor London Breed recently announced budget cuts that gutted the city’s proposed Office of Reparations. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Chino Yang, a San Francisco-based rapper and restaurant owner, released a “dis track” calling out Breed for allowing the city to become a “zombie land.”

“London Breed, you ain’t nothing but a clown,” Yang raps in the song “San Francisco Our Home.” “When we really needed you, you ain’t never been around. You done turnt this great city into a zombie land.” Yang has since apologized for “spreading misinformation about our beloved Mayor London Breed,” suggesting someone with “connections” to “the top elites” threatened him and his family.

“I am simply a civilian. So, for the sake of my family and my loved ones — my close friends — I’d like to openly and publicly make an apology regarding my actions and what I said in the video,” Yang said, according to CBS News.

SAN FRANCISCO BUSINESS OWNER SOUNDS OFF ON MAYOR DOWNPLAYING CRIME, HOMELESSNESS: ‘POOP EVERYWHERE AGAIN’

San Francisco protesters

An activist holds up a sign during a rare outdoor meeting of the Board of Supervisors at UN Plaza in San Francisco May 23, 2023. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

Breed announced plans Tuesday to set a curfew in part of the Tenderloin to help curb crime in the area, the mayor’s office confirmed to KTVU.

In 2023, the city said local law enforcement agencies made over 2,000 arrests for drug sales or drug use in the Tenderloin. They also seized over 260 pounds of fentanyl. The city said work has continued into 2024, with 350 arrests so far this year for drug sales or drug use. 

“Our work around public safety is making a difference, but we’ve got more work to do,”  Breed said. “We are not letting up on our efforts to make San Francisco a safer and enjoyable city for everyone, and this includes continuing to ramp up police staffing and giving our local enforcement agencies the resources they need to do their job.”

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These numbers do not include additional federal efforts being conducted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office and Drug Enforcement Agency, according to the city.

Fox News Digital reached out to Mayor London Breed’s office and the San Francisco Police Department for comment. 

Fox News’ Ryan Gaydos, Jeffery Clark and Louis Casiano contributed to this report. 

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