Vallie Brown Succeeds Breed as District 5 Supervisor

Breed and Mirkarimi's former chief of staff has a long history of community organizing within District 5.

Five days after her mayoral inauguration, Mayor London Breed announced that she’s chosen Vallie Brown as her successor to the District 5 Board of Supervisors seat. Brown takes over Breed’s office to represent the Fillmore, Western Addition, Hayes Valley, Lower and Upper Haight, Inner Sunset, Cole Valley, and north of the Panhandle. 

Others in talks to replace Breed included City College trustee Shanell Williams; Judson True, longtime aide to Assemblymember David Chiu; Vice President of the San Francisco Board of Education Stevon Cook; and Breed legislative aids Mawuli Tugbenyoh.

Brown spent 20 years living in Lower Haight and worked tirelessly for community-based policing and local organizing to help clean up the neighborhood. She worked as chief of staff for former-Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi before he became sheriff, and for Breed when she took the seat. For the past three years, she’s been working in the Office of Economic and Workforce Development.

At her swearing-in ceremony, Brown says she grew up in poverty, raised by a single mother and her grandmother in Utah. Both had passed away by the time Brown was 14; she was raised from then on by her community. “I’m the product of community development,” she said. 

She cites keeping people in their homes and affordable housing as top priorities as supervisor. 

Brown is sworn in by Mayor Breed, July 16, 2018 (Photo: Nuala Sawyer/SF Weekly)

“I’ve known Vallie for 15 years. She has fought for our neighborhoods for decades. I’m excited to appoint her as Supervisor because I know she will take the fight that she has fought in our neighborhoods to City Hall,” said Breed. “This isn’t about politics–this is about our community. This is about ensuring that our neighborhoods have a representative who is responsive to their needs. Vallie Brown is the leader who will ensure that D5 residents have a voice, and I am proud to appoint her today.”

We reached out to Brown prior to the announcement for clarification on whether or not she was being considered for the job. 

“I know London is talking to many qualified D5 folks for the appointment,” she told us last week. “Whomever she appoints I will support because I can’t image London appointing someone who doesn’t care about D5 residents.”

On Monday, she said that she only found out a few hours ago, when Breed called her and said “Congratulations, Supervisor Brown. You better take care of my district and its residents.”

As Brown dives into the new role this month, a potential challenger already looms. On Friday, Dean Preston pulled papers to run for the District 5 supervisor race, which moved from November 2020 to November 2019 when Breed officially took on her role as mayor.

Preston, garnering 48 percent of the vote, narrowly lost to incumbent Breed in 2016. Tenants rights were central to his previous campaign and he told SF Weekly that he plans to take a similar approach for 2019. This time, he is notably running as a democratic socialist, in a nod to the growing influence of the local chapter he shares many goals with.

As the founder and executive director of Tenants Together, it made sense for Preston to play a big role in making Proposition F, mandating a right to counsel for tenants facing eviction, a reality. He tapped Jen Synder, who led Prop. F to victory, to run his supervisorial campaign.

Before Breed’s replacement was announced, Preston already received endorsements from former District 5 Supervisors Matt Gonzalez and Christina Olague; Supervisors Hillary Ronen, Aaron Peskin, and Jane Kim; Democratic Party Chair David Campos; former Assemblymember Tom Ammiano; and former Mayor Art Agnos.

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