SF Mayor London Breed appoints Vallie Brown, former legislative aide, as supervisor – San Francisco Chronicle
San Francisco Mayor London Breed appointed Vallie Brown to serve as District Five supervisor Monday, filling the seat that Breed vacated when she took office last week.
Brown worked for Breed as a legislative aide from 2013 to 2016, before taking her most recent job as a project manager finding sites for affordable housing for the city’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development.
She was previously a legislative staffer for then-District Five Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi from 2006 to 2013. She is known as a community activist, particularly in the Lower Haight, where she was a longtime resident. Brown moved to Cole Valley four years ago and is a homeowner.
“When I made calls to neighborhood people, everyone was excited when I mentioned that (Brown) was being considered,” Breed said before Brown’s swearing-in at Hayes Valley Playground, which they helped secure funding for several years ago while Breed was a supervisor.
“Everyone had a story to tell about how she helped them in any part of this district. She stands her ground to do what’s right and to do what makes sense for the people of this district,” Breed said.
“As your supervisor, I can’t do it alone. It’s the community that makes it a reality. And it will be you, the community, that helps guide me in City Hall. I’m your voice in City Hall,” Brown said.
She’ll attend her first board meeting as a supervisor on Tuesday.
“Everyone knows Vallie,” said Adrian Owens, a longtime District Five resident and community relations director at Success Center San Francisco, which provides education and employment opportunities for youth and young adults. Owens praised Brown’s “dedication to the city and this community.”
As an aide to Breed, Brown took the lead in crafting so-called “neighborhood preference” legislation that sets aside units in new, affordable housing developments for people living near them in an effort to push back against gentrification. Breed has held up the neighborhood preference bill as a signature achievement.
Brown was also involved in Breed’s effort to buy the McDonald’s restaurant at Haight and Stanyan streets and to convert the site to affordable housing units.
On a personal level, Brown said she grew up in difficult circumstances in Utah. She said she never knew her father, and by age 14, her mother and grandmother had died, leaving her, she said, to be raised by the community around her.
“Good or bad, I’m a product of community development,” she said.
Her priorities for District Five echoed Breed’s intent as mayor to focus on quality of life issues — namely, growing the city’s housing stock, keeping the streets clean and addressing homelessness.
“Keeping people housed in the neighborhoods they love and creating more housing — affordable housing — is going to be one of my top priorities as a supervisor,” she said.
Board President Malia Cohen said she knew Brown when Brown worked as an aide to Mirkarimi.
Brown “has a fantastic, long-term historical view of the politics — not only of San Francisco, but specifically of District Five,” Cohen said. “She has already established relationships through the district. People know her. She’ll be a welcomed addition to the board.”
Brown will represent District Five, which includes the Fillmore and Western Addition, Hayes Valley, Lower Haight, Haight-Ashbury and Japantown, until the next scheduled election, in November 2019.
Progressive candidate Dean Preston has already signed up as a challenger in that race. Preston previously ran against Breed in 2016, losing by fewer than 2,000 votes. Brown said she welcomed the chance to run against Preston.
“I feel like I’ve been working very hard in this district for over 20 years, and in City Hall for over a decade, and I’m up to the challenge,” she said. “We both come from community activism, so I’m ready.”
Dominic Fracassa is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @dominicfracassa