San Francisco mayor nixes reparations office in midyear budget cuts

San Francisco, California - San Francisco Mayor London Breed has announced $75 million in budget cuts targeting city programs, including the proposed Office of Reparations.

San Francisco Mayor London Breed has axed a proposed Office of Reparations in her midyear budget cuts.
San Francisco Mayor London Breed has axed a proposed Office of Reparations in her midyear budget cuts.  © Loren Elliott / AFP

Breed announced the spending reductions in a letter to city department heads on Friday, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

The news came just months after the San Francisco African American Reparations Advisory Committee (AARAC) released its final plan to address the city's legacy of enslavement, structural discrimination, and forced displacement.

The nearly-400-page report includes a host of reparatory policy proposals related to economic empowerment, education, health, and public policy, including $5-million direct cash payments to eligible Black residents.

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The potential Office of Reparations was intended to direct the implementation of the AARAC's recommendations.

Breed appropriated $4 million for the office over the summer but did not commit to spending the money.

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The mayor previously cast doubt on the fulfillment of the AARAC's proposals, particularly cash payments. She has repeatedly stated that reparations is the responsibility of the federal government rather than local governments.

Many reparations advocates counter that all levels of government were complicit in the atrocities committed against Black people in America, and therefore share responsibility for righting the wrongs. They add that the creation of state and local task forces can amplify the movement for a national commission.

Breed has said her signature Dream Keeper Initiative is already doing the work to reinvest in Black communities.

She has also said the budget cuts will allow the city to reduce spending while still pursuing her top priorities, which include hiring more police officers.

Cover photo: Loren Elliott / AFP

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